Work Health and Safety
The University has a statutory obligation to provide a safe working environment. Safety in the workplace is a cooperative venture, and staff and students have obligations to contribute towards and maintain safety. For the most up to date information, please visit http://sydney.edu.au/whs/.
The Staff & Students of the School of Molecular Bioscience are responsible for ensuring that their work environment is conducive to good workplace health and safety by:
- Complying with work health and safety instructions, including the regulations and advice as set out in the School Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Risk Assessments (RAs). Safety regulations are in place to protect all members of the School and will be strictly enforced by the Head of School.
- Taking action to avoid, eliminate or minimise hazards.
- Reporting hazards to the relevant supervisor, manager or service unit.
- Making proper use of safety devices and personal protective equipment.
- Not willfully placing at risk the health, safety or well-being of others at the workplace.
- Seeking information or advice where necessary, particularly before carrying out new or unfamiliar work.
- Wearing appropriate clothing and protective equipment for the work being carried out, where this is required.
- Consuming or storing food and drink only in those areas designated for this purpose by the Head of School.
- Being familiar with emergency and evacuation procedures, and if appropriately trained, the location of and use of emergency equipment.
- Co-operating with directions from emergency wardens and other emergency personnel.
Managers & Supervisors are those who are responsible for the allocation of tasks to staff, whether general or academic, and honours and postgraduate students, and for the oversight of students in all classes. Supervisors have a particular responsibility for ensuring that the work for which they are responsible is carried out in ways that safeguard the workplace health, safety and well-being of staff, students and visitors in their charge. In summary supervisors must:
- ensure they provide leadership and set a good example for staff and students in workplace health and safety matters.
- ensure they consult with the staff and students they supervise to identify, assess and control WHS risks in accordance with the WHS Program.
- ensure that safe working practices are developed and maintained at all times.
- arrange for their staff and students to be instructed in safe and healthy working procedures, warned about particular hazards, and told how to avoid, eliminate or minimise them.
For further information about WHS responsibilities at the University refer to the Work Health and Safety Policy 2012 and Work Health and Safety Procedures.
Do you do significant volume of computer or other screen based work? If so, complete the Ergonomics Checklist and raise any concerns with your immediate supervisor.
All workers, research students and affiliates are required to complete the necessary WHS related paperwork before any experimental work can begin or before swipe card access to the School building is granted. It is imperative that all workers complete the following processes (and submit a copy of the documentation to the Admin Office, Rm 436):
- WHS Online Induction
- Local Induction Paperwork
- Hazard Assessment Paperwork
1. WHS Online Induction
Current Staff: If you have a Unikey, please log in to CareerPath via the staff intranet. When you are in CareerPath, go to the "Browse for Training" section. The online WHS induction can be located under the Work Health and Safety heading.
Students/Visitors/Demonstrators without a contract: please register for the WHS online induction using the link https://sydney.csod.com/selfreg/register.aspx?c=whs_2015
- Accurately fill in your details in the first three boxes, then in the “Faculty or Administrative Portfolio” please select "Faculty of Science".
- under "Location", please enter "Biochemistry and Microbiology Building" under Location and select accordingly.
- In the Manager field, click on the little box link and search for the name of your supervisor/timesheet approver. Once their names pop up, please select their name from the left-hand side name column.
- For the field, “WHS Registration User Type” select “Research student” and then you are ready to click on “Next” and prompted to give a password.
- Once you have completed your registration, you will be sent an email confirming your username and password, and it will provide a link for you to access the WHS Online Induction through CareerPath.
- When you are in CareerPath go to the "Browse for Training" section. The WHS Online Induction can be located under the Work Health and Safety heading.
2. Local Induction Paperwork
Paperwork for the WHS local induction can be found here
3. Hazard Assessment Paperwork
Paperwork for the Hazard Assessment can be found here
- The OHSRM Guidelines explain the program that has been established to assist supervisors and managers to fulfill their OHS responsibilities.
WHS induction checklists have also been provided to assist supervisors in the induction of new staff and post graduate students.
All supervisors and managers are required to annually complete the Manager's WHS Duty of Care Checklist for reference during the PM&D process.
SMB has introduced a pre-procurement (or pre-purchase) checklist for all hazardous chemicals, radioisotopes and biologicals. The purpose of this checklist is to serve as a way to ensure that certain legislative and regulatory requirements are met when ordering chemicals, etc, including access to adequate storage and handling facilities and regulatory authorisation for some high risk substances.
