10 April 2014: Safety Day at CERN

A wide variety of chemicals is used every day in the different laboratories and workshops around CERN. Potentially toxic, corrosive, polluting or hazardous in other ways, these chemicals all have to be handled carefully, as we will be reminded by the Safety Day campaign to be held by the HSE Unit on 10 April to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work.


The use of chemicals at CERN is regulated by "Safety Regulation SR-C, Chemical Agents", which defines the minimum health and safety protection requirements for people exposed to the potentially hazardous effects of dangerous chemicals. This regulation is complemented by other Safety guides. Regretfully, despite strict procedures and regular inspections, accidents caused by the improper use of chemicals do occur every year. "Unfortunately, each year we see a small number of accidents related to the handling of chemicals," confirms chemicals expert Jonathan Gulley, who is a member of the Prevention and Safety Engineering Expertise Section (DGS-SEE-XP), which is part of the HSE Unit. 

Chemicals are an eminently suitable subject for an awareness campaign, especially since this year the International Labour Office has chosen safety and health in the use of chemicals at work as the main theme of World Day for Safety and Health at Work. To mark the occasion, on 10 April the HSE Unit will be setting up stands at the entrances to the three restaurants. "We've come up with various activities to inform visitors in a fun, accessible way," explains Fanny Toutou-Mpondo, the communication manager for this event. "We'll be setting up three stands at the restaurant entrances. Each stand will have a different theme and objective: encouraging visitors to ensure they have accurate information about the different types of chemicals; taking the necessary precautions and using the right equipment when using potentially dangerous chemicals; and being aware that a chemical can be a pollutant and so must be disposed of according to an established procedure." In addition to the three stands, the CERN Fire and Rescue Service will also be giving demonstrations of techniques for rescuing people involved in an accident involving the use of chemicals, and the Safety Training and Awareness team will be presenting their Chemical Hazards Awareness training and the various Safety training courses available.

So, on 10 April look out for the stands at the entrances to Restaurants 1, 2 and 3 between 11.30 a.m. and 1.45 p.m., where you can find out more and even win prizes!

by Antonella Del Rosso