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Research Projects/Lab Adaptations

The following roadmap/sequence overview should assist PIs and Lab managers.

  1. Prepare an concise overview operational document for the proposed activity (set out the A-Z of the intended lab work and related maintenance/equipment sequence). Consider all potential uses, both current and future possibilities (future proof the lab and utilities/gases required).
  2. Compile up to date floor/building layout drawings and equipment layout (it will be needed before any B&E work commences). A fire certificate and universal access certificate application to the Local Authority may arise via B&E.
  3. Design out major safety risks at source (apply SHWW Act schedule 3, principles of prevention – in particular risk elimination/avoidance and substitution).
  4. Arrange a design safety review of the process (with the H&SO and B&E & PI). This is to be based on the afore mentioned and the information listed below when available/compiled.

Associated with the above the PI needs to :

  • Address items 1 to 3 above at the outset
  • Then complete a Risk Assessment RA reconciliation (needs) for the space and activities ( new and existing). The Dept. RA reconciliation e-tool is available here.
  • Gather verified CE certification and equipment data sheets for all apparatus and equipment and hazardous substances. (compile a list of same including a chemical inventory by risk category)
  • Complete and have available the high level task or area specific Risk Assessments (RA) for the lab and the equipment and experimental processes (work). RA templates are available here.
  • Match the available space and utilities with the requirements to work safely and comply with modern SHWW and Fire Regulations and for universal access. A fire certificate application and a disability access cert may arise  (both involve a lengthy process with Cork City Council via B&E)
  • Then move on with creating a location and activity specific safety statement before any research work commences in any space (on site or off site). This to include  completion of ALL  task or area specific RA and task safe operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Standard information required:
    • Photographs (room and equipment)
    • Scale drawings for the entire floor
    • Room drawings providing dimensions of the clear space between benches and equipment/services. These should also indicate what is currently in place and where that will be moving to and any impacts this will have
    • What lab operation and risks as existing will remain
    • Where staff will be based
    • Noise and vibration profiles (in all circumstances of usage)
    • Information on the nature of samples (properties, size, weight, storage, handling, disposal
  • Liaise separately with the Biological Safety Advisor or Radiaton Protection Officer/Laser Safety Officer in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation regarding biological safety and radiation or lasers respectively. Contact details available here.

Safety statement and RA templates are available at:



Pay particular attention to all direct and in direct OH&S risks created; all inputs and wastes and the phase of material; Effective guarding of all moving parts of machinery and equipment; manual handling RAs ( using the H.S.A promoted MAC tool). Movements of vehicles and deliveries; UCC Permit to work requirements ( for all deliveries of equipment and connections and servicing). Explosive atmospheres (ATEX) regulations ( lab and apparatus); Ventilation; Thermal comfort and gas detection. Safe access and egress. Piping compressed from an safe external location to the point of use. Storage space for consumables and hazardous materials; Staff Risk specific training. Supervision.

The PI may need to directly engage an experienced competent safety practitioner to assist with the above. Fault tree analysis and HAZOPs may also be necessary and complex ATEX designs/ Explosion protection (EPD) documents for the lab/process.

Health and Safety Office

March 2022

Health & Safety Office

Sláinte agus Sábháilteacht

5 Carrigside, College Road, Cork