UCL Chemistry Safety Page

Contact for the Chemistry Department

Safety Officer: Brian Kavanagh

Safety Emails: Safety.Chem@ucl.ac.uk (General Safety Issues in Chemistry)


PhD Student in Lab…

Safety concerns everyone who works in the department - staff, students and visitors.  Individual responsibilities are defined in the UCL Statement of Safety Policy

Departmental Safety Booklet & quick guides

Access and Use of Buildings

The Christopher Ingold Building and the Kathleen Lonsdale Building are open between 08:00 and 19:00, Monday to Friday.  Outside of these hours access is by use of a keycard, which operates the lock on the designated out-of-hours door.

Out-of-hours access to the Chemistry Department must be recorded in the books located in reception (CIB) or the second-floor lobby (KLB).  If you are already in the department at 19:00, you must sign the out-of-hours book if you intend to stay later.

Undergraduates, taught postgraduates and visitors are allowed access to the department only between 08:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.

Nobody is allowed in the department for any reason between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00.

Any type of risk-assessed work is permitted in the Chemistry Department between 07:00 and 21:30, Monday to Saturday (except when College is closed at Christmas, Easter and on Bank Holidays), subject to the constraint that experimental work should not be attempted unless at least one other worker is in the same laboratory, or within earshot, and will be so for the duration of the experiment.

Outside of these hours (and subject to the restriction between 00:00 and 06:00 mentioned above), members of the department are granted access ONLY in order to do written work at their own desk, to operate computer terminals and carry on activities such as pre-booked measurements on equipment such as the NMR spectrometers and X-ray diffractometers.  The following rules apply:

If it is foreseen that work has to be continued after 21:30 (e.g. collection of data), an extra risk assessment and protocol must be authorised by your supervisor and copied to the DSO.  Nobody is permitted to work alone.  Security must be informed by contacting Mark West (x 37321).

Similarly if, under exceptional circumstances, work has to be carried out between the hours of 08:00 and 18:00 on Sundays, only low risk experiments are to be performed and the supervisor must be present for the duration of the experiment.  An extra risk assessment and protocol must be authorised by your supervisor and copied to the DSO prior to the work being carried out.  Fire evacuation and first aid training should also be given to the researchers.  Security must be informed.

  • You must fill in the out-of-hours book on entry and departure.
  • Your supervisor must give permission for you to be in the building (research students only).
  • You must not admit anyone else to the building except for your own guests.  All visitors must sign in on entry and sign out when they depart.
Accidents and Incidents

An accident is an unexpected, undesired event which causes injury to a person or damage to the contents or fabric of the building. An incident is an unexpected, undesired event without the consequences i.e. no injury or damage. Whether one or the other occurs is often down to luck, so it is important that all accidents and incidents are reported and investigated - if an incident goes unreported (and no steps are taken to prevent recurrence) it may well become an accident the next time it happens!

All accidents and incidents should be reported to the DSO and recorded using Safety Service's online reporting tool

For accidents and incidents occurring to undergraduates in the Graham Laboratory or the Turner Laboratory should be recorded on the online system as above.
You must ensure that a member of staff from the Chemistry Department is informed as soon as possible. When completing the online form select Faculty of Maths and Physical Science and Department of Chemistry when you assign responsibility. If you are injured select "Student Injury" as type of incident.

Report an Incident

Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

All staff and postgraduate students who are regular users of DSE as part of their work must carry out an annual DSE assessment.

Staff and students will be invited to complete an online self-assessment. However, all computational chemists must also be assessed by a trained DSE assessor for their assessment RiskNET, If there are issues identified by this assessment they will be resolved by your supervisor advised where necessary by the assessor. Please contact the Safety Officer (Brian Kavanagh) to arrange this assessment.

Further information for DSE users, their managers and supervisors, can be found on the UCL Safety Services website.

