ANAT3212 - Health and Safety

From CellBiology


GHS08 - Health Hazard

A key component of your training as a researcher is to understand the Health and Safety (HS) requirements to work in a laboratory and carry out experiments in safety to yourself and other laboratory members. There is a legal requirement to complete all training, inductions, follow laboratory rules, document and maintain records of your experiments. In general, students are "observing" research or participating in analysis of experimental data, NO UNSUPERVISED RESEARCH. Project work within this course must conform to SOMS HS requirements and be under the direct guidance of the research supervisor. If in doubt, always ask someone experienced BEFORE you act.

Legal requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

"The main object of this Act is to provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces"

Links: Work Health and Safety Act 2011 No 10 | Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 | SafeWork NSW

UNSW Policy Statement (2013)

The following values form the basis of achieving our aim of “Harm to Zero”:

  • People are our most valuable asset and we are all committed to ensuring the health and safety of everyone in the workplace.
  • Everyone has a responsibility for safety; their own and that of others.
  • Injuries can be prevented and an incident-free working and learning environment is actively pursued.
  • Communication and consultation are central to working together for a safer workplace.

SOMS Health and Safety

HS in SoMS

    • "To facilitate a safe work environment by developing and documenting H&S programs to coordinate training of staff and students and by overseeing the implementation of H&S procedures and policies in the School of Medical Sciences."
  • Australian Acts and Standards
  • A Health and Safety Management System is a set of plans, actions and procedures to systematically manage health and safety in the workplace that is actively endorsed by a committed employer to achieve:
    • Provision of a safe and health workplace and the prevention/reduction of illness and injury equally for employees and contractors.
    • Identification of workplace hazards, assessment and control of all risks.
    • Active involvement in health and safety matters by managers, supervisors and employees and their representatives.
    • Provision of information and training for employees at all levels so they can work safely.
    • Audit and review of the HSMS.
  • UNSW UNSW Health and Safety Management System | Student Training | Policies

Laboratory Techniques

SOMS HS guidance


SOMS Training-Inductions

All staff and students working in research laboratories require HS training and inductions.

  • Research floor inductions can only be completed after all required training has been completed.
  • Training records are assessable through MyUNSW.

Links: UNSW HS Training | Student Training

Safe Operating Procedure

Also called a Safe Work Procedure (SWP)

The objective of a SWP is to ensure that written instructions have been developed for all activities that pose a risk to the health and safety of people. SWPs should be written by a staff member(s) and/or student(s) with sound, hands on experience and knowledge of the tasks.

  • SafeSys is a new online health and safety management system for forms, equipment and activities/fieldwork.
  • HS017 Risk Management Form, HS026 Safe Work Procedure Form, HS030 Inspection Testing and Monitoring Schedule Form and HS653 Hazard & Risk Register is created within SafeSys
  • Safe Work Procedure guidance
  • All procedures require reading, training and signing off.

Any SWP will have an associated Risk Assessment document.

Links: SafeSys | SafeSys Access

Risk Assessment

The objective of a Risk Assessment is to ensure that all potential hazards associated with an area/task/process/equipment are identified and controlled so far as is reasonably practicable.


Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) replace the original term and classification Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
    • Updated as part of "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)"
  • A set of standardised safety information prepared for each of the chemicals used within the laboratory.
  • Each research laboratory is required to keep either a hardcopy or electronic copy of these MSDS's available within the laboratory.
  • Before carrying out any new research technique, in particular for students, should be taken through the location and use of SDSs.
    • the risks and hazards involved with specific chemicals.
    • the correct storage, handling, labeling and disposal of each chemical.
    • ideally they should keep an electronic copy or link to each of these SDS's for their own reference.
  • There is currently no coordinated international standard and different countries may have different requirements.

SDS must state:

  1. a hazardous substance's product name
  2. the chemical and generic name of certain ingredients
  3. the chemical and physical properties of the hazardous substance
  4. health hazard information
  5. precautions for safe use and handling
  6. the manufacturer's or importer's name, Australian address and telephone number.

