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This page provides information relating to health and safety, security, first aid and accident reporting, fire alarm and exits, laboratory rules, training, disposal of laboratory waste, laboratory disinfection policy, chemical storage and waste and out of hours working. Information for the whole building can be found here

Where more detail is required relevant standard operating procedures (SOP) and risk assessments (RA) will be referenced. It is expected that all personnel will read and understand documentation referenced herein.

All SOP's for the NDMRB labs and offices can be found here

All RA for the NDMRB labs and offices can be found here

All Policies the NDMRB labs and offices can be found here

All COSHH the NDMRB can be found here


TDI = Target Discovery Institute

The University = The University of Oxford

HSE = Health and Safety Executive

EA = Environment Agency

DSO = Department Safety Officer

SOP = Standard Operating Procedure

RA = Risk Assessment

1.0  Health and Safety Information

All members of staff MUST attended a laboratory induction within one month of their contract start date (UPS S5/10)

Working at the TDI, within the NDM Research Building, you are within jurisdiction of the University of Oxford. Therefore, you must adhere to the health and safety rules of the University of Oxford as well as the NDM Research Building and the TDI.

The University policy statements are referenced and highlighted throughout the pages. Where they are relevant they must be read before commencing with work that they cover.

Health and safety posters are displayed around the building and detail all of the relevant contacts with regards to health and safety and first aid.

Lists of first aiders are to be found by each first aid box as well as by each telephone.

Guidance for suitable secondary containment for the transport of substances between buildings can be found here: secondary contaiment for the transport of substances between buildings

2.0  Security

The NDM Research Building uses proximity card access. All visitors must report to reception and anyone attempting to enter the building should be directed to reception.

3.0  First aid and accident reporting

First aid boxes are located in the laboratory areas and the kitchen area. It is your responsibility to know where your nearest first aid box is located. Eye wash stations and full body showers are located by the sinks in the laboratories.

In the event of an accident/incident, including any ‘near misses’, there must be a full and prompt completion of the University Accident/Incident report form. These are available from reception and the Departmental Safety Officer (DSO) who also must be informed.

Further information regarding the reporting of accidents, incidents, disease and near misses can be found within university safety policy UPS S1/14 and Slips, trips and falls UPS S3/08

4.0  Fire alarm and exits

The fire alarm is tested each Thursday at 11am

During this time, if you hear the alarm you do not need to take any action unless the alarm continues for more than 5 minutes. Should the alarm sound for more than 5 minutes then it is to be treated as a true fire alarm. In the event of the fire alarm sounding without warning you must evacuate the building immediately by the nearest marked exit. Leave all belongings behind and do not use lifts. The meeting point is the gravel carpark by the WTCHG

If you have visitors you are responsible for informing them of this evacuation procedure and ensuring that in the event of an alarm that they follow you to the meeting point.

The University employs a no smoking policy – there is no smoking permitted anywhere in the building.

5.0  Laboratory Rules

The rules for personnel working in the laboratory are detailed in Lab rules. This document should be read and understood by all personnel intending to carry out any laboratory work. These rules must be adhered to at all times.

When working in the labs in the TDI you must wear appropriate PPE. As a minimum you must wear safety glasses, lab coat and gloves. The work you intend on carrying out must have been risk assessed BEFORE the work commences.

University safety policies regarding lab rules, PPE and risk assessment can be found here:

S3/01 Safety Rules for laboratories where there is a risk of chemical exposure

S5/08 Risk Assessment

S3/14 Fume Cuboards

S3/02 Personal preotective equipement at work regulations 1992

S8/14 Eye protection

Rules for the handling of radioactive material at the NDM building can be found on the website. No radioactive work is to be carried out without having been trained by and notified the building Radiation Protection Supervisor.

Before any activity can commence, a suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment (RA) must be drawn. Users should refer to the Safety Data Sheet available from the instrument or substance used to establish the hazard present in the procedure. Then users will evaluate the risk associated with this procedure depending on the methods and quantities used using the risk matrix.

