Risk management of hazardous biological materials consultation

Do you work with or come into contact with hazardous biological materials? Find out and feedback on the University’s expectations from you – join the consultation process now

The need to clarify University expectations, alongside the advent of expected new legislation, has led Health and Safety Services to develop a new protocol on risk management of hazardous biological materials. These will help to ensure that we meet the forthcoming legislative requirements and that we set out the clear process to follow to prevent harm. These documents are now available for consultation for 4 weeks and we would very much value your feedback on them.

Please visit the consultation homepage and send your feedback via your trade union representative, or directly to safety@leeds.ac.uk by 5pm on Friday 10th December 2010.

Key points to note, include:

  • A set of definitions for work that brings people into contact with hazardous biological material has been developed to help with the risk assessment process.
  • The protocol tackles, for the first time, work involving both: deliberate exposure to hazardous biological material (such as laboratory workers using hazardous microorganisms) and incidental contact to hazardous biological material (e.g. an estates plumber working on a foul water system, or a researcher collecting samples from a sewage treatment plant).
  • People are now directed to include incidental exposure to hazardous biological material in risk assessments (e.g. activity assessment) only where a significant risk is identified.
  • There is a single health and safety system for deliberate work with biological agents and genetically modified organisms (collectively referred to as hazardous biological material).
  • People deliberately working with hazardous biological material will need to have their risk assessments approved by their local biological safety committee.
  • There is no requirement to risk assess non-hazardous biological material.

We are particularly interested in hearing feedback from staff on the following questions:

  • Are you clear about what we're asking you to do? If not where do you need more clarity?
  • Is the level of detail right?
  • Is there any generic information missing? Your Health and Safety Manager will work with you to develop school/ service-specific guidance but is there any more information you need from us centrally? Please be as specific as possible.
  • Do you have any case study examples which we could use to create example risk assessments?
  • Do you have any great examples of risk assessments that we could use to demonstrate good practice?

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