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Health and Safety Services

Department of Biological Sciences
Health and Safety Policy - Statement and Organisation

N.B. This document was provisionally agreed by Professor Waksman on 5th January 2010 and may be amended and/or corrected.  It is intended that the following information will form the introduction to a new policy for the Department of Biological Sciences which will eventually replace the policies currently still published as the 'Crystallography Safety Policy' and the SBCS Safety Policy'.  Meanwhile, those remain relevant for the codes of practice they contain on laboratory safety and should be consulted as necessary.

This health and safety policy and its accompanying codes are endorsed by the Head of Department, Professor Gabriel Waksman, and all staff, students and visitors working in the Department’s research and teaching laboratories are expected to comply with them.  This document should be read in conjunction with the "College Statement of Safety Policy"

Organisational Structure for the Management of Health & Safety

Head of Department
Professor Gabriel Waksman is responsible to the Executive Dean of the School of Science for all matters of health and safety within the Department of Biological Sciences.  These responsibilities are set out in the "College Statement of Safety Policy" and include appointing departmental safety coordinators, DSE assessors and fire marshals and also arranging for "safety" to be a standing agenda item at departmental meetings.

Area Safety Coordinators  
Area safety coordinators are in general charge of safety within areas of their schools or departments. They advise their heads of school or department on safety matters and act as liaison officers in the exchange of information between their schools/departments etc and the Health and Safety Officer. The responsibilities of area safety coordinators are set out in the "College Statement of Safety Policy"  Area safety coordinators in Biological Sciences are:

Chemistry (6th floor): Dr Salvador Tomas
Biology & Microbiology (3rd floor): Mrs Marie Maugueret-Minerve
Crystallography – (basement): Dr Jim Pitts

Laboratory Managers & academic line managers
Laboratory managers, supported by  the senior academic associated with their laboratory, are responsible for ensuring health and safety within their labs and have the full authority of the Head of Department to take such reasonable measures to enable them to do so.  The current list of lab managers is set out below.
Dr T. Daviter – Biophysics Centre
Dr D. Houldershaw – Computer Services
Dr Luchun Wang – EM Lab
Dr R Sarra – Rayne Wolfson Lab & Spectroscopy Lab
Dr S Geddes – Rosalind Franklin Lab
Dr N Cronin – X-ray Lab
Mr D Shipp – Chemistry Teaching Labs
Mrs Marie Maugueret-Minerve – Micobiology Research Labs
Mr Martin Cullum - Biology Teaching Labs
Mr Frank Barretto – Chemistry Research Labs
Ms Gita Panchal - Biological Instrumentation Labs

Radiation Protection Supervisor
Each department where ionising radiation is used has a Radiation Protection Supervisor (RPS) appointed by the College to oversee the safe use of ionising radiation within their department.  The Departmental RPS is Dr Jim Pitts

Departmental GM Safety Officers
The duties of Departmental GM Safety Officers are laid down by the HSE and are set out in the College’s Code of Practice for work in GM Laboratories.  The duties include ensuring that local rules are drawn up and followed for the safety of users of GM.  The Department has two GM Safety Officers:
Dr Sanjib Bhakta – microbiological laboratories
Dr Rennos Savva – crystallography laboratories

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessors
Each area of the College has one or more a DSE assessors appointed by the Head of the school/department/area and trained by the College Health and Safety Officer. DSE assessors ensure that the legal requirement for carrying out risk assessment of DSE workstations is implemented within their areas.  The DSE  assessors in Biological Sciences are Dave Houldershaw, Martin Cullum and Yvonne Dove.

Zone Fire Marshals
Zone Fire Marshals and their deputies are appointed by heads of department and trained by the Collge Health and Safety Officer.  They have duties within defined areas of the Collegethat include monitoring fire safety compliance within their zone and sweeping the zone if the fire alarm sounds to ensure everyone has left.  The College Health and Safety Officer maintains a list of all zone fire marshals within Biological Sciences’ areas.

Responsibilities of individual staff, students and visitors
All employees have a legal responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their acts and/or omissions and to co-operate with their employer with regard to health & safety matters i.e. the arrangements for health and safety set out in this document and its associated codes of practice; all students and visitors are placed under the same obligations when on Birkbeck premises.

Departmental Safety Panel -
details to be confirmed by the Department

College Health and Safety Officer (CHSO)
The College Health and Safety Officer (also the College Fire Officer), is responsible to the Secretary and Clerk to the Governors for general safety matters throughout Birkbeck.  The  CHSO is Tom McCartney.  The CHSO is assisted in his role by the College Radiation Protection Adviser (currently also Tom McCartney), College Biological Hazards Officer (currently Dr Jane Nicklin), College Laser Safety Officer (currently Dr Jim Pitts), College GM Safety Adviser (also Dr Jim Pitts) and the College Chemical Hazards Officer (currently Dr Salvador Tomas).

The role of the CHSO and the advisory officers are set out in the"College Statement of Safety Policy".

College Safety Committees
The membership and terms of reference of the College Health and Safety Comittee, the GM Safety sub-Committee and the Radiation Protection sub-committee are set out on the College Committees web page  -

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