Users should refer to the University policy and guidelines as regards to Risk assessment (UPS S5/08), additional advice is available from the HSE website. Users should consult with their line manager and laboratory managers for specific guidelines.

6.0  Training

Training must be given and signed off before you use equipment that may represent hazards. These include: Centrifuges, electrophoresis units, homogenizers and gases (including liquid Nitrogen and dry ice).

Staff must complete the training forms that are provided during the inductions

Individual SOP’s and RA will be supplied during training.

7.0  Disposal of laboratory waste

The disposal of chemical and biohazard waste from the laboratory environment is subject to specific rules and regulations imposed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA).

It is the responsibility of all personnel to ensure that all waste is treated and disposed of correctly in the laboratory.

Black Sacks

  • For domestic, non-contaminated waste only. Cardboard may be recycled and kept separately (blue bins or black wheelie)
  • These bins are black in colour

Autoclave bags

  • - DO NOT OVERFILL bags should be no more than 2/3 full before you must replace the bag if it has not been collected. There are autoclave bags available on the floor please see the lab manager if you need some. Please try to dispose of pipettes by putting them in the bin vertically to avoid bag punctures.
  • All contaminated waste, including all gloves (whether contaminated or not). Please do not over fill autoclave bags, when full tie with a cable tie and put into the relevant collection bin.
  • These bins are silver in colour
  • Dispo jar should be placed next to the autoclave bag for collection, not inside it. DO NOT SCREW THE LID ON TIGHTLY

Sharps bins

  • For disposal of needles (even without the needle) and small glass items only. When full inform the laboratory manager and they will dispose accordingly. DO NOT RESHEATH NEEDLES

Glass bins

  • Clean broken glassware – clean is defined as had no contact with chemicals or biological substances. Clean broken glassware can be disposed of by collecting the broken item and disposal straight into the lab glassware bins.
  • Chemically contaminated broken glassware: Please see the lab manager/Chemistry group
  • NB: If the chemical is non-toxic, the bottle should be rinsed, the label defaced and the bottle placed in the glass bin.
  • Biologically contaminated broken glassware: Glass ware that has come into contact with biological substances must be collected and put into a dispo jar. This glassware must be autoclaved before it can be disposed of using the normal channels.

Note that gloves MUST be placed in autoclave bins, whether contaminated or not. – We employ a one glove policy for moving around the building, so please remove a glove before touching a door or using the lift

Batteries must never be disposed of via domestic waste or autoclave waste, please bring those to your lab manager or Facilities for appropriate disposal.

WEEE and hazardous WEEE are collected and disposed of via the facilites team or the HSO - please arrange for this type of disposal with your lab manager with your lab manager.

8.0  Laboratory Disinfection Policy

The University’s approved disinfection agent is ‘Virkon’. Virkon has a broad spectrum bactericidal and virucidal activity, is of low hazard to human health, has good cleaning properties, has a colour activity indicator and shows reduced metal tarnishing. Virkon should be used for the following:

  • General cleaning of laboratory spaces
  • Decontamination of spent media
  • Decontamination of all glass/plastic wares
  • Decontamination of any equipment leaving the laboratory
  • Decontamination of any equipment which is to be seen by an engineer for repair or maintenance
  • Decontamination of any spillages

General Laboratory disinfection:

  • Wash down benches, centrifuges, etc. and deep clean microbiological safety cabinets using freshly prepared 1% CHEMGENE or DISTEL.
  • Use 70% alcohol (Industrial methylated spirit or ethanol) to swab down microbiological safety cabinets before and after use.
  • Floor can be mopped with very dilute (0.1%) Virkon.
  • Experimental material:
  • Make discarded phage, viral, bacterial, yeast or cell culture to 1% Virkon (final concentration) using freshly prepared stock Virkon solution or by adding Vikron powder directly. Treat for 1 hour.
  • Material can then be discarded to the drains.
  • Treated disposable plasticware should then be autoclaved as per Local Rules.
  • Blood from low risk population:
  • Make up to 2% Virkon (final concentration) and treat for at least 1 hour.
  • Material can then be discarded to drain.
  • Blood from risk groups and larger quantities of blood should be disposed of via the Clinical Waste system.
  • Hazard Group 2 or 3 organisms:
  • Work with such material such have disinfection procedure clearly specified in the risk assessment and posted in the laboratory.
  • Virkon may be appropriate for work but is not necessarily effective against all micro-organisms and an appropriate disinfectant must be used for each pathogen.
  • Biological Spillage:
  • See point 10.0 below.

