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No work can commence before a suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment has been carried out.

risk-cycle.jfifBefore any work commences or any compounds are brought into the NDMRB, the end user must:

  1. Identify any hazard present in a procedure, and who is at risk
  2. Ensure that appropriate control measures are in place to control the risk,
  3. Inform, Instruct and Train users appropriately, keeping training records up-to-date,
  4. Record findings through the means of a risk assessment,
  5. Monitor and review periodically.

Advice can be sought (and in some cases must be sought) from the Laboratory Manager and the buildings and facilities manager.

Using the risk matrix below, an overall risk rating will be given to a procedure, depending on the consequences of the hazard and the likelihood of the risk:


Risk assessment is a requirement of the Management of Health and Safety At Work Regulations, 1999. It is a formal, systematic process to evaluate the risks associated with work activities and a means by which appropriate measures are established and implemented to minimise the risk. Risk assessment is a valuable tool in planning and organising work and establishing procedures. Further information about risk assessment is documented in University Policy Statement S5/08.

Supervisors must ensure that ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments are undertaken and recorded for all activities with significant risk, that any measures decided upon in the assessment are discussed fully with those involved in the work and that all control measures are properly implemented.

Risk assessments must be reviewed regularly. The supervisor must ensure that any significant changes in the work are recorded in the assessment and determine whether existing controls are still valid or whether other measures need to be introduced to reduce the risk. Supervisors must keep abreast of any new techniques that are inherently less ‘risky’, or technological advances which reduce the risk or improve control, and be aware of any emerging data on adverse health effects of the materials used or the work that is done.

Risk assessments, procedures, and/or local rules should also be reviewed in the event of an accident or near miss. The circumstances surrounding the event should be investigated and the supervisor should consider whether any revisions to the assessment or local rules are required and communicate any changes to those doing the work.

Research supervisors should be aware of and advise students of the correct safety procedures pertaining to their research and, if in doubt, should seek advice from their Departmental Safety Officer, Area Safety Officer, or the Safety Office, where necessary.

In particular, research supervisors must ensure that the appropriate classification of work has been carried out and communicated to those under their supervision, especially to define:

(a)  when work may not be undertaken without the supervisor being present

(b)  when work may not be started without the supervisor’s advice

(c)  any low risk activities considered acceptable out of hours

(d)  when medium and high risk experimental work may not take place outside of working hours.

Out of hours working in research laboratories must be with the express agreement of the Head of Department, and supervisors should report annually to the head of department that suitable safety arrangements are in place for individuals under their day-to-day control.

All supervisors must satisfy themselves that the emergency arrangements for out of hours or lone working are appropriate and that those under their supervision are fully aware of the systems in place for such work to be conducted. Other supervisor's responsibilities can be found in University Policy UPS S1/09

NDMRB Current Risk Assessments

NDMRB-RA template 

Oxford University policy and guidelines are available from the Safety Office website. Users should consult their supervisor and Laboratory Manager for advice.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of RAs available throughout the NDMRB.

NDMRB-RA-001 Use of waterbaths

NDMRB-RA-002 Protein Expression in Bacteria

NDMRB-RA-003 Protein Isolation from Inclusion Bodies

NDMRB-RA-004 Protein Folding In Vitro

NDMRB-RA-005 TCR refold

NDMRB-RA-006 Pap Stain

NDMRB-RA-007 Lone working in the NDMRB

NDMRB-RA-008 Lone working in the NDMRB CL3 suites

NDMRB-RA-009 Lone working in the NDMRB Radiation suite

  • University safety policy for Risk assessment UPS S5/08

NDMRB-RA-010 Use of Coulter Counter

NDMRB-RA-011 Manual Count of Cells

NDMRB-RA-012 Freezing Cells

NDMRB-RA-013 HIV virus stock growth

NDMRB-RA-014 Use of HIV p24 Kit

NDMRB-RA-015 IFNa Induction

NDMRB-RA-016 Use of the Luminex

NDMRB-RA-017 Magnetic Depletion

NDMRB-RA-018 Use of -80C freezers

NDMRB-RA-019 Blood taking in the phlebotomy room

NDMRB-RA-020 Use of dry shippers

NDMRB-RA-021 Transport of research samples within facilities

NDMRB-RA-022 Repair or maintenance of laboratory equipment

NDMRB-RA-023 Use of Ethidium bromide and Crystal Violet 

NDMRB-RA-024 Short term Culture of PBMC

NDMRB-RA-025 PBMC Stimulation

NDMRB-RA-026 Use AEC and DMF in ELISPOT assays

NDMRB-RA-027 Use of CL3 autoclaves

NDMRB-RA-028 Use and maintenance of vacuum pump 

NDMRB-RA-029 PureYield Plasmid Midi Prep

NDMRB-RA-030 Use of Virkon as a disinfectant

NDMRB-RA-031 Working in the FACS facility

NDMRB-RA-032 Young people at work 

NDMRB-RA-033 Use of latex gloves

NDMRB-RA-034 Laboratory Allergens (contact building's Lab Manager for Occupation Health referral)

NDMRB-RA-035 Media and Non University filming and photography

NDMRB-RA-036 Working with Phenols

NDMRB-RA-037 Working with Cyanides

NDMRB-RA-038 Working oversea travel risk assessment proforma (contact building's Lab Manager)

NDMRB-RA-039 May-Grunwald Giemsa Staining

NDMRB-RA-040 Lab Tours

NDMRB-RA-041 Re-sheathing of needles

NDMRB-RA-042 HAP1 cells for RNA Extraction

NDMRB-RA-043 RT-PCR and Real Time PCR

NDMRB-RA-044 Working in the NDMRB

NDMRB-RA-045 Working in the Freezer room

NDMRB-RA-046 New and Expectant Mothers (Individual risk assessment)

