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Health and Safety


Information exists in several layers:

  • University and Physics department in compliance with legislation
  • Specific to each level
  • Specific to a project or experimental activity

The tabs contain generic safety information relating to specific potential hazards but this must be read in conjunction with more specific information provided for individual projects.

Regardless of these regulations, the golden rule is....


... but don't get too worried. If you follow these (simple) regulations and guidelines, you will be perfectly safe.

General rules

  • In addition to the general safety instructions, and those issued regarding the individual laboratory sections, there is also a risk assessment form associated with most activities. You are required to consult this form before commencing the practical work on your project and sign it to indicate that you have understood the information. The forms are kept with the Laboratory Technicians. Please consult the demonstrators if you do not understand it. The forms are available from the laboratory technician.
  • Do not remove or modify equipment designed for safety. Doing so will endanger yourself and others and result in disciplinary action.
  • Make sure equipment is turned off and left in a safe condition when unattended (special arrangements must be agreed with staff otherwise).
  • Always use your common sense - these instructions cannot cover every conceivable eventuality
  • If in doubt, evacuate the affected region, asking other people to do the same, and inform staff of the problem.

You can find the general health and safety information on the department H&S Sharepoint site [internal access required]. Individual experiments will also have specific health and safety rules to follow.

Access rules

  • Access to the laboratory is permitted only at specified times as advised by staff. Otherwise students must obtain permission to work in the laboratory from the appropriate section leader or their nominee.
  • Prior permission from the appropriate section leader or their nominee is required if apparatus is to be left running out of normal university working hours. The laboratory technician should be informed and notices placed on both the equipment and laboratory door giving details that apparatus has been left operating.
  • In each laboratory there is a notice giving the name and phone number of the member of staff to be contacted in an emergency. All persons in the laboratory must be familiar with the safety book, and know what to do in the event of fire. There are also special safety rules associated with each laboratory section and students must be familiar with these and follow them.
  • In the event of a student becoming injured in the laboratory this must be reported to the Departmental Health and Safety Co-ordinator (Mr D McCallum).
  • Occasionally it is necessary for a member of staff to be absent from the laboratory and department. In these circumstances a notice will be posted on the laboratory notice board indicating the period of absence and the name of a member of staff who will be responsible for the laboratory during their absence.
  • Students should notify the demonstrators on duty if they plan to be absent from the laboratory during normal working hours for more than 30 minutes, and inform them of their return.
  • Students must obey instructions from demonstrators or laboratory technicians relating to safety without delay.
  • Students must attend any safety briefings provided by the Section Leader or their nominee.
  • Students may not work if they are affected by - or appear to be affected by - alcohol or narcotics, or by any other substance (including medication) that impairs their judgement in safety matters.
  • Students with disabilities or special needs, should contact staff for implementation of any "reasonable adjustment" required.

Specific Guidelines

Guidelines for specific health and safety guidelines for certain projects can be found here.