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All of Clinical Neurosciences laboratories are Containment Level 2 - though some laboratories are embedded in other departments - we expect all of our staff, student and visitors to follow Good Laboratory Practices as set out below:

Responsibilities

 

Supervisors are responsible for the work carried out (ownership of risk) and must ensure that researchers have received the appropriate training and are competent in order to work safely.

All staff, students and visitors must follow the precautions set out in NDCN safety policies, in Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and in Risk Assessments (RA), which will enable researchers to achieve their duty of care to themselves and others around them.

Training

All Laboratory based users must attend the Laboratory Safety Induction before they can be granted access to level 5 (OUH card request).

All laboratory users must also attend the Safety Office Biological safety training regardless of their level of experience.

Good Laboratory Practice

The laboratories in NDCN are containment level 2 laboratories as defined by the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).

Only authorized persons may enter and/or work in the laboratories

Persons below the age of 18 must not enter the laboratories without prior arrangement including a suitable risk assessment as per NDCN safety policy 012 Young People at Work.

  • Sensible foot ware must be worn, no open toes.
  • Never: Eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or apply cosmetics in the laboratory.
  • No storing of food or drink for human consumption is allowed in the laboratory.
  • Always wash your hands after laboratory work, using the hand wash basins provided.
  • All cuts and abrasions must be covered by waterproof dressings.
  • All accidents and dangerous incidents must be reported as soon as possible and an accident form completed.
  • No person should undertake work activities for which they have not been suitably trained.
  • Within all laboratories a one glove policy is in place for moving between lab areas, therefore, a glove must be removed when using a door or lift.
  • Work surfaces and equipment must be cleaned and or disinfected once work is completed.
  • Waste must not be accumulated in the laboratory areas or fume hoods and all waste must be disposed of in accordance with NDCN safety policy 013 Waste segregation
  • Report all problems with equipment straight away to the Facilities Team.
  • Equipment that is not designed to be permanently left on, must be switched off after use, especially out of hours.
  • Ensure that you are familiar with the local emergency procedures including: Fire evacuation routes, location of fire extinguishers, location of spill kits and location of First Aid kit.
  • Lab coats and safety glasses must be worn at all times whilst working at the bench. Only exceptions are:

    • People passing through the labs
    • Where a risk assessment has shown that PPE is not required in a specific area (i.e. microscopy room)

Good Gloving Practice

For most low risk work, nitrile gloves will offer good protection, however some chemicals can quickly penetrate or damage a nitrile glove. It is therefore very important to check the manufacturer’s chemical resistance data charts.

Because of the risks of allergy with latex gloves, their use must be avoided wherever possible. If latex gloves are required for a procedure, then a suitable risk assessment must be drawn and the user must be registered with Occupational Health as latex user (email form to facilities@ndcn.ox.ac.uk).

Disposable gloves are intended for single use only to guard against splashes or incidental contact with chemicals.

Re-useable gloves are tougher and a better choice if you need protection against abrasion or if the job requires direct contact with chemicals (e.g. immersion or handling cleaning rags) or if large volume splashes are likely.

  • Before Use

Always cover any broken skin, cuts or grazes with a waterproof plaster before putting on your gloves.

If your hands are dirty, or you have been handling chemicals etc. wash your hands before putting on gloves. Make sure you rinse and dry your hands well. Traces of soap held against the skin by a glove can cause irritant dermatitis.

  • During Use

Remember to protect the skin above your glove. The sleeves of your laboratory coat should overlap the top of the glove during work. For greater security, tuck your sleeve into the cuff of the glove.

Single use, disposable gloves should be changed immediately after any splash.

Chemicals may quickly pass through or damage disposable gloves, particularly where the glove is of poor quality or incorrect material for the chemical.

When working with hazardous substances it is important to change your gloves at the appropriate frequency determined by the breakthrough time.

Even for low hazard operations or where the glove is being worn to protect the work, sweat and otherwise low hazard chemicals can build up inside the glove, which can lead to dermatitis and other skin problems. Change gloves at least every half hour to avoid this.

Do not touch ‘clean’ surfaces such as telephones or door handles to minimise accidental contamination.

Never wear gloves outside the laboratory. If hazardous materials have to be transported between labs use secondary containment.

  • After Use

Take care when removing your gloves so you do not touch the outer surface. If double gloving, pull off the first glove so it turns inside out. Use the clean inner surface to hold the second glove while you pull it off.

Always wash your hands and dry well after removing your gloves.

Depending on the nature of the work, gloves can be disposed in autoclave waste bags (contaminated by biological hazard) or general waste bags (no contaminant).

  • Hand Care

If you do develop a rash, or dermatitis — sore, cracked or inflamed skin inform your supervisor and the Safety Officer.

Occupational Health can provide advice through confidential appointment.

 

Glove Selection (for PPE) Toolbox Talk – Pre-recorded online training presentation (20minutes).

Removing gloves without contaminating your hands video

Skin care/glove removal posters   

Transport of research material

Whilst in CL2 laboratories, samples can be transported in leak tight primary containers (tubes, dishes, flasks…).

When leaving CL2 laboratories, samples must be contained within a secondary container, so that samples cannot leak in the open area where people eat and drink.

NDCN safety policy 010 Transport of research material defines the expected standards to comply with.

Standards for Use of Personal Music Players / Headphones

The use of personal music players can reduce awareness of an individual's surroundings, and can easily become contaminated with hazardous materials when used in a lab.

A sensible and pragmatic approach is applied to their use in lab areas. Personal music players MUST NOT be used for any activity where their use is considered to be inappropriate.

Users MUST ensure that they can still hear the emergency evacuation alarms.

It is left to the discretion of Group Supervisors whether or not they want their workers using personal music players (or other sources of music) in laboratories.

Personal devices must not be used with gloves on – even if the glove is clean – this give a perception that users do not understand the risk of cross contamination.

Out of hours experiments

Lone working is permitted within NDCN where no immediate hazard is present, after a suitable Risk Assessment and declaration has been drawn and signed by the user’s supervisor.

Restricted or controlled areas must be specifically considered in the Out of Hours Risk Assessment in order to obtain access.

SOP and RA will specify if a procedure can or cannot be carried out of hours due to the nature of the risk therein.

Where experiments/equipment are intended to run overnight or for longer period of time, a record of likely hazards must be made and notified to the Facilities Team who are responsible for out of hours call outs.

As failure of the equipment or procedure pose a potential risk to security staff, cleaners, and other users of the building and members of the emergency services who may attend an incident. 

Contact details of the end users must be left with the on-call person and a suitable authorization must be displayed in proximity of the overnight experiment/equipment.

This does not apply to equipment which are designed to be permanently left on (i.e. incubator, fridge, freezer…).