General, Chemical & Laser Safety

The basis of the Lab Servant was formed – in back sight – by the Safety Report System (SRS) that was developed by Delft University of Technology and tested in practice during a number of years. The SRS was included as “good practice” in the “Arbocatalogus Nederlandse universiteiten”, a policy document that describes and regulates general safety for the Dutch universities. In 2009 the SRS was awarded by EU-OSHA the European Good Practice Award for Healthy Workplaces.

The former SRS is nowadays embedded in the Lab Servant as the “Safety reports” module.

The former SRS is nowadays embedded in the Lab Servant as the “Safety reports” module.

The idea behind the Safety report is that of a “dynamic RI&E”: a Risk Inventory and Evaluation that is performed before the start of a new experiment.

In the process of preparing a Safety Report the researcher also produces an emergency card for the safe shutdown of overnight experiments.

The researcher describes his experiment and makes a safety plan that fits the experimental set-up. All reagents, solvents, gasses, equipment et cetera are evaluated by the precautionary measures taken to mitigate the risks.

Via a workflow the researcher gets approval (which can be considered as a “work permit”) from an Area Supervisor and if applicable a PI.

In the process of preparing a Safety Report the researcher also produces an emergency card for the safe shutdown of overnight experiments.

To facilitate the judgment of possible hazards of chemical substances, Chemwatch data (mini MSDS, GHS symbols, hazard bars) is directly available in the Safety report via a web service.

The Laser safety report, which will be integrated in time with the general and chemical safety report, aims at the safe working with powerful lasers. A full description of the experimental set-up precedes the description of details like laser class, max power, wavelength, beam paths, floor plan. The safety report is evaluated by a Laser safety officer (LSO) who gives his approval when all necessary safety conditions are met.

Because different fields of research have their own requirements for a safety report (dynamic RI&E) which cannot be integrated in one overall set-up, we have currently separate set-ups for the work with genetically modified organisms (see: the Biosafety module) and for the ethical risks of research projects (see: the Research Ethics module).

Functionality

  • describe the experiment, set-up, hazards and precautionary measures for each element in the experiment: (bio) chemicals, gases, equipment, lasers, reactions, process steps, possible failures, disposal of waste.
  • include data retrieved from external databases with safety data of chemicals/gases, biologicals, equipment/lasers, (chemical) reactions
  • hyperlink to involved Lab Servant objects: (bio)chemicals, equipment/lasers, areas, users, workflows for approval
  • describe safe shutdown procedure (emergency card)
  • get clearance (work permit) from area supervisor and PI via a workflow to start the experiment
  • relate incidents and applied safety measures to improve the safety management process