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Health and safety in the laboratory and field

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Health, safety and risk assessment are of paramount importance both in the laboratory and the field. This free course, Health and safety in the laboratory and field, will help make you more aware of the hazards and risks involved wherever you undertake your research, as well as giving you an overview of the legal requirements attached to this work. The course discusses issues involved in the handling of chemical and biological agents, basic safety procedures and common field-work hazards.

By the end of this free course you should be able to:

  • understand the legal framework of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulations associated with it;
  • understand the employers’, employees’ and visitors’ duties;
  • evaluate hazards and risks in order to carry out a risk assessment;
  • understand the legal requirement to report any accident or dangerous occurrence;
  • develop risk assessments for scientific laboratories that use chemicals or biological organisms or both;
  • develop risk assessments for field-work both in the UK and abroad;
  • evaluate the requirements for first aid provision in an office, laboratory or for field-work.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 1 hour
  • Updated Monday 17th March 2014
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Science
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Health and safety in the laboratory and field


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This unit is designed to introduce you to the concepts of health and safety within a science laboratory or in the field. There are a number of legal requirements that must be adhered to before carrying out work in a laboratory. One of these is the necessity to carry out risk assessments on the chemical and biological agents that are to be used as part of your practical work activities. As part of this process you may be required to think about minimising exposure of yourself and colleagues to these chemical and biological agents. The following background and information is intended to make you more aware of health and safety aspects of your laboratory and field-based research work.

This free course is an adapted extract from the Open University course STM895 Postgraduate research skills in science, technology, maths & computing, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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