8. Research laboratories, clinics and workshops

Clinics, Laboratories, workshops and other areas with particular first aid needs arising out of specific work or student activities are responsible for meeting these additional needs and cannot rely on the basic first aid service of Nominated First Aids Officers appointed to the building. The Faculty/School/Department concerned is responsible for all arrangements where first aid skills are a job requirement. The Nominated First Aid Officer role supported by USQSafe is voluntary.

A risk assessment must be conducted for all potentially hazardous activities, including research projects. Risks must be controlled to prevent injury and illnesses as far as practical. However, in some situations there may still be the potential for a serious risk to health to arise or there maybe predictable adverse health reactions that can be minimised by prompt first aid specific to the situation. In these cases specified planned first aid responses will be required beyond the standard first aid service available in the building from volunteer NFAOs. The Head of Department should appoint someone, usually not the NFAOs, to be responsible for ensuring the planned first aid responses are up to date and equipment is in good working order, e.g. Laboratory Technical Officer or Research Assistant.

Examples include the following:

  • clinics and research programs where staff, students and/or members of the public are subject to tests, challenges and activities that could result in adverse reactions e.g. fainting after a blood sample is taken, or exacerbation of underlying or known conditions; staff with first aid qualifications or relevant health care practitioners should be employed as part of the research team/clinic staff to conduct or supervise the activities;
  • laboratories where acutely toxic hazardous substances, e.g. Hydrofluoric Acid are used; the Principal Researcher/Supervisor is responsible for ensuring adequate preventative measures are in place, that any relevant antidotes are kept and that staff are trained in their use; and
  • laboratories and clinics where there is a risk of sharps injuries: the Principal Researcher/Supervisor must ensure all staff and students are trained in local procedures for prompt assessment and treatment of sharps injuries relevant to the types of contamination likely to occur, e.g. exposure to untested human blood or body fluids.

See the USQSafe website for more information on:

  • risk assessment,
  • work with hazardous substances, and
  • infection control.