[Univ of Cambridge] [Dept of Engineering]

Mechanics and Materials Labs Safety Information & Forms

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These downloads can either be printed out and completed by hand, or modified in Microsoft Word.


This document presents a summary of key safety issues. Please refer to the CUED Safety Office web page, and in particular the Safety Policy document , for further details. This policy document describes in detail the various responsibilities of everyone to maintain a safe environment. If you have any concerns or want help, please don't hesitate to contact your supervisor (where appropriate), or the Local Officer Responsible for Safety (LORS):
A few items from the safety policy are highlighted below.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are needed for all experimental activities, including undergraduate labs, 4th year projects and for research projects. If you are taking over someone else's activity, then you should review their risk assessment, modify it as necessary, and sign it. As well as a legal requirement, the idea of this activity, to my mind, is to ensure that 'the brain is in gear' both in designing an experiment and in its execution. Although it may seem like a chore, I am sure that you will recognise that this extra paperwork is an excellent way of ensuring that we all maintain a safe working environment in the labs. Please don't hesitate to contact the relevant LORS or the Safety Office for advice. Indeed the risk assessment is an ideal way of helping you identify where advice should be sought! Further helpful guidance, though applicable to physical chemistry, is available at //physchem.ox.ac.uk/~hmc/safety/riskassessmentoverview.html .

Once completed the forms should be sent to Ian Slack in the Safety Office, copied to the relevant LORS. We may have further comments or suggestions of ways to avoid hazards that you have identified, and the final iteration should be signed off by yourself, your supervisor (where appropriate) and the LORS. These forms will be stored in a folder in the relevant lab, which can be consulted to get an idea of what is required. Some template forms are included in the folder (e.g. heat treatment). Where significant modifications are needed to an experiment, the form should be updated.


The dangers associated with chemicals may not always be obvious. For this reason where you are using chemicals you always need to attach a COSHH form and Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to the risk assessment to check that any potential problems will have been identified. Before completing your risk assessment you should obtain the relevant MSDS from the material supplier. Use this to outline on the COSHH form how you will be using the chemicals to avoid hazards. This MSDS should be sent automatically with chemicals that you have bought or they can be found by a web search. Oxford University have a web site giving examples of chemicals needing COSHH forms, //ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/~hmc/safety/whatneedscoshh.html , and data sheets to indicate problems //physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/ and to help interpret these sheets //ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/interpretingmsds.html.

Storage of flammables (e.g. solvents) which should be left in special containers and not be left out overnight.


Class 3B and 4 lasers need a separate assessment to be signed off by the safety officer. He needs to be informed of lower power laser use, emailing the Departmental laser form to him. Further details at http://www-g.eng.cam.ac.uk/photonics/laser/lasers.html .

Out-of-Hours Working

The hazards of working alone with potentially dangerous equipment are obvious. During working hours special arrangements may need to be made to ensure that a minor accident does not become serious. Out-of-hours working should not be undertaken without written permission, and then only when safeguards are made. Although it is tempting to 'take a risk', please don't! Where potentially hazardous equipment is left on overnight a contact sheet should be completed. See the policy document for further details //www.eng.cam.ac.uk/safety/appendices2.shtml#appendixM .

| CUED Safety Office | MMD | CUED | University |

Michael Sutcliffe , David Cole
April 2009