Safety, Health and Injury Management and Wellbeing

Newsletter August 2020

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Further Information

  • UWA Smoke Free
  • Become a first aid officer
  1. Safety Related Training 2020
  2. RiskWare - Online Hazard and Incident Reporting - Training
  3. UWA COVID-19 Induction Training
  4. Events at UWA
  5. Chemical Corner - Sharing 'war stories'
  6. Radiation Rodeo - Paul Magill
  7. University Safety Committee
  8. Previous Safety and Health Newsletters

Safety Related Training

  • Online Safety Induction
    It is required for all staff to complete the Online Safety Induction every 3 years so if you are getting close, log into ELMO and tick it off before you get reminders in your inbox.
    Also available at the above link are courses on Bullying in the Workplace and Sexual Harassment Awareness.

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RiskWare - Online Hazard and Incident Reporting - Training

Training at your location is available by request - contact David Thatcher

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UWA COVID-19 Awareness Induction Training

Before returning to campus, staff and HDR Students must complete the UWA COVID-19 Awareness and Induction. If you have already resumed working on campus/site, you should complete the induction (a short video which will help you stay safe). Managers will ensure completion and clarify any queries.  

Useful posters and template below:

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Events at UWA

With activities on Campus returning to near normal there are requests for how to run events in the current climate.

The latest version of the UWA Covid-19 Events Checklist::

Event notifications must be made at least 10 working days BEFORE the scheduled event to ensure they can be properly reviewed.
Event Notification Form

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Chemical Corner - Sharing 'war stories'


Sharing ‘war stories’ is a powerful educational tool. Letting others know it happened to you makes an incident real in a way that statistics do not. Chemical Corner’s guest columnist Professor Matt Piggott relates a recent nitric acid explosion in his lab. He’d rather if hadn’t happened to him and by sharing his experience hopes to prevent it happening to you.

Dear Colleagues,
By now you will have seen news of the massive and tragic and explosion in Beirut resulting from incorrectly stored ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is, of course, the salt formed when ammonia reacts with nitric acid, and nitric acid has similar capacity to react violently under certain conditions.
Recently, there was a violent explosion in an acid cabinet in a chemistry lab in the Bayliss building that smashed bottles of corrosive chemicals, and required evacuation of a lab. It is very likely that the explosion was caused by the recycling of nitric acid used for cleaning glassware. While the intention was good-natured, nitric acid must never be recycled, and especially not returned to a sealed container. This includes waste bottles! Trace contaminants can lead to the decomposition of nitric acid with production of gases that cause pressure build-up.
Small quantities of nitric acid can be disposed of down fume hood sinks with a large volume of water. Larger quantities should be carefully neutralised with an inorganic base (be careful of exothermic reaction), before being flushed down a fume hood sink. If the nitric acid waste contains material that cannot go down a sink, such as heavy metals, then a plastic bottle should be used for pH-neutralised waste. Importantly, waste bottles for nitric acid should be thoroughly rinsed with water to ensure no organic solvent residues remain.

This is not the first time an explosion due to inappropriate use/storage of nitric acid has occurred:

Please contact Laurton Mcgurk [email protected]  immediately if you believe there is nitric acid or nitric acid-contaminated waste that is stored incorrectly in your lab. If you have any ammonium nitrate that is not required, I strongly suggest you contact Laurton to have it disposed.
Matt Piggott
(Chair, School Molecular Sciences Safety Committee)

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Radiation Rodeo - Paul Magill


Do you use Class 3B or 4 lasers as part of your research?
Are you currently licensed with the Radiological Council to use this equipment?
If you aren’t licensed, give me a call on 6488 2307 so we can get the ball rolling.

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University Safety Committee

The University Safety Committee last met on Tuesday 18th August 2020. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 14th October 2020.
Approved minutes from previous meetings are available from the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website.  

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Previous Safety, Health and Wellbeing Newsletters

For those who have missed out on our earlier editions, copies of previous newsletters can be obtained from the following web site: . All are encouraged to distribute relevant safety information in your workplaces.

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