1 Principles of Health and Safety and Good Laboratory Practice

Elaine Armstrong

Health & Safety Services, Compliance & Risk, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

1.1 Introduction

Scientific research, by definition, involves carrying out novel work to further scientific knowledge and, in pursuit of this activity, new techniques are developed and applied. The object of this chapter is to discuss a set of principles and guidelines that, when followed, will provide a safe and healthy environment for researchers, which will, in turn, facilitate and promote good science.

Chemical and biological laboratories are potentially very hazardous places in which to work. In recent years there have been a number of very serious accidents in academic laboratories with tragic and sometimes fatal consequences for those involved. These include fatalities in 2009 when a researcher died of extensive burns due to contact with a pyrophoric chemical [1] and in 2011 when a researcher was asphyxiated in an oxygen depleted atmosphere caused by evaporation of liquid nitrogen into a non‐ventilated space [2]. Serious injuries were caused to a graduate student in 2010 who was grinding energetic material that exploded [3] and a researcher lost an arm when a pressure vessel exploded in 2016 [4].

The risk of accidents and injury can be significantly reduced by researchers being aware of any potential hazards and working with care and attention to detail. Prior to commencing ...

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