Routine safety inspections were conducted in our department to check that the laboratories meet the legal requirements set by authorities on workplace safety and health. However, recurring undesirable laboratory practices were observed during monthly laboratory safety inspections. Our Department Safety and Health Committee installed a platform to allocate points to good laboratory practices observed and reward the best performing laboratories to encourage conversion of these good practices into good laboratory habits. Using digital platforms like Microsoft Forms and Planner, the inspectors were able to conduct laboratory inspections and to document the findings in a clear, transparent and readily accessible manner. The findings were analysed by all the safety leads in the different laboratories to facilitate the rectification of the safety issues. Laboratories with best performances during the inspection were rewarded for their consistent hard work. Such approaches encouraged good laboratory practices in our department and hopefully, will facilitate sustaining good safety culture in the future.
Chemical substances pose various risks, such as fire, explosion, negative health effects, and environmental pollution. To prevent these risks from developing into actual hazardous events, it is important for chemical users to obtain information on the relevant hazards and risks as a first step. Such information can be found in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) pictograms and legal regulations printed on chemical bottle labels, or in safety data sheets (SDSs). However, GHS pictograms include too little information to properly describe a chemical’s hazards and risks, and SDSs include too much, making it difficult to refer to them effectively during laboratory experiments. Therefore, this study developed a mobile application that effectively communicates information on the risks of chemical substances in laboratories. We developed a server-based software application that compresses legal regulations and GHS classifications into a QR code which can be printed and attached to chemical bottles; an accompanying mobile application can then be used to read the QR code and display information on the chemical’s hazards and risks. We investigated the feasibility and usefulness of this system through interview surveys conducted prior to development and formative assessments conducted after development of an alpha version of the system. These investigations confirmed that the system could be very useful and revealed potential improvements suggested by chemical suppliers and students.
Accomplishing the goals of an eco-university, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT), a suburban university in Thailand was initiated to practice an active role using the green university policy since 2016. There are two campus sites, which consist of Klong Hok Campus and Rangsit Center that located at Pathum Thani Province, Thailand. This paper was aimed to introduce the development of RMUTT to be a green campus and evaluate their results related to environment and sustainability by using UI GreenMetric ranking system during in 2017 - 2018. Six main criteria (i.e. setting and infrastructure, energy and climate change, waste, water, transportation and education and research) were probably evaluated by an effective procedure, which referred to the questionable performance on campus in each year. In 2017, it was the first time to join this ranking that produced the total based-score (about 4,095 of 10,000 maximum scores) of ranking in both national and international outputs, respectively. Various efforts of implementation at RMUTT were also detailed, such as the preparation of green and smart buildings, the application of light-emitting diode (LED) tubes and smart meters for monitoring the electrical usage on campus. Many projects have been performed for saving energy, waste-water recycling, promotion of green education and research to increase environmental awareness and sustainability. Until the year 2018, such an effort was better resulted, when compared to the last year, depending on the total based-score (about 4,825 of 10,000 maximum scores).
A fume hood is a local ventilation device equipped in experimental laboratories which is designed to limit exposure to hazardous or toxic fumes, vapors, and dusts. Although periodic checkups by users are important for maintaining and securing safety functions of fume hoods, there are currently no checkup tool available to assist users’ self-inspection. The authors, members of an NPO corporation; the “Research for Environment, Health, and Safety Education (REHSE)”, have summarized practical checkup methods for fume hood users and developed an on-line application by cooperating with fume hood users and manufacturers. This application provides users information on the importance of periodical checkups, warning signs of troubles that can be found on a daily basis, examples of possible problems that may occur if checkups are not performed, tips for efficient and reasonable checkups, technical terms of checkups, and related laws in regards to checkups. To take advantage of this feature, this application is designed to be accessible on smartphones or PCs so that it can be easily checked on the spot when users need to solve problems or to know how to perform a check on fume hoods.
The expected importance of this application is that, in addition to directly helping to solve the FH problems in laboratories, it also has an educational effect of raising interest in the device and to cultivate the user’s active attitude for its proper use. This application is also expected to contribute to the internationalization of the university by offering a multilingual interface that is currently being developed.
