Research Support Services Directorate

The mission of the Research Support Services Directorate (RSSD), when it comes to laboratories, is to assist the scientific, technical and laboratory staff to maintain a high standard of quality in the laboratories across the University.

To this end training courses in relation to the laboratory setting are being offered. If you are interested in attending for training and no planned training dates are listed in the calendar kindly contact RSSD.


Chemical Handling Course

Trainers: Mr Francis Micallef, Specto Limited
Target Audience: Members of staff handling chemicals within the laboratory settings
Duration of Course : 16 hours    

The idea behind this course is to give an overview on chemical handling to technical operatives working in University of Malta laboratories. It will cover areas of importance in chemical legislation, occupational health and safety issues, sources of information, chemical handling and waste management. There will also be an element of practical approaches with regards to spill control and incident response. The capacity building and the increased awareness should assist operatives to better approach the lab reagents they handle, thus reducing risks related to exposure to, and handling of, such chemicals. The course has been designed with inputs from local and EU technical people, including the technical team that has carried out the two cleanup campaigns at the University and technical people from the disposal site which will eventually treat the lab reagents.

The course will be spread over 16 hours and is split into four modules each consisting of a four-hour session. The course is structured in an interactive way, with a mix of theoretical and practical sessions. Participants will be required to attend for all the four modules in order to successfully complete the course and receive a certificate. 

Module One: Chemicals and their Hazards – Sources of information

The danger of lack of awareness
CLP and REACH directives
The Safety data sheet
Hazard classifications
Understanding labels
Hazard and Precautionary Statements 

Module Two: Understanding Hazards and Risks

The Risk Assessment

Measures to Mitigate Risk
Personal Protective Equipment
Embracing an OHS ethic

Module Three: Laboratory Health and Safety

Good laboratory Practice
Spill control
Basics of Incident response
Intelligent segregation and Storage of Chemicals

Module Four: Waste Management in the Laboratory

Handling of waste streams (with focus on specific streams)
Safe Management of Waste storage areas
Waste disposal options
Applying Waste management issues to the lab (waste reduction, safe procedures, duty of care)
Embracing a Waste management system

Specto Ltd has been involved in technical consultancies in the fields of Environmental and Waste Management, Occupational Heath and Safety and Chemical Handling for the past 17 years. Allying itself with important strategic partners in Europe, it was the first company in Malta which acted as a broker in the shipment of waste out of Malta to approved sites in Europe. This remains one of its core activities and to date Specto Ltd has shipped out over 5000 tons of hazardous wastes ranging from Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment, to sludges, to pharmaceutical waste, laboratory waste and other waste streams. Specto Ltd offers technical consultancy and training in its areas of competence and has already carried out a lab reagent cleanup campaign at the University of Malta in 2015. Now carrying out its second campaign, the current training course extracts important issues that have arisen during these two campaigns to give further added value and relevance to the training course in hand.


Management of laboratory equipment in the Fixed Asset module in AIMS (ZRH-003)

Trainer: Mr Pierre Micallef
Target Audience: General users, designated Responsible Persons (RPs) and Maintenance Staff Leaders (MSLs) for the asset inventory in AIMS and UM staff
Duration of Session: 3 hours    

The equipment asset inventory on AIMS is an optimal organizational tool for good management of laboratory assets. This training course will teach you to manage your departments’ assets and keep this database updated in real time as per Standard Operating Procedure ZRH-003.

This training session is primarily intended as an induction course to new users of the module as well as newly assigned RPs and MSLs. The invitation to attend this course is also extended to trained RPs and MSLs that require a refresher course or a platform to clarify any queries related to the system. Members of staff who would like to have access to the database of their equipment assets are strongly encouraged to attend this course.

  • Quick overview on the life cycle of an asset and advantages when using the inventory;
  • Difference between Fixed Assets and Old Assets;
  • What is to be considered as laboratory equipment when raising Purchase Requisitions, which in turn form an integral part of the inventory's database;
  • Walk through and functionality of the different tabs in the asset inventory - different editing roles for RPs and MSLs;
  • How to generate reports with filtering options for lab equipment assets important for management of stock taking exercises; and
  • Time for Q&As

Chemical Hazardous Waste Management SOP

Target Audience: Members of staff working in the laboratory setting and generating chemical waste
This training is compulsory for all laboratory staff.
Duration of Session: 3 hours 
Standard Operating Procedure  

With over 300 laboratory spaces within the University of Malta, majority of which generate chemical waste, a standard operating procedure has been designed to streamline the management of this waste. The purpose of the procedure is to ensure that hazardous chemical waste generated is properly and safely managed, from the time it is generated, through handling, storage, and preparation for transportation.