Decon and other similar cleaning agents are NOT disinfectant and should not be used for disinfection purposes.

Hypochlorite-based solution (bleach, Chloros) pose hazards to human health and are corrosive and should not be used unless specified for a particular organism.

Domestic bleach should never be used as a disinfectant as the concentration and effectiveness can vary widely.

9.0 Spillage policy

For chemical and biological substances, asses size of spill and hazard posed to personnel and fabric.

Do not attempt to clear up a large hazardous spill if working alone.

  • Is it possible to clear up the spill without compromising the safety of you or your colleagues:
    • No:
  1. Vacate area, allow any aerosol to settle,
  2. Warn and evacuate all other personnel in the vicinity,
  3. Seal access to area if possible, inform supervisor and/or laboratory manager
  • Yes:
    • Chemical Spill:
  1. Fetch spill kit, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE),
  2. Contain spill using the pads or granules provided in the spill kit,
  3. Place pads and adsorbing material in plastic bag and dispose of through the University hazardous waste system.
  4. For more aggressive acids, alkalis, caustics, solvents, etc. and oils contain spill with sock and add spillage binder granules ensuring you wear a FFP2 or FFP3 marked dust mask. Dispose of in a plastic bag through the University hazardous waste system.
  5. Inform Departmental Safety Officer of used items from the spill kit or ensure that it is replenished.
  • Biological Spill (bacterial, TC suspension, blood) at CL1 or CL2:
  1. Sprinkle Virkon powder liberally over the spill. Do not add Virkon in solution as this wil increase the size of the spill.
  2. Cordon off area and leave for at least 30min for all fluid to be abdorbed by Virkon and disinfection to occur.
  3. If spill involves CL2 genetically modified micro-organisms or other hazardous microorganisms place in autoclave bag and send to be autoclaved.
  4. If spill involves blood place in clinical waste bag (yellow bag) and dispose of via clinical waste system.
  5. For all other biological spill, place in sink and run to drain.

10.0 Actions to be taken following a needlestick/sharps/splash injuries

  1. The University policy regarding action to be taken following a needlestick/sharps/splash injuries are displayed in the laboratory.

    • Wounds:
      • Encourage bleeding - do not suck
      • Wash well under running water
      • Cover with a dry dressing
    • Splash incidents:
      • If in the mouth: do not swallow, rinse mouth out several times with cold water
      • If into eye: remove contact lenses
      • Irrigate eyes well with cold running water
    • Report the incident to the senior person on duty
    • If exposure to potentially infectious material:
      • Immediately contact Occupational Health Service 0865 (2) 82676 (weekdays 8.30-17.00).
        • If out of hours contact the on-call microbiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital via the switchboard 01865 -741166,
        • Record the source of the (potentially) infectious material if known,
        • Ensure that Occupational Health Service is notified of the incident the next working day.

11.0  Chemical storage and waste

Please see TDI-SOP-003 Handling, Storage and Disposal of Lab Waste.

12.0       Out of hours working

Core hours for staff are 8am - 6pm, visitor hours are restricted to 9am-5pm.

If you need access to the laboratory out of these hours then out of hours access needs to be approved and granted. Please seek guidance from your line manager or laboratory manager.

Lone working is not permitted unless there is more than one person present in the laboratory; however, lone working in the offices is generally acceptable.

Out of hours and lone working may be granted once the relevant sign off sheet has been completed and approved.

The access sheet can be requested from reception.

For the unattended operation of apparatus and equipment please see univeristy policy UPS S4/01

A risk assesment MUST be completed for all work before it commences and in particular for any experimental work that may be left unattended.