Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Health and Safety in the Chemistry Laboratory

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Study-unit outline:

- General Introduction on the definition of risks, hazards and toxicity: the distinction between risks and hazards, and introduction to the concept of risk being a function of hazard and exposure; different types of toxic effects;
- Principles of risk assessment: further discussion of risk as a function of hazard and exposure, and the steps of hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment and risk characterisation;
- Classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals: legislation requirements, the Global Harmonised System (GHS) and hazard classification;
- The REACH Regulation governing chemicals: legislative requirements concerning registration and use of chemicals;
- Safety Data Sheets: different sections of the MSDS and their contents;
- Safety of equipment and the workplace: occupational health and safety and the legislation governing roles and responsibilities;
- Principles of Safety: Protective measures to remove and reduce hazards;
- Environmental safety in the laboratory and waste disposal;
- Fire Safety: the triangle of fire and fire hazards;
- Personal Protective Equipment: different types of PPE's and their appropriate uses.

Students will also carry out a number of assignments in which they will be expected to identify hazards and quantify risk in a laboratory setting, by carrying out the appropriate risk assessment.

Study-unit Aims:

The objectives of the study-unit are:

- To make chemistry students to be aware of health and safety regulations and legislation concerning the use of chemicals, and health and safety in the laboratory;
- To explain to chemistry students the distinction between risks and hazards, and familiarise them with the principles of risk assessment;
- To familiarise chemistry students with personal protective equipment and other safety equipment in the laboratory.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Recall the legal framework governing health and safety in connection with the use of chemicals;
- Recall the principles of risk assessment;
- Define appropriate safe practices in the laboratory.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify the main health and safety hazards in a laboratory and the reasons and methods to control the associated risk;
- Carry out a risk assessment of the use of chemicals in a laboratory;
- Make appropriate recommendations in the event of a chemical accident or spillage.

Main Text/s and sources:

- Study-unit handouts
- Specialised regulatory websites of the Malta Standards Authority, European Chemicals Agency, Consumer Products Safety and Quality Unit, International Conference on Harmonisation, DG Health and Consumer Protection, European Food and Safety Agency, European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals, and World Health Organisation International Programme on Chemical Safety
- Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
- Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation).

Supplementary readings:

- The European Communities' health and safety legislation, by Alan C. Neal and Frank B. Wright, Chapman & Hall, 1992
- Guidelines for laboratory design : health and safety considerations, by Louis J. Diberardinis et al., Wiley, 1987
- Hazardous waste handbook for health and safety, by William F. Martin, John M. Lippitt, and Timothy G. Prothero, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1992


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 No 40%
MCQ & Examination (1 Hour and 15 Minutes) SEM1 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Ingrid Busuttil
Claude A. Farrugia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.