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Chemical Agents and Nanomaterials Safety

Chemical Agents and Nanomaterials Safety

The incorrect or unsafe use of chemical agents, including nano materials can give rise to a risk of significant injury or bodily harm. Some chemicals have the ability to pose an immediate threat to life itself if used incorrectly; whilst others such as carcinogens can give rise to long term health effects. Any staff or postgraduate student planning to work with chemicals must complete a Chemical Agents Risk Assessment in advance of starting work. For work with nano materials, a Nano Materials Risk Assessment must also be completed.


Chemical Agents Risk Assessment

The SIRC Office has prepared a number of general risk assessments for chemical agents to aid workers is addressing the hazards posed by various classes of chemicals. The ultimate aim of a Chemical Agents Risk Assessment is to assess the risk from the use / presence of a chemical agent in the University, to the health and safety of persons and to identify control measures designed to reduce the risk from those chemicals to as low a level as possible. These documents must be reviewed by chemical users in order to ensure that they adequately manage the risks posed by the specific chemicals that they use and the processes that they undertake.


Click Here to View completed General Chemical Agents Risk Assessments

In the event that a general chemical agent risk assessment is not sufficient to control the risk posed by a chemical, then there are options available to a chemical user:

  • General chemical agents risk assessments can be modified to include additional risk control measures and more specific information on the chemical in question (not applicable to carcinogens and / or mutagens).
  • The chemical user can complete a new risk assessment using the UCD Pro Forma Chemical Agents Risk Assessment Template.
  • The chemical user can use their own designed template.

In order to complete a risk assessment, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for every chemical under review, along with the ‌UCD Chemical Safety Manual, must be available for consultation.


UCD Carcinogen Use Register

To register carcinogen use, please complete the following form: UCD Carcinogen Use Register Form


Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

All manufacturers / suppliers have a statutory duty to supply you with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for their products. An SDS must be readily available / accessible for all chemicals that are in use in the lab and must be consulted when completing a Chemical Agents Risk Assessment.

SDS must be of recent origin referencing the newer labelling system and must comply with the relevant EU directives.

It is understood that it is impractical in some cases to hold an SDS for every chemical in use in the lab in a paper format within the lab. At a minimum it is suggested that paper copies of SDS for the following types of chemicals be kept in the lab:
o    All chemicals held in a volume over 1 litre / 1 kg
o    All carcinogenic, mutagenic and tertatogenic chemicals
o    All very toxic and toxic chemicals
o    All chemicals utilised on a daily basis
o    All chemicals whose usage is deemed to be of a moderate risk or higher following a risk assessment.
For other groups of chemicals SDS can be accessed when required via the internet.


Use Of Carcinogens / Mutagens

The use of carcinogens and mutagens must be subjected to a specific risk assessment. The use of a carcinogen or mutagen must be fully justifiable over the use of a less hazardous chemical.

Further Information and Useful Documents

UCD Chemical Safety Manual for persons working with Chemical Agents within the University

UCD Nanomaterials Safety Manual (pdf) for persons working with Nano Materials within the University

UCD Chemical Agents Risk Assessment Template

UCD Nanomaterials Risk Assessment Template (doc)

UCD Chemical Spill / Emergency Response Poster (pdf)

UCD Liquid Nitrogen & Dry Ice Safety Guide (pdf)

‌‌Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Guide on Safe Use (pdf) - must be reviewed by anyone planning to work with HF

UCD Gas Release Calculator (xls)UCD Gas Release Calculator (xls)