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Accident Incident Investigation

Reporting an accident can help save lives, reduce the extent of property damage and eliminate/stabilize residual hazards at the scene if there is immediate and proper attention.  Information collected from subsequent investigation is useful to risk assessments and to develop control measures for accident/incident prevention.  Besides, it is a legal requirement to report workplace injuries to the Labour Department (LD) as stipulated under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, Cap. 282.


Biological Safety

Biological agents generally refer to living organisms or their products capable of causing ill health effects to humans. The handling of animals, microorganisms, DNAs, and clinical specimens, etc. in the laboratories are sources of exposure to biological agents.  In this regard, laboratory personnel should follow relevant guidelines and safety precautions when handling biological agents. In PolyU, personnel must have attended training in biological safety (either via online or classroom training) and passed an online test before they are allowed to work with biological agents.  They should exercise relevant biological safety measures and precautions based on the biohazardous natures of the biological agents to be handled.  These include good microbiological techniques, the use of biosafety equipment and personal protective equipment, as well as proper disposal of biological or clinical waste.  For research projects involving use of biological agents, the Principal Investigators shall obtain Biological Safety Approval from the Research Safety Sub-committee before commencement of research works. Research personnel should also observe certain biological safety related legislations related to the import of biological agents, the handling of genetically modified organisms in open areas, and the disposal of clinical waste.


Campus Event Safety

Various events are held on the university campus by different units every day, ranging from small-scale events, like setting up some exhibition booths with the display of promotional banners to large-scale events, such as the Education InfoDay which may attract a large number of participants including our staff and students and members of the public. It is the responsibility of the event organizers, event contractors, Campus Facilities and Sustainability Office (CFSO) and Health and Safety Office (HSO) to ensure the risks throughout the whole course of the event from setting up, operations to clearance are properly managed and mitigated.


Chemical Safety

Safe handling of chemicals is crucial to the protection of our staff and students in the course of their research works and classes. Use of hazardous chemicals can pose a wide range of health and safety hazards to people exposed to them if they are not properly managed. HSO is responsible for ensuring: a safe environment is provided safe equipment and method are used suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is used an up-to-date chemical inventory is maintained chemical waste is properly handled essential chemical hazard information is provided proper training is provided to staff and students


Construction Safety

Construction safety is a major concern in Hong Kong. According to the accident statistics of the Labour Department, construction is the industry that has the highest number of fatalities and is the top two industries that has the most accidents in recent years. An effective construction safety management system and full compliance with the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Chapter 95) and its subsidiary regulations can help prevent accidents and improve the construction safety performance. At PolyU, there are construction safety policy and management system in place to safeguard the health and safety of its staff, students, visitors and the public. Campus Development Office (CDO) and Campus Facilities and Sustainability Office(CFSO) are responsible for managing the safety of their contractors performing builder works, repair, maintenance, and addition and alternation works of buildings at the university. Health and Safety Office (HSO) is responsible for monitoring of safety performance of their contractors and providing safety advices. In the coming years, we will have many large-scale construction projects like Homantin Campus, new residential halls of students in Kowloon Tong, library extension & revitalization, provision of an additional floor in Block P. Therefore, an effective risk management is crucial to prevent accidents and incidents due to construction works.


Emergency Preparedness

Emergency, in general, means an immediate threat to life and/or property that requires immediate attention. It may affect anyone at any time and at any place. Each individual must learn the appropriate response protocol for a variety of the emergency events. It would help saving lives and minimizing damages in the event of emergencies. Emergencies on campus may include: Crimes Electric shock Fall or collapse of building structures Fire Flooding Leakage of town gas Lift failure Medical emergencies Spillage of hazardous substances The above list is not exhaustive and individual department should have their own plan for responding possible emergencies arising from their activities. HSO can provide assistance in developing these plans. Reporting Emergencies In the event of an emergency, please first make sure you move to a safe place nearby the incident scene and stay out of danger. Then, report the emergency to the Campus Control Centre promptly either by a phone, an emergency phone or in person to the 24-hour manned Campus Control Centre located at P111. 2766 7999 (emergency line) or 2766 7666 (24 hours) In case of life-threatening emergencies, please call 999 directly to seek help from the local government. Then, notify the Campus Control Centre.


Environmental Hygiene

Environmental Hygiene refers to practical control measures to improve the basic environmental conditions affecting the quality of the human health. HSO team provide expertise and assistance in the following areas:   Pest Control: While the effectiveness of pest (e.g. rats and mosquitoes) control programmes remains the responsibility of CFSO’s pest control contractor, HSO renders advice to CFSO and PolyU departments on the health and safety impacts associated with pest control measures and related matters including: Coordinate and liaise with Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) on pest control, training and environment issues MSDS review of pesticide products Safety advices on pesticide applications on campus   Drinking Water: On a regular basis, HSO arranges testing of the water samples collected from drinking fountains and water dispensers on campus through an accredited laboratory. The test results are compared with the standards prescribed in the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Drinking Water Guidelines. In addition, HSO advises departmental users on replacement and cleaning of water filters and water dispensers as well as working closely with the users to address the drinking water quality issues. IAQ pre-occupation assessment (Capital and A&A Project): HSO conducts Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) pre-occupation assessments for newly renovated offices, classrooms, lecture theaters and meeting rooms to ensure the IAQ parameters are within the acceptable criteria before handing over to the user departments.


Fire Safety

Fire safety is crucial as it can protect lives of people and prevent damage to property. In Hong Kong, the Fire Services Ordinance (Chapter 95), Dangerous Goods Ordinance (Chapter 295) and Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance (Chapter 572) and their subsidiary regulations and Part III of the Occupational Safety & Health Regulation are the major fire safety requirements for building owners, occupants and employers. A building with good fire safety has Fire services installations including automatic sprinkler system, fire hydrant and hose reel system, manual fire alarm system; Fire safety construction including fire resisting construction and means of escape; and A fire safety management plan including inspection and maintenance of fire service installations, fire safety training and information to occupants and fire emergency teams, housekeeping plans and fire action plans.   At PolyU, a fire safety policy and a fire safety management system are in place to ensure the fire safety of its buildings, construction sites, staff, students and visitors.   The Campus Development Office (CDO) is responsible for the design and installation of fire service installations in campus buildings. The Campus Facilities and Sustainability Office (CFSO) is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the installations and fire drills. The Health and Safety Office (HSO) takes the roles of monitoring and advising on fire safety issues and provides fire safety awareness training to staff and students.   To test the University’s fire action plans and fire response of people, CFSO and HSO will organize internal fire drills and joint fire drills with Hong Kong Fire Services Department respectively in various campus buildings on a regular basis. Recently, PolyU has implemented a Fire Warden Arrangement aiming at achieving a fast and complete evacuation of occupants from a building in case of a real fire.


Food Safety

All food prepared, served, sold, or given away at PolyU catering outlets or for PolyU events must meet or exceed all applicable food safety and hygiene standards and requirements including Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132) and the Food Safety Ordinance (Cap. 612). HSO serves the following roles in relation to food safety: Advise on food safety & hygiene related issues for Catering Committee & caterers Advise on food safety & hygiene related issues for PolyU campus events or enquiries from departments Conduct Periodic and unannounced safety inspections for PolyU Catering Outlets Advise and provide recommendation on the Food Hygiene Auditing and Monitoring Programme Investigate on suspected food poisoning case Promote and share the best practices of food safety & hygiene to PolyU Caterers


General Workplace Safety

The University is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its staff, students and visitors. Besides, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Ordinance, Cap. 509, the employer must, as far as reasonably practicable, ensure the safety and health of all its employees when they are at work. As such, the University has established various health and safety management programs. Some examples are given below.


Laboratory Safety

Each laboratory environment is unique and poses various sets of hazards, which may include biological, chemical, fire, physical, radiological hazards and others. The University has established Laboratory Safety Management Policies and framework as well as a series of manuals, guidelines, and code of practices. All laboratory personnel (e.g. principal investigators, laboratory in-charges, research personnel) should take steps to learn these requirements and ensure proper implementation in their working areas. Laboratory Design Each laboratory is so designed and constructed with proper safety facilities and equipment to meet the users’ requirements identified in the design stage. In other words, the existing safety provisions (e.g. fixed fire services installations (FSIs), ventilation systems, fume cupboards, emergency systems, etc.) of individual laboratory may limit the nature, types or scales of laboratory works to be done in that laboratory. Therefore, if a laboratory user plans to introduce new equipment or new research activity to their laboratory, they must carefully assess the potential risks from the change, and evaluate if the existing safety provisions are adequate and proper. The existing layout of the laboratory, the access way and the surrounding environment alike may also pose concerns to the safe delivery, installation and/or maintenance of the new equipment and/or associated parts or materials to be used. Users are advised to consult HSO, if necessary. On the other hand, under the current Space Allocation Policy, department shall inform Campus Development & Space Allocation Committee (CDSAC) if they plan to change the purpose of use of any room (including laboratory) allocated to them. CDSAC will coordinate with CDO, CFSO and HSO for follow up. General Laboratory Safe Practices Always assess risks from your laboratory activities and implement proper safety measures before commencing them Check and ensure the current safety provisions and emergency equipment of your laboratory can allow safe conduct of your laboratory works and they are working properly Establish Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) Ensure all laboratory personnel to have proper safety training and registered with HSO All laboratory users (except an undergraduate who is working under the direct supervision by a competent laboratory supervisor) of PolyU must have completed proper laboratory safety training (classroom or online), passed an online test and registered with HSO before they are allowed to work in a laboratory which may involve the use of chemicals, biological agents, ionizing radiation sources (e.g. x-ray, radioactive substances) or non-ionizing radiation sources (e.g. laser at class 3b or above, UV, radiofrequencies, etc.) Conduct regular self-inspection Conduct regular housekeeping check In particular, hazardous substances must be properly stored in accordance with their compatibilities and keep the storage quantities to a minimum. Unwanted chemicals should be disposed of properly.   Our Scope of Services To conduct both regular (announced) inspection and irregular (unannounced) inspection To provide advices on the laboratory safety design To provide advices on safe use, storage and disposal of hazardous substances To provide advices relating the use and maintenance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and to arrange term contract for procurement of common PPE with local suppliers to facilitate purchase of PPE by user departments To provide health and safety training for laboratory users To maintain an up-to-date chemical inventory To provide essential chemical hazard information To arrange licenced contractors for disposal of chemical wastes


Laser Safety

Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), a kind of non-ionizing radiation, is widely used in laboratories for research and teaching purposes in the University. Laser differs with other sources of light by their monochromaticity, coherence and low divergence. These special characteristics allow laser to be focused to a very small spot, and achieving a very high irradiance. Exposure to high-power laser beam, even in a very short duration may cause very serious and irreversible damage to our eyes or skins, with eyes more susceptible to the damage by laser beam. This is because laser beam at wavelength between 400 to 1,400 nm (known as retinal hazard region) after entering human eye will be focused by human lens to a very small spot on the retina, and thus greatly amplifying the intensity of the laser beam by 100,000 times. On the other hand, there are many other hazards (known as non-beam hazards) which are associated with the use of laser equipment but not directly related to the exposure to the laser beam. These hazards include fire, hazardous vapor/mists from the targeting materials, toxic gases from the lasing medium, electric shock, cryogens, etc. These hazards may be even more hazardous than beam hazards as they represent most reported deaths. Control of High-power Lasers To ensure safe use of high-power laser equipment (i.e. class 3b or above), the University requires the Principal Investigator or Laboratory in-charge to ensure: All high-power laser equipment are registered with HSO Users of high-power laser equipment have completed proper laser safety training and registered with HSO Establish of Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) Proper safety measures (e.g. enclosures of laser beam, safety interlocks, laser safety goggles, etc.) must be established and in place For research projects which involve the use of high-power laser source, the Principal Investigator shall obtain Research Safety Approval from the Research Safety Sub‑committee


Occupational Hygiene

HSO team aims to identify and evaluate potential occupational hygiene issues arising in PolyU that may cause illness, injury or discomfort among staff, students and visitors. The goal is to reduce the risk of hazardous exposures, ensure regulatory compliance, and improve user’s satisfaction as a result of proper area layouts, ventilation design and work practices. HSO team provides expertise and assistance in the following areas: Air quality assessment/investigation Occupational exposure Noise exposure Heat exposure Light assessment Respiratory protection Ergonomics Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment Manual Handling


Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

An influenza pandemic is a global spread of disease caused by a novel influenza against which the human population has low or no immunity. This spread of disease will have potentially devastating health, economic, and social impacts, particularly for developing countries, which suffer a higher disease burden and are more vulnerable. The University closely monitors the level of the SAR Government’s response to the pandemic influenza, along with other communicable diseases, and stays vigilant with public health measures. If the situation warrants, the University may set up a task force to monitor the development of pandemic, assess its impact on university activities, and coordinate efforts between internal and external parties. Health and Safety Office (HSO) will provide secretariat support to the Central Management Team when a task force is set up and coordinate in case management. Individual departments should review on regular basis its departmental plans to cope with crisis arising from communicable diseases, pandemic situations and stocks of personal protective equipment for operation, teaching and research activities. It is important to take note of the following: If feeling unwell, staff and students should refrain from returning to office and campus and seek medical attention immediately. Staff and students who have contracted or are suspected to have contracted communicable diseases, including notifiable infectious diseases, are encouraged to notify their respective Head of Unit who may contact University Health Services for further advices. Procedures to follow when dead wild birds are found on campus: Staff and students should avoid touching it or its droppings as it may carry the avian flu virus. They should notify Campus Control Centre (emergency line: 2766 7999). The Centre will cordon off the adjacent area to prevent other persons from coming into contact with the dead bird and will call the Government hotline 1823 to arrange for bird collection and Campus Facilities and Sustainability Office (CFSO) / Campus Facilities Management (CFM) staff will disinfect the adjacent area after removal of the bird.


Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is regarded only as the last resort to protect the safety and health of people when other means of protection like elimination of hazards, isolation of hazards and engineering control are not feasible or fully effective. Generally speaking, PPE covers the following protection: Eye protection Face protection Fall protection Foot protection Hand protection Head protection Hearing protection Respiratory system protection Skin protection There are regulations from the Labour Department to govern the use of PPE at work. At PolyU, a PPE Policy is in place to ensure PPE is properly selected, used and maintained. Departments and offices are responsible for assessing the need of PPE based on their workplace hazards, purchasing PPE, providing training to their staff, monitoring the use of PPE by their staff and maintaining PPE in good working conditions. In addition, the HSO provides technical specifications of PPE, advises on PPE related issues and arranges training periodically on the proper use of PPE including respirators and fall-arresting devices.

Prevention of Heat Stroke4x

Prevention of Heat Stroke

The hot and humid summer in Hong Kong poses an increased risk of heat stroke to people working in both indoor and outdoor areas in which air conditioning systems are lacking. In addition, people who are required to work near heat sources or heat-generating facilities are also at risk of heat stroke. Prevention of heat stroke is crucial to protecting our students and staff who are involved in hot environments.  To prevent people from getting heat stroke, risk assessment on heat stress shall be conducted and based on the assessment results, appropriate measures will be taken. Heat stress risk factors include environmental factors (e.g. ambient temperature, relative humidity, heat radiation and air flow), work factors (e.g. physical workload, duration, personal protective equipment and clothing) and personal factors. HSO aims to give health and safety advice on control measures to prevent heat stroke and advise on heat stress risk assessment issues that may affect PolyU students, staff and visitors. The goal is to reduce the risk of heat stroke.


Radiation Safety

Use of radioactive substances and x-ray equipment are common in the University for research and teaching purposes. Both of them are sources of ionizing radiation and may cause injury or long-term health effects if they are not properly controlled. Ionizing radiation may be in the form of electromagnetic wave or particle radiation, with energy high enough to remove an electron from an atom to create an electrically charged ion directly or indirectly in its passage through matter. Examples are alpha particles, beta particles, gamma ray, x-ray, etc. It may be emitted from naturally-occurring or man-made radioactive substances or artificially generated by irradiating apparatus (e.g. x-ray machine). In Hong Kong SAR, use of ionizing radiation sources is strictly regulated through the Radiation Ordinance, Cap 303 and its subsidiary regulations. A valid licence must be obtained from the Radiation Board, HKSAR for the import, export, possession or use of radioactive substances or irradiating apparatus. There are also specific requirements for the users of various radiation sources.


Research Safety

The University aims to provide a healthy and safe environment for the conduct of research activities, and ensure that such research activities do not impose an unacceptable risk to the personnel of the University. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigators (PIs) to ensure research activities under his/her name are conducted in compliance with relevant regulations, safety standards and the University Health and Safety Guidelines. PIs are required to implement all necessary research and laboratory safety requirements and ensure that all research team members are fully trained and able to demonstrate proficiency to safely perform the assigned research duties. Regardless of their funding sources, research projects that involve potential safety issues in chemical, biological and ionizing/non-ionizing radiation areas are required to obtain research safety approval from the PolyU Research Safety Sub-Committee before commencement of the research activities. The approval process would normally take about 4 weeks to complete. Please be aware that incomplete information will lead to delay in approval process. PIs and delegates can now submit research safety approval applications via Application for Research and Safety Approval (ARSA) system. PIs and delegates must first register via STRS in order to activate the ARSA account. The instructions for PI and Delegate registration can be found as follows:

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