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The University of Southampton

Safety in the Chemistry labs. Southampton takes the lead

Published: 21 January 2013

Safety is key for Chemistry staff and students at the University of Southampton. Everyone involved in laboratory work from freshers to senior academics knows it takes top priority.

Dr David Kinnison, Chemistry Safety Advisor at Southampton, is one of the UK's leading safety professionals. He helped found the UK's University Chemical Safety Forum in 2006 and chaired the organisation until 2012. The network of 200 professional safety officers in higher education, skilled at managing risks in teaching and research, meet regularly to share best practice.

"It is all about getting the balance right," explains David. "No-one wants to stifle research or restrict students' learning but all laboratory work must be carried out in a safe environment. Safety has to be integrated into all activities from the start, it cannot just be a ‘bolt on' to experiments."

The Forum is now using its experience in other areas. Members have been asked by the Royal Society of Chemistry to collaborate on a project to develop an on-line laboratory safety manual .

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