Students and academic and non academic staff will soon be able to report online any mishap/ near-miss accident in research labs, reasons behind it and action taken, as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) being put in place.
An Safety officer at IIT-B Sajith KV said "The scope of research activities in the institute has increased significantly and there are hazards involved. Hence, it mandates that we have a system in place to ensure that students and staff work in a safe and healthy environment".
The OHSMS will mandate regular training, audits and compliance reports. A dedicated web page has been created listing the safety policy, lab safety manuals, training modules, audit reports and any mishaps that has occurred and the steps taken subsequently. He said "All the information will be available on web page for public and will be linked to the main IIT-B web page.
According to the manual, one has to identify hazards at each level of a research activity, assess the risks, determine measures to bring risks to an acceptable level, and implement the measures. The procedure of hazard identification and legal requirements will be spelled out. Also emergency response and critical incident recovery plans after an accident have also been developed.
In case of emergency issues, A safety cell has been set up and will provide safe work facilities. It will liaison with safety committees in each other department. All students, faculty and non-academic staff will have to be well-versed with safety procedures in their labs. Training modules are being developed in bio-safety, chemical safety, cryogenics safety, fire safety, gas cylinder safety, laser safety, machine safety, OH & S awareness and radiation safety.
Sajith said "We prepared action plans based on the findings. We are conducting dafety reviews of other departments".
Last year a committee listed safety hazards which were encountered in labs. It recommended a safety management scheme and a safety cell, and a formal audit system. A safety review was conducted for the biosciences and bioengineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, metallurgical engineering and materials science and physics departments.