The purpose of this manual is to make all users of IISc facilities aware of safety and emergency protocols (do and don’t) that must be followed. The aim is to give you general safety guide lines. While it does cover a wide variety of hazards — chemical, electrical, biological, etc. – the document does not (cannot) cover all possible hazards. Please use your discretion and more importantly common sense. Remember that the ultimate responsibility of conducting a safe experiment resides with the experimenter himself/herself. Consistent violation of safety protocols or willful neglect of safety would result in strict penalties that include probations, fines, and in extreme cases disciplinary action from IISc.
The Centre works with several hazardous materials and equipment. The institute and government allow us to operate with considerable autonomy, trusting us to maintain highest levels of safety. We need to sustain this trust by maintaining a safe working environment. Furthermore, safety is an important part of any training in nanoelectronics. Potential job givers, be it industry or academia, expect a certain awareness about safety. This is especially true for leadership positions where project managers are responsible for the safety of their whole group.
The four essential principles of safety are:
- Follow Rules
- Collective Responsibility
- Trust structures more than people
- Respond to Emergencies
They are discussed below:
Safety may mean different things to different people, sometime because of ignorance and sometime because of lack of sufficient forethought. To prevent confusion, this manual clearly defines standards for safe work practices. These rules need to be followed by everyone in IISc, both in letter and spirit, even if they sometime appear burdensome and/or pointless (trust us there is a reason for everything). Remember practicing safety means doing things the right way, not the quick way.
Concern for safety must also include others. All hazards should be clearly labeled in a manner that it easily understood by others, e.g. use warning notes/labels extensively. One should act responsibly in the event of an accident, e.g. pull the alarm to warn others. Finally, unsafe behavior should be confronted everywhere, e.g. remind your friend to wear safety glasses. IISc is an open-access laboratory and Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility.
Trust structures more than people
No matter how careful they are, people often make mistakes. An effective safety policy does not rely on people but relies on systems to reduce the probability of accidents. Prior to beginning any project or process, it is essential to think about all that potential hazards – all the things that can possibly go wrong. Focus should be on reducing the probability of all the hazards by intelligently designed safety precautions. Try to seek solutions that are inherently faulty tolerant, i.e. “idiot-proof”. “I will be careful with chemicals” is a not an “idiot-proof” safety precaution, chemical-resistant gloves are.
Safety precautions also include learning how to store, handle and dispose all hazardous materials. Experiments should only be conducted in designated area with proper ventilation wearing appropriate safety accessories. Equipment should be well maintained with periodic scheduled inspections.
Respond to Emergencies
Everyone must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively in an emergency. Become familiar with the work area, available exits, and safety equipment such as eyewash stations, fire extinguishers, sinks, spill kits, and first aid boxes. Just a few moments spent in training could save a life during emergency.