This will affect all orders from staff and students in the numerous locations of SMB (i.e. buildings G08, D17, A22, etc). The pre-procurement checklist can be found here. To help you fill in the form a set of guidelines have also been created, along with additional information from WHS Services about the procurement of chemicals.
The pre-procurement checklist is required to be filled in the first time a hazardous chemical, radioisotope and biological is ordered from a commercial source such as the SMB General store, or external chemical suppliers, by either through placing an internal requisition order with the School’s finance officers, or ordering from Science Warehouse or company websites. The form must then by signed of by the individual’s supervisor or delegated authority and then a copy of the signed checklist should be emailed to the School Safety Officer at for record keeping purposes.
To help manage this process with internal requisition orders, we have also developed a new internal requisition form. Older versions of this form used without the appropriate sign-off will impede the ordering process, so we encourage for everyone to adapt this new form immediately.
Some supervisors have lab managers or specific staff which are largely involved in the ordering process. It is possible for the supervisor to delegate the authority for signing off on the pre-procurement paperwork by filling in the request form. All delegations of authority must be approved by Head of School and forwarded to the School Safety Officer at .
Risk assessment and Standard Operating Procedures must be established for all hazardous tasks. Below are some blank templates for you to make your own risk assessments.
The School Safety Committee has drafted a set of risk assessments for common tasks in SMB. These can be found here. Note that these may not cover all procedures, and you should consult your supervisor regarding the need for additional risk assessments.
Hard copies of relevant risk assessment forms must be stored in a known location in each laboratory or work area, and all workers in the area must read these and confirm they have understood them by signing the forms.
Below is a list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that cover the majority of potentially hazardous tasks and equipment in the School. Any person who needs to use these tasks/equipment must have first read and signed the appropriate SOP. Lab managers should ensure that hard copies of signed SOPs are posted in a known location in their lab, or attached to the associated equipment. Note that reading and signing the SOP may not be sufficient to use certain equipment in the school - additional hands-on training by the equipment custodian may also be required.
If a technique/process is not covered by these, then use the SOP Template 2014 and generate one. Certain groups in the School have their own particular procedures. These are the NMR and X-ray groups, the autoclave facility, the Service Centre (formerly known as the workshop) and the class preparation rooms. Procedures for these are either available from the supervisor/manager or else are displayed in the appropriate areas.
A blank template SOP is provided here for you to write your own SOPs if you cannot find your procedure in the following list.
- SMB_001 Agarose gel electrophoresis (PDF)
- SMB_002 Working with animals and animal tissues (PDF)
- SMB_003 Autoclaving (PDF)
- SMB_004 Cleanup of biohazard spills (PDF)
- SMB_005 Use of biosafety II cabinet(PDF)
- SMB_006 Using Bunsen burners (PDF)
- SMB_007 Centrifugation High speed floor centrifuges (PDF)
- SMB_008 Disposal of hazardous chemical waste (PDF)
- SMB_009 Working with corrosives (PDF)
- SMB_010 Cryogenics including liquid nitrogen (PDF)
- SMB_011 DNA or RNA extraction using spin columns (PDF)
- SMB_012 DNA purification using phenol-chloroform (PDF)
- SMB_013 Use, storage and disposal of flammable liquids (PDF)
- SMB_014 Freeze drying (Cryodos machine) (PDF)
- SMB_015 Freeze drying (Martin Christ machine) (PDF)
- SMB_016 Using a fume hood (PDF)
- SMB_017 Handling storage and use of gas cylinders (PDF)
- SMB_018 Scientific glassware washing (PDF)
- SMB_019 High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) (PDF)
- SMB_020 Use of microwave oven (PDF)
- SMB_021 Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy (PDF)
- SMB_022 Northern blotting and P32 probe hybridisation (PDF)
- SMB_023 Protein Purification (PDF)
- SMB_024 Working with quarantine (DAFF-AQIS) materials (PDF)
- SMB_025 Working with Risk Group 1 microorganisms (PDF)
- SMB_026 Working with Risk Group 2 microorganisms (PDF)
- SMB_027 Using small-angle scattering X-ray generator (SAXSess Lab) (PDF)