Chemical waste can take various forms such as discarded commercial chemical products, solvents and mixtures of chemicals, oils, heavy metals, inorganic and organic solids and liquids, expired medication as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), excipients and finished pharmaceutical dosage forms.

The management of waste in laboratories is essential to ensure the safety of personnel and ensure proper segregation, handling and storage of chemicals to avoid any sort of potential risk by reaction.

The University requires all staff, students and third parties making use of the University’s premises to comply with this procedure. 

The aim of this training session is to help staff familiarize themselves with and implement the standard operating procedure on Chemical Hazardous Waste issued by the University. The training session will entail a review of each section of the SOP together with relevant workshops. For this reason, all attendees are requested to bring a printed copy of the SOP including appendices with them. A soft copy of the SOP can be downloaded here.  

Chemical Hazardous Waste Management - new updates implemented

Trainer: Mr Pierre Micallef and Ms Katarzyna Juraszek
Target Audience: Members of staff identified by the Research Support Services Directorate (RSSD)
Duration of Session: 2 hours 
Standard Operating Procedure  

A new revision of the SOP for Chemical Hazardous Waste Management (ZRH-007-01) has been recently implemented.  Among the changes from the previous version and also as already informed through previous communications, is the mandatory new procedure and requirement to start using the electronic Waste Register on Google Drive. Each entity (F/C/I/S) will have access to their own shared folder which  will  serve as an on-online repository  for all documentation  generated related to chemical waste thereby facilitating the process of submissions every  6 months. This major change together with an overview of the other salient amendments will be explained in more detail during this training session. All chemical waste RPs are strongly encouraged to attend this training session  and familiarize themselves with the new SOP to  ensure full alignment with the current procedure since no waste generated will be collected in future campaigns other than that listed in the new e-registers. 

Basic Chemistry Course

Trainers: Mr David Farrugia and Mr Mark Zerafa
Target Audience: Non-chemists working in a laboratory environment and handling chemicals as well as staff with a chemistry background wishing to refresh their memory on basic chemistry concepts.  
Course duration: 16 hours 

The University of Malta houses approximately 300 laboratories on and off campus. These include teaching, research and servicing labs. The nature of the work varies from purely chemical to industrial engineering, heritage conservation and medical just to mention a few. The expertise of technical staff is therefore vast and specialised to their line of work. However, quite a few members of technical staff have requested basic chemistry training since chemicals play an important part in the majority of laboratory settings.   

The aim of this training course is to help you familiarise yourself with practical, basic chemistry concepts. For this reason, the course has been designed to cover topics which you could put to use in your day to day chemistry related duties. In fact, the queries raised by technical staff members via correspondence and feedback given to HR and RSSD have helped formulate the course content.   

The course will entail both theoretical sessions together with class exercises as well as hands on practical sessions in the laboratory. By the end of the course you will be in a position to understand the following basic principles:
  • The basic unit of a chemical: the atom
  • States of matter: solid, liquid and gas
  • Difference between: Atom, ion, element, molecule, compound, mixture
  • Difference between: Metallic, ionic and covalent bonding
  • The Periodic Table: Chemical symbols and formulae
  • Difference between: Relative Atomic Mass (RAM) and Relative Molecular Mass (RMM)
  • Counting unit in Chemistry: The Mole and using this unit in calculations to prepare solutions. 
  • Types of reactions: Exothermic, Endothermic, synthesis, decomposition, combustion, neutralisation
  • Preparation of solutions and serial dilution
  • Acid vs Base, pH, performing neutralization reaction
  • Classifying chemicals you encounter in your lab: pure vs impure, homogenous vs heterogenous, organic vs inorganic, halogenated vs non-halogenated, metals vs non-metals, oils, aromatics, polymers
  • Interpretation of chemical bottle labels

Basic Radiation Safety Awareness

Trainer: Mr Aldo Busuttil - Radiation Protection Expert
Target Audience: All staff that come in contact with Radioactive Sources and Electrical Equipment producing ionising radiation
Duration of session: 2.5 hours

This course is designed for all UM employees and students who work with or are exposed to ionising radiation. This training is part of the UM Radiation Protection Programmes and is obligatory by law under Cap585 of the Laws of Malta. This training course is valid for five (5) years from the date on the certificate. 

After completion of this training session, the participants will be able to:
  • Have a clear understanding of what ionising radiation is and what physical properties it possesses;
  • Have an awareness of the legal requirement for the safe use of ionising radiation;
  • Implement safe working practices and techniques when working with ionising radiation.