Efficient management of nanomaterial hazards in a large number of research laboratories in an academic environment

As the number of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) used in research increases with an incredible speed, health and safety specialists are continuously faced with the challenge of evaluating the risks involved with these materials. Nowadays there is not enough information about their toxicology and new materials are continuously being developed. Preliminary scientific results indicate that ENM might have a damaging impact on human health, which makes it even more important to have the right mitigation measures in place. To address this challenge a methodology of iterative nature has been developed, and this paper demonstrates how the iterative cycle is applied in practice and the added value this adds to the university in terms of economic value, protection of researcher health and identifying knowledge-gaps. The methodology is adaptive and learning based, and it takes into account both the hazard level of the ENM and the exposure. The usefulness and completeness of the methodology is demonstrated with an extensive classification of the activities involving ENM at the EPFL research campus. This classification allowed for a complete hazard portfolio and a simplified risk mapping, which facilitates resource allocation decision-making.

Published in:
Safety Science, 121, 158-164
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 Record created 2019-10-07, last modified 2020-10-25

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