- SMB_028 SDS-PAGE (polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) (PDF)
- SMB_029 Eyewash and safety shower testing (PDF)
- SMB_030 Sonication(PDF)
- SMB_031 Southern blotting and P32 probe hybridisation (PDF)
- SMB_032 Spread-plating with glass spreader and ethanol (PDF)
- SMB_033 Tissue culture work (PDF)
- SMB_034 Handling toxic chemicals (PDF)
- SMB_035 Working with Phosphorus-32 and -33 radioactive isotopes (PDF)
- SMB_036 Disposal of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)-contaminated waste (PDF)
- SMB_037 Using X-ray cryosystems (PDF)
- SMB_038 Using an X-ray power generator (PDF)
- SMB_039 Biohazard Waste (PDF)
- SMB_040 Using the CP1000 film processor (PDF)
- SMB_041 Communal PC1 cell culture lab (PDF)
- SMB_042 Communal PC2 cell culture lab (PDF)
- SMB_043 Cleanup of mercury spill from broken thermometer (PDF)
- SMB_044 Working with tritium 3H radioactive isotope (PDF)
- SMB_045 Working with Iodine-125 radioactive isotope (PDF)
- SMB_046 Use and disposal of sharps (PDF)
- SMB_047 Working with human blood and tissue (PDF)
- SMB_048 General staff and external contractors in PC2 laboratories (PDF)
- SMB_049 Working with Risk Group 2 microorganisms in teaching labs (PDF)
- SMB_050 Using a rotory evaporator (PDF)
- SMB_051 Operation and maintenance of the ToxiRAE Pro CO2 monitor (PDF)
- SMB_052 Contents of spill kits (PDF)
- SMB_053 Working with benzene (PDF)
- SMB_054 Working with tamoxifen (PDF)
- SMB_055 Loading, transporting and filling of liquid nitrogen containers offsite (PDF)
- SMB_056 Working with Carbon-14 radioactive isotopes (PDF)
- SMB_057 Use of Pertussis Toxin (PTx) (PDF)
- SMB_058 Centrifugation (with interchangeable rotor) (PDF)
- SMB_059 Use of PDS-1000/HE and HEPTA systems (Gene gun) (PDF)
- SMB_060 Performing a wipe test for radioactive contamination (PDF)
- SMB_061 Using Galleria monella infection model (PDF)
- SMB_062 Use of Polytron tissue homogenizer (PDF)
- SMB_063 Use of BD Accuri C6 flow cytometer (PDF)
Copies of the Hazard Assessment Sheet and Standard/Particular Operating Procedures should be kept together in a folder in your laboratory. At any time a WHS inspector can visit the School unannounced and ask to see anyone’s WHS folder.
If new techniques/processes are required to be used as research progresses, the appropriate Standard or Particular Operating Procedures should be added to your WHS folder.
SMB uses a set of general WHS guidelines that are to be used in all teaching courses across SMB from Semester 1 2015, onwards. These guidelines outline the responsibilities of course coordinators, demonstrators, staff and students alike.
The WHS guidelines for teaching are available here.
The course risk assessment (RA) form is to be used for all practicals from Semester 1 2015. A copy of the RA should be emailed to . These RAs should be included in demonstrator notes and used as a guide for the safety induction at the beginning of every practical session.
The course risk assessment document is available here.
All accidents, injuries, and illnesses must be reported via an online incident report form via RiskWare, located in the myHRonline section of the university staff intranet. Students should report incidents to their supervisor, who should complete the incident report on their behalf.
All incident reports must be submitted to WHS & Injury Management within 24 hours of the incident. If full details of the incident, injury, investigation and corrective actions are not available within this timeframe, the essential details of the incident or injury as they are known should be submitted initially. The report should then be re-submitted with all required information, including details of supervisor investigation and corrective actions, as soon as possible (within one week).
The Safety Committee meets monthly to discuss reported incidents and aspects of safety within the School. If a situation arises which is unsafe (water on the floor, empty cartons blocking a corridor, loose carpet constituting a trip hazard etc) report it to any member of the Committee:
Markus Hofer (Chair)
Phone: 9351 6047 (ext. 16047)
Dianne Fisher (School Safety Officer)
Phone: 9351 2224 (ext. 12224)
Peter Kerr (Representative of Level 2)
Phone: 9351 6006 (ext. 16006)
Ben Monaghan (Representative of Level 2)
Phone: 9351 6006 (ext. 16006)
Joe Dimauro (Representative of Level 3)
Phone: 9114 0942 (ext. 40942)
Jenny Phuyal (Representative of Level 4)
Phone: 9036 6217 (ext. 66217)
Angela Nikolic (Representative of Level 6)
Phone: 9351 6491 (ext. 16491)
In the event of a staff member, student or visitor being injured please contact the first aid officer in your area and the Chair of the Safety Committee, Markus Hofer (9351 2233 or ext. 12233).
