Hazard alerts (2016)

Hand Injury: puncture wound

A recent injury occurred when a technical service support worker entered a biological laboratory and borrowed someone's personal laboratory coat, after discovering there being no shared lab coats available. The coat had un-protected tweezers inside the pocket. As a result the technician sustained a deep puncture wound when they put their hand into the pocket.Implements of this type can often be associated with laboratory procedures involving medical, biological, radioactive, and other hazardous chemical procedures. Thankfully in this particular event the tweezers were proven not to be contaminated or infectious, as their association was known to be within a non-hazardous operational PC2 Biological Sciences laboratory.This incident is a timely reminder for wearers of laboratory coats not to leave implements of this nature in the pockets, this includes needles, scalpel, scissors, glass pipettes etc.It is also an opportunity to inform visitors to laboratories not to wear another laboratory workers lab coat.


  • Laboratory workers are advised not to carry or store sharp implements inside lab coat pockets. These implements can and do find their way into the soiled linen processing facilities, putting other workers at risk.
  • When donning a lab coat carefully pat down the pockets checking for unidentified objects, before putting your hands into the pockets.
  • Laboratory facilities shall ensure there are separate lab coats, including disposable style coats available, well separated from the regular occupant's coats, for and identified for visitors
  • Workshops must ensure their areas have a well-stocked supply of disposable overcoats so as not to be dependent on the supply of shared laboratory coats. Technical areas like electronics, IT and mechanical workshops are regularly required to enter laboratories as part of undertaking their services.


Electric shock: entering cieling spaces


Exposed wiring in ceiling spaces


Several instances of exposed wiring have been detected in ceiling spaces at the university. The first instance was found to be caused by birds or animals entering the roof space and eating the insulation off the wiring. The second was improper termination of redundant control wiring. In both instances, there were minor injuries and Notification to Comcare was required.


  • Ensure work permits are in order before work begins.
  • Extreme care is required when entering roof spaces.
  • Caution is required when removing ceiling tiles.
  • Use a torch to inspect ceiling spaces for hazards before entering.
  • Report all damaged wiring and hazards to Facilities and Services and immediate supervisor as soon as practicable.
  • Test all wires for electrical current before touching

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