It's the responsibility of everyone to take whatever safety measures are available to ensure their environment is safe for themselves and for anyone else in the area.
Departmental manuals will provide details of specific requirements for particular activities. However, it's the responsibility of everyone to take whatever safety measures are available to ensure their environment is safe for themselves and for anyone else in the area.
Safe work instructions (SWI)
The University has safe work instructions (SWI) for carrying out certain activities that use specific protection or tools.
Safe methods of use (SMOU)
Stay safe in our chemical labs by following the rules and the SMOU.
This section provides general information only on the protective clothing and safety equipment that is available for use.
Staff: Departmental manuals will provide details of specific requirements for particular activities.
Safety glasses are compulsory in areas where machining is taking place, chemicals are being handled or any situation where damage to eyes may occur. Those with glasses must use safety glasses which fit over normal spectacles or use special eye shields which will fit onto prescription spectacles.
Suitable eye protection must be used for welding and brazing operations, and for viewing white hot metal, including the glare from HF and RF furnaces.
When there is a hazard from other sources of intense visible, ultra-violet light, or wavelengths in the near infra-red regions, such as for laser radiation, eye shields may be required if there is any risk of exceeding the maximum allowable exposures to the eye.
Clear lenses must be worn for the following operations:
- In all chemistry labs as directed.
- Appropriately in workshops.
- Crushing, grinding, cutting and finishing.
Approved shields or goggles with approved lenses must be available when:
- Welding and heating.
- T.I.G arc welding.
- Working with lasers.
Face shields must be worn when:
- Handling liquefied gases, including liquid nitrogen (because of splashing).
In all chemical laboratories, personnel must wear suitable footwear. Jandals or other open footwear are not to be worn. If, in the judgement of the technician responsible for the laboratory, footwear is inadequate, the person will be excluded from the laboratory. This restriction also applies to laboratory visits when the judgement will be made by the organiser of the visit.
In workshops, where physical mechanical activities are carried out, personnel must wear sturdy footwear of leather uppers and anti-slip soles, to the standard AS2210-1980 (Adopted as NZS 5845: 1980).
Workplace Exposure Standards specify dust levels above nuisance level when dust masks must be worn. Refer to the Chief Technician for guidance.
Legislation requires that hearing protection be worn where sound pressure levels exceed 85dB. A guide to this level is when a raised voice cannot be heard less than 60cm (2 feet) away by another person. The grade of hearing protection, ear plugs or muffs, will depend on the level of noise, its frequency and whether steady or non-steady noise - intermittent, fluctuation, impulse.
Supervisors will advise students on the type of protection to be used.
These must be worn in all chemical-type laboratories to protect personal clothes. Nylon coats are unsuitable where flammable solvents are used (due to the production of static as an ignition source) or where burns from thermal sources are a possible hazard. Cotton overalls are best for general use because synthetic fibre allows liquid to pass through with little absorption.
Laboratory coats must only be worn in laboratories and must be removed on leaving laboratory areas.
Emergency showers are located in laboratories or in corridors outside laboratories. These areas must be kept clear and accessible for use in an emergency. If someone has been doused with chemicals they should be immediately placed under the shower and drenched with water. Hand showers can be created by attaching a length of PVC tube onto the bench water tap. This type of shower can also be used for irrigating eyes in emergency.
Adhesive hazard warning notices are available from the University Safety Manager and should be fixed to the door of the laboratory to indicate potential hazards (such as gas cylinders) within the laboratory.
Find out what you need to do if going on a field activity.
Last Updated: Dec 2019
Next Review: Dec 2022
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing