Journal article

Safety Management of Nanomaterials

In this work, we present a practical and engineering risk management procedure for a university-wide safety and health management of nanomaterials, developed as a multi-stakeholder effort (government, accident insurance, researchers and experts for occupational safety and health). It provides the identification and evaluation of potential hazards and establishes effective control mechanisms to ensure protection of the employee and the environment. The process, similar to control banding approach, starts using a schematic decision tree that allows classifying the nano laboratory into three hazard classes (from Nano 3 - highest hazard to Nano1 - lowest hazard). The first differentiation in the decision tree for hazard class determination regards the environment, whether the process is carried out in a closed (complete process confinement) or open system. In case the process is not fully enclosed (glove box or completely sealed environment), different types of activities with nanomaterials are discussed (activity with nanofibers, powders, suspensions and activity with nanoobjects in solid matrix). For each determined hazard level we then propose a list of required risk mitigation measures (technical, organizational, personal, reception and storage, shipping and handling, medical survey and cleaning facilities). The target ‘users’ of this safety and health methodology are researchers and safety officers in the first place. They can rapidly access the precautionary hazard class of their activities and the corresponding adequate protective and preventive measures.


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