Persons with Disabilities

Risk Assessment

The UCL policy on admission of students with disabilities states that all students with a physical disability will be required to undergo a mandatory risk assessment prior to being accepted by UCL. Students who develop a physical disability subsequent to their admission to the college will be required to undertake a risk assessment prior to continuing their programme of study. The risk assessment will be undertaken by the Disability Coordinator, in conjunction with the UCL Safety Officer.

Evacuation in case of emergency

A Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) must be completed for each staff member or student with disabilities in the department. The Departmental Safety Officer must be consulted before any disabled person may work in the Christopher Ingold Building or the Kathleen Lonsdale Building.

Disabled Access

Disabled visitors should contact the department prior to their visit as special arrangements may need to be made for some users.  The Christopher Ingold Building has disabled access and disabled bay parking at the front of the building.

Emergency Procedures

Explosion, Major Spill or Release of Toxic Substances

  1. Evacuate the room.
  2. If fire occurs beyond the capability of personnel present, or if danger threatens the surrounding area, sound the fire alarm and evacuate the building.  Ensure that all personnel keep clear of the danger zone whilst so doing.
  3. Call for assistance for any injured person (or send under escort to UCH A&E).
  4. Inform the Technical Safety Officer and Departmental Safety Officer.


The fire alarm is a loud continuous ringing.

When the fire alarm bells sound:

  1. Close all windows and doors.
  2. Provided that there is no personal risk, (i) stop all machinery, (ii) switch off electrical supplies to equipment, (iii) turn off gas supplies and gas cylinders.
  3. Leave the room; the last person out should close the door.
  4. Do not use the lifts.
  5. Leave the premises by the nearest escape exit or staircase which is safe to use.
  6. On leaving the CIB assemble on the pavement outside the Institute of Archaeology in Gordon Square or on the pavement in Endsleigh Gardens. On leaving the KLB assemble on the pavement in Gower Place or in the Physics Yard at the rear of the building.

Fire Evacuation Marshals (FEM) have been appointed for each floor. They wear high-visibility waistcoats and all other personnel should follow their instructions during an emergency.

Staff and students must make sure they are familiar with all escape exits and assembly points.

If a fire occurs, the fire alarm should be activated by using one of the break glass call points. You should then leave the building by the nearest safe exit, and report to the Senior Fire Evacuation Marshall by the main entrance. You or the Senior FEM should dial 222 from an internal phone, or 0207 679 3333 from a mobile phone, and ensure that the UCL Control Room personnel are aware there is a fire.

The only exception to this is if the fire is small, you are confident you can deal with it and you are in no danger. You may then attempt to extinguish it yourself, but don't spend long at it; if you are not successful within a few seconds, give up, activate the fire alarm and leave the building.

NOTE: The use of fire extinguishers is restricted to personnel who have attended the College training course. Fires can be made worse by the incorrect selection/use of fire extinguishers. Fire blankets may be used to smother a fire.

All use of fire extinguishers or fire blankets must be reported to the Technical Safety Officer.

All fire incidents must be reported to the Departmental Safety Officer.

Unexpected Power Failure

The following procedure must be implemented following an unexpected power failure:

  • Ascertain expected duration of power outage: Technical Support Group to report outage by phone to Estates and Facilities Officers as appropriate and to update and advise Departmental Safety Officer.
  • If outage is of long duration:  Departmental Safety Officer and/or Technical Support Group to meet with HoD/Deputy HoD and advise cessation of experimental work. Cessation of experimental work should only be agreed via consultation of HoD/Deputy HoD with DSO/Assistant DSO.
  • All supervisors to be notified (by the above team) that researchers are to stop all work, turn off all appliances at the sockets, turn off all taps and leave laboratories. (Note: power outage stops water flow to the upper floors of the CIB).
  • Departmental Safety Officer and/or Technical Support Group tour all laboratories to check that appliances and taps are turned off and advise students to leave. Academics can remain in their offices provided there are safe exits, active fire alarms and the natural lighting is sufficient.
  • Technical Support Group to keep all staff and students informed of significant developments where appropriate.
  • No experimental work permitted until power is reliably restored.
Fire Evacuation Marshals
First Aid

Minor injuries should be treated in the department by a first aider or, if necessary, by the A&E Department of University College Hospital, the entrance to which is 235 Euston Road. More serious, but moveable, casualties should be escorted straight to UCH at all times. For a serious casualty summon help immediately by telephone (Ext 222).

