Changes ahead for laboratories


There will be new requirements for laboratories when the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations come into force on 1 December.

Currently, under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO), there are certain exemptions for laboratories involved in the small-scale use of hazardous substances for research and development or teaching.

There are also specific requirements under the Hazardous Substances (Exempt Laboratories) Regulations 2001.

Many of these laboratories follow a code of practice – effectively guidance on how to comply with the relevant Regulations.

These codes of practice will not exist under the new Regulations, but will be replaced with equivalent guidance from WorkSafe.

Special rules

Under the Hazardous Substances Regulations, special rules will apply to laboratories involved in research and development, teaching and analytical testing, which meet certain criteria.

Other laboratories will have to comply with all the relevant requirements of the new Regulations, which include new duties for keeping inventories, safety data sheets, informing and training staff, risk management and emergency preparation.

Whichever group your laboratory falls into, you need to be aware of new requirements for the safe management of hazardous substances.

It is also important to note that many of the existing rules will remain the same, and now is a good time to review the measures you have in place to make sure you are doing what is required to keep people safe.

Click here for more information on laboratory requirements under the new regulations.