The UK Nanosafety Partnership Group (UKNSPG) has developed and published guidance to support safe and responsible working practices with nanomaterials in research and development laboratories. As part of the Group, Drs Steve Hankin, Craig Poland and Rob Aitken from SAFENANO provided key input to the technical development of the guidance and SAFENANO is pleased to host the Group's webpage where the first version of the guidance is available for download.
The document aims to provide guidance on factors relating to establishing a safe workplace and good safety practice when working with particulate nanomaterials. It is applicable to a wide range of nanomaterials, including particles, fibres, powders, tubes and wires as well as aggregates and agglomerates, and recognises previous and current uncertainty in developing effective risk management when dealing with nanomaterials and advocates a precautionary strategy to minimise potential exposure.
Of relevance to employers, managers, health and safety advisors, and users of particulate nanomaterials in research and development, the guidance should be read in conjunction with the Approved Code of Practice on COSHH, together with the other literature referred to in the document. The document has been produced taking account of the safety information currently available and is presented in the format of guidance and recommendations to support implementation of suitable protocols and control measures by employers and employees. It is intended that the document will be reviewed and updated on a periodic basis to keep abreast of the evolving nature of the content.
The guidance document, and the UKNSPG itself, are endorsed by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE):
'This guidance has been produced by The UK NanoSafety Partnership Group with contributions from the HSE. It provides help to research establishments and academia on how to comply with their occupational health and safety legal obligations; it also provides additional information to help make improvements to health and safety systems when working with nanomaterials. It should be noted that the guidance may go further than the minimum you need to do to comply with the law. HSE welcomes the launch of this guidance and will continue to work with partners to ensure that the health and safety risks to employees in the nanotechnologies industry are properly controlled.'