Note that while information found on internet chemical SDS pages may be very similar, international sites may not conform to Australian Worksafe format.

United Nations - Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

GHS08 Health Hazard

(GHS) The new system, which was called "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)", addresses classification of chemicals by types of hazard and proposes harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. It aims at ensuring that information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemicals be available in order to enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transport and use of these chemicals. The GHS also provides a basis for harmonization of rules and regulations on chemicals at national, regional and worldwide level, an important factor also for trade facilitation.

GHS08 Health Hazard
Of the 9 pictogram codes, this relates to systemic health hazard as well as reproductive and developmental effects.

Germ cell mutagenicity (State route of exposure if it is conclusively proven that no other routes of exposure cause the hazard)

  • Category 1A - Danger - H340 - May cause genetic defects
  • Category 1B - Danger - H340 - May cause genetic defects
  • Category 2 - Warning - H341 - Suspected of causing genetic defects

Carcinogenicity (State route of exposure if it is conclusively proven that no other routes of exposure cause the hazard)

  • Category 1A - Danger - H350 - May cause cancer
  • Category 1B - Danger - H350 - May cause cancer
  • Category 2 - Warning - H351 - Suspected of causing cancer

Reproductive toxicity (state specific effect if known)(state route of exposure if it is conclusively proven that no other routes of exposure cause the hazard)

  • Category 1A - Danger
    • H360 - May damage fertility or the unborn child.
    • H360F - May damage fertility.
    • H360D - May damage the unborn child.
    • H360FD - May damage fertility. May damage the unborn child.
  • Category 1B - Danger
    • H360Fd - May damage fertility. Suspected of causing damage the unborn child.
    • H360Df - May damage the unborn child. Suspected of damaging fertility.
  • Category 2 - Warning
    • H361 - Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child.
    • H361f - Suspected of damaging fertility.
    • H361d - Suspected of damaging the unborn child.
    • H361fd - Suspected of damaging fertility. Suspected of damaging the unborn child.
  • Additional category for effects on or via lactation (no pictogram)
    • H362 - May cause harm to breast-fed children.

Links: GHS Poster | United Nations - GHS | Safe Work Australia - GHS | GHS Video


Links: Safe Work Australia - GHS | PDF | United Nations - GHS | UNSW Chem Alert | USA - NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards

Universal Precautions

  • When dealing with biological materials, in particular human specimens, are a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other bloodborne pathogens when providing first aid or health care. These precautions should also be used when carrying out basic research on these tissues.
  • Universal precautions involve the use of protective barriers (PPE, personal protective equipment) such as gloves, gowns, aprons, masks, or protective eyewear, which can reduce the risk of exposure of the health care worker's skin or mucous membranes to potentially infective materials. In addition, under universal precautions, it is recommended that all health care workers take precautions to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments or devices.

Links: CDC Universal Precautions for Prevention of Transmission of HIV and Other Bloodborne Infections


  • Working with human tissue?
  • Other projects in the same lab?

Hazardous Waste

Three main forms of hazardous waste: chemical, biological and radioactive.

SOMS Hazardous Waste

Hazards and Incidents

SOMS Hazards and Incidents


Experiments involving Animal or Humans require approval by the UNSW Ethics Committee (or hospital equivalent).

"The NSW Animal Research Act (1985) requires that all research (funded or unfunded) and teaching that uses animals - whether alive or dead - must receive prior written approval from the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committee (ACEC). All animal research at UNSW is conducted in accordance with the UNSW Animal Research Ethics Procedure."

Links: Human Ethics | Animal Ethics | Ethics Forms | World Medical Association - Declaration of Helsinki


SOMS has a team of Emergency Personnel for each floor of Wallace Wurth. The names, location and contact details are generally posted on each floor by the lifts or on a nearby wall.

There is also emergency procedure flipchart and emergency contact numbers are on stickers on telephones.

SOMS Emergencies