There are several potential hazards associated with the use of cryogenic liquids, including explosions due to sudden increases in volume upon evaporation, asphyxiation from decreases in local oxygen concentrations and tissue damage resulting from skin contact.
In particular, the leakage of liquid nitrogen in an enclosed space can cause a rapid drop in oxygen concentration and can possibly lead to asphyxiation. The present study used a specially-designed sealed booth to monitor the oxygen concentration at a number of locations following a liquid nitrogen spill at floor level or the introduction of liquid nitrogen from a feed line inside the booth. The oxygen concentration following these incidents was found to vary with the amount of nitrogen spilled and the height above the floor of the feed line. In additional trials involving the introduction of nitrogen gas using a pipe line inserted into the booth, the oxygen concentration was uniform regardless of the height from the floor. The distribution of oxygen concentrations as liquid nitrogen evaporated in the booth was attributed to the high density of the resulting low temperature nitrogen gas. These results show the difference between liquid nitrogen and nitrogen gas leaks and provide helpful safety guidelines.
Gene drive is a powerful system that can spread a desirable genetic trait into an entire species and/or population of a certain region,bypassing Mendelian rules of inheritance. Recently, one of the genome editing technologies, CRISPR/Cas, has been developed, making it easier to use gene drive in many different organisms. However, gene drive has potential risks that impact genetic diversity when organisms produced by CRISPR/Cas-based Gene Drive Technology (CCGDT) are accidentally released; therefore, a high degree of prudence is required when CCGDT is used.
In Japan, a Working Group on Gene Drive has been established in the Academic Association for Promotion of Genetic Studies (AAPGS), and a Statement on the Handling of Gene Drive was issued to the public including research institute across Japan, after comprehensive and extensive discussions by the working group in order to reduce risks posed by CCGDT. A national-wide survey on CCGDT was implemented. The survey revealed that those in managerial positions including members and secretariats of institutional review boards on recombinant DNA, and biosafety officers are conscious of CCGDT, and efforts to grasp experimental plans involving CCGDT are made by utilizing an application form for recombinant DNA experiment. In contrast, potential risks of CCGDT are not understood by many researchers. All stakeholders need to disseminate potential risks and preventive measures regarding CCGDT to all researchers who may wish to use this technology. Researchers should use CCGDT upon understanding its potential risks and taking necessary measures. This report refers to how safety measures for CRISPR/Cas-based gene drive technology which has potential risks to ecological system has been discussed and results of national-wide questionnaire survey on gene drive in Japan based on the poster presentation at the Asian Conference on Safety & Education in Laboratory 2018.
It is unsafe to immediately return to an evacuated science or engineering building that stores and handles chemicals after a major earthquake. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted targeting students at a national university in Japan to explore chemical hazard perception and post-evacuation behavior of non-chemistry background students following a major earthquake. The survey incorporated 11 situational questions, and the participants rated the extent to which they were likely to return to their building after a major earthquake in each situation. The results indicated that the students were likely to return if they had evacuated without their personal belongings, and majority of the students did not recognize the risks associated with chemical hazards.
Expansion of global research activities has become a critical task for Japanese universities; however, it associates with a challenge of ensuring that non-Japanese researchers comply with regulatory and safety requirements, such as the chemical management. A questionnaire survey was conducted to grasp an understanding and impression of members at an international university regarding chemical management including Japanese regulations and an electronic system. Majority of the respondents are not satisfied with regulatory information provided by the Japanese government for non-Japanese speakers. Those who have experienced in countries other than Japan show some understandings of the Poisonous and Deleterious Substances Control Act. In contrast, the results of survey show the low levels of understanding of other regulations. It reveals that non-Japanese researchers are not familiar with recording the usage of chemicals and taking the periodical medical examination for those who handle harmful chemicals. The results of survey also suggest that the electronic system available in English and Japanese is a useful tool for non-Japanese researchers to manage chemicals in compliance with Japanese regulations. Overall, we present initiatives to improve the chemical management in compliance with the regulations for non-Japanese researchers, which would promote internationalization of universities and global research collaborations in Japan.