12. Research lab safety

Research lab safety information covering working with lasers and robotics.

12.1 Laser safety

For equipment that contains or uses lasers, Professor Bob Fisher is the appointed School Laser Supervisor (SLS) and he is responsible for the supervision of the laser operations within the School.

Direct viewing of class 3A laser beams or their reflections may be potentially hazardous to the eyes and therefore work with the laser is restricted only to those who have been authorised by the SLS.

All members of staff and postgraduate students carrying out work involving the use of the laser source must attend a ‘Laser Safety’ course run twice annually by the University Radiation Protection Unit. Information received on the course is supplemented by practical training and instruction on the use of the equipment by the SLS.

12.2 Robotics labs

Persons working in the Robotics Labs should be familiar with the following:

  • Only authorised persons may use a robot. This authorisation can be obtained from the lab supervisor.
  •  It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that the appropriate training in the use of the equipment has been given.
  • Robot users must read the Safe Code of Working Practice for each robot type where applicable.
  • Inexperienced staff and students involved in any potentially hazardous activities must be closely supervised by the supervisor until they achieve a satisfactory level of competence.
  • Any potentially hazardous laboratory activities such as soldering, operating the robots etc. are not permitted when working alone or outside normal working hours. The only exception from this rule is the explicit permission given by the supervisor after due consideration to the nature of the work and the risks involved.
  • When soldering fume extraction must be used. Every user must be familiar with and adhere to the soldering risk assessment and safe code of working practice.
  • A COSHH risk assessment must be completed if a substance that may present a hazard to health is to be used. 
  • Trailing leads or cables across gangways can create trip or electrical hazards. If cables cannot be sited without creating a hazard contact the H&S manager for advice.
  • All items of portable electrical equipment must have a valid safety label (test within last 12 months) prior to use.
  • No equipment may be used if the mains cable, plug or socket is damaged and any defects should be reported immediately to your lab supervisor or building-issues@inf.ed.ac.uk.
  • Broken or worn flooring, and light failures should be reported immediately to your lab supervisor or building-issues@inf.ed.ac.uk.
  • Do not leave loose papers lying around. General cleanliness/tidiness will help prevent accidents.
  • Never stand on chairs or desks when reaching for height. Always use a step stool or an appropriate stepladder.
  • Do not carry loads such that the weight may be dangerous or vision obscured.
  • Risk assessments and safe codes of working practice are available for all robots. Paper copies of these assessments will be in the H+S folder in each lab.
  • The lab risk assessment is INFRA12


Reviewed: 18/05/22 dch