If a local first aid officer is not available, call 9351 3333 (ext. 13333) to arrange for First Aid assistance.
First Aid Officers:
Phone: 9351 2501 (ext. 12501)
Ph: 9351 6006 (ext. 16006)
Ph: 9351 6491 (ext. 16491)
Auxiliary First Aid Officers:
Ph: 9351 3758 (ext. 13758)
Ph: 9351 6047 (ext. 16047)
Ph: 9351 2224 (ext. 12224)
If a person is seriously injured or ill, call an ambulance immediately 0-000. Be ready to provide the following details:
- your name
- number of people involved, and
- details of the medical emergency
Call 9351 3333 or ext. 13333 to alert Security, who can escort or direct the Ambulance/Medical Personnel to the site of the emergency and arrange for First Aid to be provided in the interim.
University Health Service
The University Health Service offers a general practitioner and "walk in" service for staff, students and visitors on the Camperdown/Darlington Campus. Priority is given to emergencies or those in pain or distress. The University Health Service is located at Level 3 Wentworth Building (G01) (phone 9351 3484 or ext. 13484) and Entry Level Holme Building (A09) (phone 9351 4092 or ext. 14095).
Please refer to the relevant SOP for appropriate spill, such as,
SMB_004 Cleanup of biohazard spills (PDF), or
SMB_013 Use, storage and disposal of flammable liquids (PDF), or
SMB_043 Cleanup of mercury spill from broken thermometer (PDF) or
SMB_052 Contents of spill kits (PDF).
Alternatively, please refer to the extensive list of SOPs above.
Location of Spill Station: Level 4, Front Foyer, G08 (in front of Admin Office)
For help: Kamrul Zaman, Room 451
Phone: 9351 3817 (ext. 13817)
Important: For large scale hazardous spills, call the Fire Brigade immediately
In the event of a fire or other emergency in the faculty, the following procedure must be followed:
BEEP…BEEP…BEEP… PREPARE TO EVACUATE
- Check for any sign of immediate danger
- Shut down any equipment/processes
- Secure valuables
WOOP…WOOP…WOOP… EVACUATE THE BUILDING
- Follow the EXIT signs
- Escort visitors and those who require assistance
- Do not use the lifts
- Proceed to the assembly area which is the lawn to the east of the school
- Warn anyone in immediate danger
- Fight the fire or contain the emergency IF SAFE TO DO SO
- Close the door
- Evacuate via your closest safe EXIT
- Report the emergency 0-000 & 9351 3333 (ext. 13333)
Hazardous waste must never be disposed into the sewer of the general waste stream. If in doubt about any issues related to waste disposal, consult the School Safety Officer. Detailed information on waste disposal can also be found in the risk assessments and standard operating procedures - these can be found on the SMB website. In brief, rules for waste disposal are as described below.
- All biohazard waste must be inactivated prior to disposal.
- Liquid waste: Liquid waste is to be collected in the appropriate liquid waste containers. Discard liquid waste as required (e.g. autoclave or inactivate in 1% bleach). Do NOT autoclave bleach-containing waste.
- Solid waste: All contaminated solid waste (including packaging material and boxes) must be collected in double-bagged autoclave bags inside metal bins. Full bags or bags containing infectious material must be taped/tied closed. Full bins must be closed, stuck with fresh autoclave tape and labelled on the outside with a biohazard sign and the words: “PC2 BIOLOGICAL HAZARD WASTE”. The waste must be transported as soon as possible (i.e. at the end of the day) to the cage in the autoclave area on Level 2. Do not overfill waste bags and do not discard liquid waste in waste bags (see above).
- Sharps containers containing biological must also be autoclaved before disposal.
- Check the Safety Data Sheet of all chemicals you are working with to ensure you understand the risks.
- Some non-hazardous chemicals may be disposed of down the sink with dilution (e.g. sodium chloride, potassium phosphate), but this is not appropriate for hazardous chemicals.
- All hazardous chemical waste needs to be labelled with the chemical name, the volume, the concentration (or the mass for solid waste), the person's name, lab group, and date. The waste must be sealed in a tightly closed strong container (preferably plastic) or in a wet garbag, or strong plastic bag for solid waste like EtBr-contaminated gloves. Glass containers should be avoided, unless the waste would dissolve plastic. Once all these conditions have been met, the chemical waste can be left in Room 225 for disposal.
- Chemical wastes should not be mixed together unless this is unavoidable (e.g. phenol/chloroform mixture).
