Latest news from the Health and Safety Department.
There is currently a worldwide shortage of Hepatitis B vaccine and Hepatitis A vaccine and this is likely to be the case until at least October. OHU are working to conserve their current vaccine stock and only those unimmunised individuals deemed to be at highest risk will be offered the vaccine.
The NHS are struggling to maintain a reliable supply and many GP practices and travel clinics have run out of stock. This may have implications for you if you work with substances/tissue that potentially may be infected with the Hepatitis B or A virus or if you are planning work related travel to areas of high endemnicity of Hepatitis A/B infection.
You must adhere to all risk reduction measures that are in place within your local area and as identified within the local CoSHH risk assessments to ensure that your potential inadvertent exposure to the hepatitis A and B viruses is reduced as far as is reasonably practicable.
If you have had a previous course of vaccine please obtain proof of that course. This will ensure that any available vaccine supply is used appropriately.
Further information can be found on the Occupational Health Unit web page at http://www.ed.ac.uk/health-safety/occupational-health/news/vaccination-shortage
On 20th August 2014, the Central Management Group (CMG) gave its full backing to the creation and delivery of 3 mandatory training courses for all Research Group Leaders, Principal Investigators and other relevant managers and supervisors who themselves are potentially exposed to animal allergens, and/or whose group members, or other relevant colleagues, would expect to have a similar potential for exposure, and all their staff/researchers in their groups. These courses were formally launched by the Director of Health and Safety in November 2016 via a letter to all applicable Heads of School.
The University Health and Safety Policy, Framework: Organisation has now also been updated with this information in 'Section 13 Principal Investigators (PIs), supervisors or managers', an extract of which can be found on the Principal Investigators and supervisors guidance webpage.
The University has introduced a new online Fire Awareness training course. This is to ensure that every employee within the University receives information and training relevant to fire safety matters within the workplace.
This training will help the University meet its statutory obligations with regard to fire safety and is supported through the LEARN platform.
We are pleased to let you know that the October 2017 issue of the Health and Safety Bulletin is now available to view and download.
The University’s appointed Optometrist, Rodger and Smallridge, closed their Forrest Road branch and moved to Golden Acre some time ago. Although Golden Acre is accessible via one bus from the city centre, we appreciate this is not very convenient to staff in other campuses and takes up valuable time in travel. We therefore undertook a procurement exercise to appoint another University Optometrist. During this process, we interviewed five applicants from the areas around George Square and have appointed a further two Optometrists to ensure that staff have a varied choice of venues for their eye tests.
These are The Opticians at Marchmont, with their branch in Marchmont, and Browns the Opticians who have two branches, one in Clerk Street and one at Portobello. Rodger and Smallridge also continue as an appointed University optometrist for staff who wish to continue attending there.
As part of this process, we have also taken the opportunity to streamline the administration for authorising an eye test and all Optometrists will accept a University staff card as authorisation for a DSE/VDU eye test, replacing the letter of authorisation previously issued by the Health and Safety Department. Schools will also no longer receive an authorisation letter from our Department for the raising of a purchase order (PO) for DSE/VDU spectacles. Instead, staff (or the School/Department’s finance office depending upon school/departmental procedures) will be expected to liaise directly with their Optometrists of choice and supply them with a PO number.
Full details on this new process has been published on our website at http://www.docs.csg.ed.ac.uk/Safety/general/DSE_eye_tests.pdf, which is on the webpage https://www.ed.ac.uk/health-safety/guidance/workplaces-general/personal-computing.
This would also be a good time to remind staff that standard ‘free’ NHS eye tests rarely include a DSE/VDU portion (unless specified) and all staff who are eligible for these eye tests should use one of the appointed University Optometrists when possible.
Similarly, we have updated the process for the procurement of prescription safety spectacles, full details at http://www.docs.csg.ed.ac.uk/Safety/general/safety_specs.pdf, which is on the webpage https://www.ed.ac.uk/health-safety/guidance/ppe/eye-protection
Many countries have a much higher environmental air pollution than Scotland, sometimes at an unhealthy level - this aspect of travel and work needs to be considered prior to staff and students going to those countries.
If air pollution is a major risk of the country you are visiting, then the travel risk assessment should fully consider the risks from air pollution to which the individual(s) may be exposed, and identify suitable control measures in order to ensure all hazards are managed as far as practicable.
The Travel Risk assessment at https://www.ed.ac.uk/staff/business-travel/travel-safety/risk-assessments-travel-plan has been updated with an annexe of guidance tro try and minimise the risk of exposure.
The workshop notes from the conference have now been analysed and summarised. We also undertook a post conference survey and the results of this have also been reviewed. Both of these can be found at https://www.ed.ac.uk/health-safety/safety-responsibilities/safety-conference-2016
REACH and CLP Regulations are reasonably complex but ECHA have published one sheet documents which give a quick overview of the main points that are relevant to users of chemicals. A basic one page guidance poster is availble at http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/22372335/reach_clp_tips_reach_regulation_en.pdf with a more indepth version at http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/22372335/reach_clp_tips_all.pdf.
More guidance on CLP is on our website at http://www.ed.ac.uk/health-safety/guidance/hazardous-substances/ghs-clp
The UK Nanosafety Group (UKNSG) has updated and published a 2nd edition of guidance to support safe and responsible working practices with nanomaterials in research and development laboratories. The 2nd edition of the guidance provides updates to account for changes in legislation, recent studies in the literature, and best practice since 2012. In particular, specific sections have been revised to account for the full implementation of Global Harmonised System (GHS) which came into force on 1 June 2015 through the CLP regulations. The document explains the approaches that are presently being used to select effective control measures for the management of nanomaterials, more specifically control banding tools presently in use. Significant changes can be found in the following sections: ‘Hazard Banding’, ‘Exposure Control’, ‘Toxicology’, and ‘Monitoring’.
You can download the guidance document for free at http://www.safenano.org/uk-nanosafety-group/
The University Health and Safety Policy has been reviewed and the new version officially launched at the recent Health and Safety Conference held in the Informatics Forum on 16th March 2016.
The Health and Safety Policy is issued upon the authority of the University Court. It is published in two documents - the University Health and Safety Policy and a Framework document, also divided into two - Organisation and Arrangements.
This policy replaces the Keynote Guide and 8 Parts of the previous policy and any local copies should be destroyed and replaced with the new policy and any links updated. The old 8 Parts of the Policy plus the Keynote Guide are still available online for reference only.
The majority of the Policy remains unchanged, however, some key changes can be found on our website - Key changes to the Policy.
To ensure that any tight fitting face mask, both half and full face masks, protect the wearer against hazardous substances, the person must be clean shaven. This requirement is discussed during the facefit testing process but it is worth reminding staff of this on a regular basis. Further information can be found at http://www.ed.ac.uk/health-safety/guidance/ppe/facefit and more specifically at http://www.docs.csg.ed.ac.uk/Safety/general/respirators/facial-hair.pdf.
The BTI is delighted to announce two exciting updates:
Approved for Observer status with the International Federation of Biosafety Associations
The IFBA’s mission is “safe, secure and responsible work with biological materials” lays the foundation for the implementation of strategies to minimize the serious dangers that can arise from the failure to implement sound biosafety and biosecurity practices
The Health and Safety Department has published advice for University staff or students who intend to travel to, or have recently returned from, an area which is affected by the Zika virus. This is published on the University Business Travel website.