NDMRB-RA-047 NDMRB loading bay for non facility staff 

NDMRB-RA-048 Manual Handling

NDMRB-RA-049 Collection and handling of laboratory equipment from an off site location

NDMRB-RA-050 Use of microwave ovens

NDMRB-RA-051 CF-infused media **COMING SOON**

NDMRB-RA-052 Media or non-University filming and photography in non-lab areas

NDMRB-RA-053 Lab based talks, demos and tours

NDMRB-RA-054 Working with and using UV light

NDMRB-RA-055 Ammonia Gas

NDMRB-RA-056 Xylene

NDMRB-RA-057 Campylobacter Jejuni ***COMING SOON***

NDMRB-RA-058 Anthranilic Acid

NDMRB-RA-059 Working with Azides

NDMRB-RA-060 Use of the Microtome

NDMRB-RA-061 Use of pressure cookers in conjunction with hot plates

NDMRB-RA-062 Preparation of slides for immunohistochemistry (IHC)

NDMRB-RA-063 Hypoxia Cabinets

NDMRB-RA-064 Routine annual fill of NMR of liquid helium

NDMRB-RA-065 Safe Movement and Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders

  • University safety policy UPS S6/09 Gas Safety
  • University safety policy UPS S5/03 Safety with gas cylinders
  • University safety policy UPS S7/00 Pressure Systems and Gas Cylinders

NDMRB-RA-066 Handling and Use of Chemicals 

  • TDI-GI-003 New hazard symbols vs. old hazard symbols
  • Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of substances Regulation: New symbols vs. old symbols

NDMRB-RA-067 Safe Use of Laboratory Centrifuges

NDMRB-RA-068 Use of Cold Rooms

NDMRB-RA-069 Handling, Storage and Use of Liquid Nitrogen

  • University safety policy UPS S4/03 Liquid Nitrogen

NDMRB-RA-070 New and Expectant Mothers at Work

  •  NDMRB-RA-046 New and Expectant Mothers (Individual risk assessment)

NDMRB-RA-071 Working with open flames

NDMRB-RA-072 Using Incubators within the TDI

NDMRB-RA-073 Working at height

  • University safety policy for working at height USP S3/11

NDMRB-RA-074 Use of Sonicators

NDMRB-RA-075 Manual Handling of rotors for the Floor Standing Centrifuge

NDMRB-RA-076 RSI from pipetting


  • NMR Room - Permit to work (to be completed by contractors prior to any works)

NDMRB-RA-078 Working in the chemistry lab

NDMRB-RA-079 Mass Spec room

  • Mass Spec Room - permit to work (to be completed by contractors prior to any works)

NDMRB-RA-080 Gel electrophoresis

  • University safety policy Electrophoresis apparatus UPS S11/07

NDMRB-RA-081 Dry Ice

NDMRB-RA-082 Lentiviral Particles

NDMRB-RA-083 Confocal Microscope

  • University safety policy UPS S2/09 Laser safety

NDMRB-RA-084 Lab heating equipment

NDMRB-RA-085 Reduced Pressure or Vacuum

NDMRB-RA-086 Heated Reactions

NDMRB-RA-087 Mammalian tissue culture

NDMRB-RA-088 Bacterial culture

University Safety Policy UPS S5/09 Biorisk Management (applicable to NDMRB-RA-087 & NDMRB-RA-088)

NDMRB-RA-089 HPLC equipment

NDMRB-RA-090 Use of Vacuum

NDMRB-RA-091 Column Chromatography

NDMRB-RA-092 Hydrogen Gas

NDMRB-RA-093 Liquid Handling Robotics

NDMRB-RA-094 Microstar HUB

NDMRB-RA-095 Mercaptoethanol

NDMRB-RA-096 Lambda Phosphatase with Mn2


NDMRB-RA-098 Formaldehyde

NDMRB-RA-099 Air Compressors

  • University safety policy Pressure systems and gas cylinders UPS S7/00

NDMRB-RA-100 Returning to work RA form

NDMRB-RA-101 Oxygen

NDMRB-RA-102 Peptide synthesis

NDMRB-RA-103 Blood and bodily fluids

NDMRB-RA-104 Overnight Experiments

  • University safety policy UPS S4/01 Unattended operation of apparatus and equippment
  • TDI CL2 lab unattended experiment form
  • TDI Med Chem unattended experiment form

NDMRB-RA-105 MiVac

NDMRB-RA-106 Western Blotting

NDMRB-RA-107 Prepacked clean up columns

NDMRB-RA-108 Silver Staining

NDMRB-RA-109 Methanol vs. Chloroform extraction for proteins

NDMRB-RA-110 Cyanogen Bromide Solution

NDMRB-RA-111 Radiation Swabs

NDMRB-RA-112 Reverse Transcriptase Colorimetric Assay

NDMRB-RA-113 Transfection of 293T Cells

NDMRB-RA-114 Transformation of B-cells



NDMRB-RA-117 Dissecting human tissue

NDMRB-RA-118 Equipment - Recharging Batteries

NDMRB-RA-119 Cholera Toxin

NDMRB-RA-120 Human Tissue Act (HTA) in the NDMRB

NDMRB-RA-121 Working with HF sources

NDMRB-RA-122 Use of amine-borane complex ***COMING SOON***

NDMRB-RA-125 Use of BrdU powder

NDMRB-RA-126 Use of Tamoxifen

NDMRB-RA-127 Oil Red O Staining