Any person involved in an accident which affects his/her eyes must be seen by the UCH A&E Department.  It is very important to ensure that chemical splashes to the skin or the eyes are very thoroughly irrigated in the department before the casualty is sent to hospital.

If a first aider is not readily available and hospital referral is not warranted, then the Gower Place Practice at the UCL Health Centre (ext. 32803/37057) may be contacted for advice from the duty doctor or nurse (0930–1730, Monday–Friday only).

Emergency Showers and Eyewash Stations

For chemical splashes, dowsing with water from a nearby tap is the most suitable action.   Research labs are equipped with flexible hoses connected to the mains water supply to provide an emergency eyewash station, and this can equally well be used in the case of chemical contamination.  Mains water is CAT1 whereas the standard water supply to laboratory sinks being CAT5 fluid, not suitable for the use of hand wash or first aid.  

There is an emergency shower located in the first aid room (CIB, G2).

The College Fire Officer advises that the use of Emergency Showers to extinguish a fire on the person is not generally considered appropriate.  A conventional fire extinguisher (CO2 or water) or fire blanket is usually more effective.

First Aid Boxes

First aid boxes (containing dressings, plasters and other stores for treating minor injuries) are kept in laboratories and at other sites in the department. Laboratory users should ensure the boxes in their areas contain adequate in-date supplies and should contact Mr C. Medley (CIB Room 101, tel: 24641/24643) for refills.

First Aid Room

A first aid room (CIB, G2) is available where casualties may rest or be treated by first aiders. This room must be kept in good condition, and is only used for first aid, infant care and shower room.

First Aid/Family Room…

First Aiders

Personnel trained in First-Aid (M = Male, F = Female):

Christopher Ingold Building (CIB)Kathleen Lonsdale Building (KLB) 
BasementSecond Floor
 (F) Nafsika Forte - Rm 230 Ext:33451

 Ground Floor

(M) Theodore Hayes - Rm 237
(M) Tony Field - Chemistry Stores G22 Ext: 27450(M) Calum Foden - Rm 230 Ext: 33451
(M) Brian Kavanagh - Rm G16D Ext: 28550 West End, Second Floor
First Floor(M) Thibault Grendron - Lab 237 Ext:54056 and Rm 208 Ext: 37036 
(M) Crosby Medley - Rm 101 Ext: 24643/24641(F) Kerstin Sander - Rm 208 Ext: 37036 
(M) Michael Parkes - Rm 123 Ext: 24667Third Floor
Second Floor(M) Andy Logsdail - Rm 351 Ext: 30312
(F) Claire Gacki - Rm 201 Ext: 24661(M) John Buckeridge - Rm 355 Ext: 30486
(M) Martyn Towner - Rm 201 Ext: 24661 
Third Floor 
(M) Sebastian Dixion – Rm 310 
(F) Joanna Donnelly- Rm 330/334 Ext: 27587 
Forth Floor 
(M) Matthew Powner - Rm 408 Ext:24542 

Out-of-Hours Assistance

The college communication centre is manned on a 24 hour basis (tel. 33333; in emergency tel. 222).

Mental Health First Aid

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental ill health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. We know that 1 in 4 British adults will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.

Here in the department has two mental health first aiders, Brian Kavanagh and Nicola Philips, who can approach, assess and assist someone who might be experiencing a mental health issue and encourage them to the support they need to recover.

Mental Health First Aid…

Chemistry Safety Sharepoint site

Visit the Chemistry Sharepoint Safety Site for further information and forms related to all health and safety issues.  You will need a UCL UserID and Password to access this portal.

College Safety

For further information on College Policies, please visit the UCL Safety Services website.