The first speaker was Mr. S.K. Lam (Director of University Safety, CUHK) and his topic named “Workshop on Laboratory Safety: Chemicals and Biological”. In the beginning, Mr. Lam introduced the principles of Laboratory Safety “RERER”, indicating “Recognition of Hazards”, “Evaluation of Risks”, “Reduction of Hazards”, “Emergency Preparedness” and “Review System and Incidents”.
He said most Lab Safety Management System originate from BS 8800 (for construction site safety mainly) with 14 elements. Most of universities in Hong Kong (e.g. CUHK, PolyU, CityU & BUHK) are following AS 2243. HKU is following BS 7258 and HKUST is following USA system. In CUHK, they employed Centralized MSDS Database which online in each laboratory with different languages (Cost ~ HK$100,000 per year).
Since there are more than 800 laboratories in CUHK, they need to train different student and assign departmental safety coordinators to perform the duty such as chemical inventory check, safety inspection, etc. Moreover, they employed buddy system (Two people operate together as a single unit so as to help each other) for working in the laboratory especially at night.
Then Mr. Lam shared some real cases below.
Case 1 was fire on open branch. Root cause identified (1) keep alcohol lamp on even when no longer needed; (2) lack of concentration during work; and (3) old habit never dies.
Case 2 was chemical bomb because of expired chemical becoming unstable. Root cause identified: (1) excessive chemicals purchased; and (2) no one takes responsibility in inventory control.
Case 3 was release of NO2 from open bench experiment. Root cause identified: (1) no safety briefing to new lab users; (2) no coordination in facility maintenance; and (3) insufficient knowledge on hazardous.
Case 4 was Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Poisoning in Australia. The technician knocked over a small quantity (between 100 to 230 ml) of HF onto his lap, splashing both thighs. Since no calcium gluconate gel was applied to the affected area and contaminated clothing was not removed during the flushing with water, the technical was in severe pain. The injured man’s right leg was amputated 7 days after the incident and subsequently died from multi-organ failure 15 days after the spill. Root cause identified: (1) Inadequate PPE used when handling HF; (2) no Calcium Gluconate gel available; and (3) Working alone with highly hazardous chemicals.
Mr. Lam said there is no BioHazard Level 4 laboratory in Hong Kong. Biological material is not like chemical to have completely MSDS eventhough it is preparing now.
He pointed some safety precautions in Microbiological Lab such as secondary container for transport of specimen – autoclavable, resistance to chemical disinfectants, internal rack to sit primary container upright. Use of BSC should follow the standard as BS 7258 (BS EN 14175), AS/NZS 2243.3: 2010, etc.
Case 1 for biological incident such as Needle stick injury was found in hospital. Root cause identified: (1) pressing workload and a deadline to beat; and (2) inadequate funding to change to safety syringes.
The second speaker was Mr. S.T. Yip (Safety Officer, University Safety Office, CUHK) and his topic named “Ionizing Radiation Issues in Laboratory” and “Laser and Mechanical Safety Issues in Laboratory”.
Firstly, Mr. Yip briefed the history and background information about ionization radiation. Thorium (232) and Uranium (235) were discussed. Then he mentioned three paths to exposure to radiation such as “Medical”, “Occupational” and “Public”.
The legist ration of radiation in Hong Kong was stated such as Radiation Ordinance Cap. 303 and Import (Radiation) (Prohibition) Regulation Cap. 60K. The following situation will be controlled by ordinance if:
Irradiating Apparatus > 5uSv/hr at 5 cm
Radioactive Substance > 75 Bq/g
Some dose limits on Radiation (IA) Regulations were shown as follows:
Radiation workers: 20 mSv/year
Controlled Area: (IA > 3 uSv/h and RS > 1 uSV/hr)
Then the most dangerous source red sign label was demonstrated and we need to stay far and report to your supervisor.
For Laser Hazards (Non-ionizing Radiation), the following items should be concerned:
- Coherent radiation (Laser Beam)
- Non-coherent radiation (UV)
- High voltage (Diffuse Viewing Only (DVO) and arc upto 3 inch if 1500V)
- Toxic Fume / gases
Radioactive Waste management in Hong Kong was introduced:
- Sealed source (e.g. return to manufacturer)
- Unsealed source (e.g. delay and decay)
- Discharge limit (e.g. 1 Annual Limit Intake (ALI) per month)
For compress gas cylinder, press check should be performed every 5 year.
Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (5th Edition) CDC - http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/bmbl.pdf
Related activities in HKSTP & HKTIC:
20081211 - HKTIC Laboratory Biosafety Training - http://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2008/12/laboratory-biosafety.html
20101004 - HKSP 1st Occupational Safety and Health Conference - http://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2010/10/hksp-1st-occupational-safety-and-health.html
20111027 - HKSP 2nd Occupational Safety and Health Conference - http://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2011/10/hksp-2nd-occupational-safety-and-health.html