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Dr David J.A. Kinnison BSc (Hons), MSc, DPhil, CMIOSH, MRSC C.CHEM, MIIRSM, MISTR.

Safety Advisor, Faculty Health & Safety Advisor for Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences

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Dr David J.A. Kinnison is Safety Advisor within Chemistry at the University of Southampton.



Dr Kinnison studied Chemistry at King’s College London and undertook a Masters by Research with Dr John Nicholas before moving to Oxford University in 1990 under the supervision of Professor Richard Wayne.

At Oxford he worked on the Tropospheric degradation of halogenated organic compounds, principally alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons. In 1994, he took up a research fellowship with Professor J. Alistair Kerr at EAWAG/ETH Duebendorf outside Zurich continuing work on atmospheric chemistry and processing of anthropogenic substances in the Troposphere. In 1996, he returned to the UK to work outside academia and start a career in chemical safety and its application in the workplace.

As a brief interlude, he worked as a chemical weapons inspector for the United Nations in Iraq in 1997. This work came to abrupt stop with the deteriorating political situation in the region in 1998 and he returned to chemical safety work in the UK. In 1999, he returned to academia and was appointed as Departmental Safety Officer in Chemistry at the University of Southampton. Dr Kinnison joined the teaching staff in 2003 contributing to practicals, lectures, workshops, and tutorials in kinetics, spectroscopy, and atmospheric chemistry. He has collaborated on research with colleagues including Professor John Dyke and Dr John Langley.

In 2006, he set up the University Chemical Safety Forum, which aims to improve chemical health and safety awareness in UK higher education. 2006-2012 he was Chair of UCSF and oversaw the increase in membership to over 200, implementation of biannual meetings and networking sessions, sharing of good practice and incident information, financial sustainability, and the UCSF website. In 2010, a curiosity in fine particles in relation to occupational hygiene and the explosion of ‘nano’ research developed in to founding the UK Nanosafety Partnership Group with fellow academic safety advisers and related safety professionals. In 2012, the guidance, “Working Safely with Nanomaterials in Research and Development”, was published. Dr Kinnison is currently Chair of UK Nanosafety Group.

Dr Kinnison was appointed Faculty Safety Adviser for Environmental and Life Sciences, whilst continuing in Chemistry, in 2012. He is a qualified health and safety practitioner but firmly still a chemist.

Research interests

I have broad range of interests including occupational hygiene and health, toxicology analytical science, atmospheric chemistry, the marine atmosphere, kinetics, and energetics (esp. related to safety).

In particular, we have been studying workplace air (including laboratories, workshops, storage areas, offices) by employing gas sampling tubes (activated charcoal) drawing air over the charcoal and desorbing the adsorbed material with carbon disulphide. Through employment of gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry we are able to characterise the air samples and quantify contaminants and ambient pollutants present in the workplace air (through direct calibration). Sampling at the air intake point we able to observe the local vehicle emission signature (‘BTEX’ compounds) present in ambient air and monitor these ‘BTEX’ pollutants in the workplace air. Further sampling has identified common cleaning agent fragrances, adhesive solvents, sealants, and paper additives. Taking measurements in the workplace is particularly useful in demonstrating that the necessary engineering controls (e.g. fume extraction) are working as desired and the hazardous substances are at levels well below legal limits (‘Workplace exposure limits’, WELs).

We are interested in developing synthetic methods for the safe containment and neutralisation of hazardous materials (including nanomaterials) in preparation for hazardous waste disposal. Fortunately, there are a number of skilled synthetic chemists at Southampton who have greatly assisted this area of work over the years and assisted in reducing ‘legacy’ chemicals in Chemistry.

Research group


Affiliate research group

Characterisation and Analytics

Responsible as the ‘competent person’ as defined by health & safety regulations for Chemistry and the Faculty.

Ex-offico member of all Faculty health & safety committees in FNES.

Responsible for managing the Chemistry safety team.
Chair of UK Nanosafety Group.

Consultant on health and safety, specialising in chemicals.

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Course coordinator for CHEM 8022 (Post graduate Chemical safety course).

Undergraduate project supervisor on CHEM 6090 & CHEM 3046.
Physical chemistry tutor.

Co-author and joint editor on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s online Safety manual (under the ‘Learn Chemistry banner).

Dr David J.A. Kinnison
Chemistry University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 29/2061/M16

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