2. Introduction


Every employer is required to provide a safe work environment. The objectives of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws are to protect the safety of workers, improve safety outcomes, reduce compliance costs for business and improve efficiency for health and safety regulators. The national WHS laws comprise a WHS Act (2017), WHS Regulation and a suite of national model WHS Codes of Practice. In NSW, the Act and Regulations are governed by Safe Work NSW.

The University of Sydney policy and strategic plan for ensuring compliance with WHS legislative requirements includes guidelines on specific areas of WHS concern. Guidelines include Working with Chemicals, Chemical Safety Standards, Radiation Safety, Electrical Safety and Biosafety, and are available on the University Safety, Health and Wellbeing website.

Safety in the School of Chemistry aligns with both legislative requirements and University policy. It is the responsibility of all individuals to ensure they work safely. This handbook is a general guide designed to assist you to meet your obligations in providing workplace safety and what to do in the event of an emergency. The most heavily referenced Australian Standard for our business is AS/ANZ 2243: Safety In Laboratories.

The laboratories in the School of Chemistry can be divided into three categories; undergraduate laboratories (first to third year including lecture theatre demonstrations), analytical facilities and research laboratories. For safety purposes, fourth year undergraduate students are treated as research students.

Other areas in the School with specific WHS requirements include chemical storage locations outside laboratories, the Chemistry Store, Workshops, electrical and mechanical boards, plant rooms and risers.

This handbook outlines regulations relevant to all personnel working in the School of Chemistry, from those with no laboratory contact to research workers and their academic supervisors. All personnel in the School are also responsible for the safety and wellbeing of visitors and contractors working in and around the School. Thus, all workers in the School of Chemistry must undertake minimal safety induction. No matter your position in the School of Chemistry, the University WHS Online induction must be completed. In addition, there is an online quiz for the School of Chemistry occupants, with a different version depending on whether your work is based in a laboratory or not. This too is compulsory. Keys and proximity access will not be granted until both these inductions are complete.

Safety in the workplace is a cooperative venture and all staff and students are obliged to contribute to and maintain safety at all times.