Handling of materials LO To be able to understand the different procedures for handling different materials and able to explain why these procedures exist.
Materials • It is the nature of a material that will dictate the handling procedure • The procedure is needed to keep operators and anybody close by safe • The procedure is based on the risks with the material
Mercury • Key risk is that mercury is a heavy metal. Mercury vapour is hazardous • Disposal involves collected mercury spillages using a spillage kit. Simple kits involve a sponge like material to collect the mercury into a container. The container has an air-tight lid, which when in place will keep mercury vapours in. • Should be disposed off within local authority guidelines. As heavy metal there are special procedures. As a valuable material is recycled. Specialist firms will collect and even pay for large quantities; although will charge to remove small amounts.
Acids • Weak acids can generally be diluted with water and washed away, provided not into a surface water drain and not done on a commercial basis (ie regular effluent disposal) • Strong acids should be neutralised first using a weak base such as sodium carbonate powder before rinsing away. • Any acids classified as toxic may required special treatments in addition to above.
contamination • Key risk here is contamination of equipment. So if equipment has had contact with bacteria then the options are: • Incineration: A permanent process that kills all bacteria and destroys equipment. Eg Might be useful for used agar plates. • Sterilization: May include possible steam treatment or use of cleaning detergents with biocides Key outcome is that bacteria are removed and equipment can be used again.
Glass objects • Clearly risk of cuts and further breakage • Transport of these object needs careful packaging. • Packaging needs to be clearly labelled. • Glass can be recycled, provided it is clean and not contaminated.
Solvents • Are organic compounds and vapours can often be harmful to humans. • Often highly flammable. • To avoid these risks should be used away from sources of ignition. Users should use in ventilated area such as in a fume cabinet. Failing this a face mask equipped with a suitable filter to clean the air or clean air supply.
Radioactive Materials • Radioisotopes can cause cancer. • To prevent this isotopes are stored in a lead lined box when not in use • Sources should be handled with special long tweezers so that human tissue is a safer distance away • Sources should be pointed away from users and other personnel. • Must be disposed off using documented procedure via specialist companies/organisations