- If you have many different chemical waste items to dispose of at the same time, you should fill in a dedicated chemical waste disposal form (from waste disposal officer, Ben Monaghan).
- Methods of disposing of radioactive waste must be organised before conducting any experiments.
- Long-lived isotope experiments that generate waste greater than 100 Bq/g should be discussed before hand with the Radiation Safety Officer. If requiring advice on disposal, contact the Radiation Safety Officer. Contact the Waste Disposal Officer to dispose of generated waste immediately, or to store securely until acceptable for disposal (<100 Bq/g).
- If generation of long-lived waste at >100 Bq/g has already occurred or is for some reason unavoidable, the Radiation Officer must be informed, and special arrangements made. Radioactive waste that is not able to be disposed of immediately needs to be stored correctly, i.e. in a suitable container (behind 10 mm perspex shielding or transferred into the Long Term Storage Bunker) labelled with your name, lab group, the isotope, the activity at the date of generation, and the date when activity will be acceptable for disposal (<100 Bq/g). Please see the Radiation Safety Officer for further information.
If there is a need to dispose of hazardous waste contact the Waste Disposal Manager:
Phone: 9351 6006 (ext. 16006)
A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) gives details about the properties of the substance, its toxicity and reactivity, and precautions for safe use - segregation from incompatible materials, procedures for handling, transporting, spill control and first aid, suitable storage and disposal arrangements, and any facilities or personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used.
Suppliers and manufacturers are required to provide an SDS for hazardous substances they supply. If a SDS is not supplied, this information can be obtained by using ChemAlert.
ChemAlert is a web-enabled chemical information database, which allows you to search for a chemical and then print a safety data sheet (report) or label. A safety data sheet for a substance contains information such as potential health hazards and first aid information, safe handling instructions, procedures for dealing with spills and advice on the appropriate protective equipment to be used.
To access ChemAlert and for further information, click here.
All reactions (working apparatus) must be labelled with a current Reaction Tag.
Where possible, ChemAlert should be used to generate the labels for decanted chemicals. The labels should be attached to the receptacle (eg. bottles, flasks, drums) with clear Contact. If a ChemAlert label is not available, transfer the appropriate chemical name, and risk and safety phrases (Refer to the SDS) to the Generic Label Format for Hazardous Substances (MS Word) (School of Chemistry format). Labels should have the name of the chemical written, NOT the structural formula.
Emergency Help information is now available from a Quick Link on the University's internet home page and the MyUni Student Portal. The What to do in an Emergency page provides information on emergency response procedures for a variety of common emergencies and relevant contact numbers. All staff should be familiar with this page: http://sydney.edu.au/whs/emergency/index.shtml.
All lecturers, tutors and demonstrators must be familiar with the location of emergency exits, available egress paths and evacuation assembly areas relevant to the classrooms they are using.
For further guidance please refer to the What to do in an Emergency site.
A large amount of information regarding working with radiation sources is outlined on the Safety Health & Wellbeing “Radiation & Laser Safety Requirements”
webpage. To comply with the University’s regulatory obligations outlined in the Radiation Safety Procedures and ensure a uniform approach to radiation safety throughout the University, the Radiation Safety Committee requires that all projects involving ionizing radiation should have a risk assessment completed prior to the commencement of any work. Completion of a Radiation Project Approval form which includes a basic risk assessment is a mandatory requirement for all new research grant projects involving the use of ionizing radiation. Approval forms should be forwarded to Nick Coleman so that these projects can be assessed by the Radiation Safety Committee.
A number of very helpful Radiation Information Sheets are available on the website regarding topics such as local radiation responsibilities disposal information, personal monitoring, legacy source repository rules, etc.
The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 prohibit or restrict the use, storage or handling of certain chemicals in certain situations. The restrictions of specific chemicals are outlined in Schedule 10 of the WHS Regulations 2011, and describe the different types of substances (i.e. prohibited carcinogens, restricted carcinogens and restricted hazardous chemicals) and their related concentrations/restricted usage.
Anyone wishing to use carcinogens listed in Schedule 10 of the WHS Regulations 2011 will need to apply for authorization from WorkCover to do so. This can be done by completing an Application for the authorization to use, handle or store prohibited and restricted carcinogens. The University has also developed further guidelines regarding working with carcinogens which can be found at http://sydney.edu.au/whs/guidelines/chemical/carcingl.shtml.
Safe Work Australia have also published further information to assist workers working with hazardous chemicals in their “Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace - Code of Practice”.
To access the SMB WHS Training Needs Analysis, please click here.