Download PDF
June 8, 2016

UK Nanosafety Group Publishes Updated Guidance to Support Safe Working with Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

In May 2016, the UK Nanosafety Group (UKNSG) published a second edition of its guidance document, Working Safely with Nanomaterials in Research & Development.  The second edition of the guidance provides updates to account for changes in legislation, recent studies in the literature, and best practice since 2012.  In particular, according to the guidance, specific sections have been revised to account for the full implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which came into force on June 1, 2015, through the Classification, Labeling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation.  The document explains the approaches that are presently being used to select effective control measures for the management of nanomaterials, more specifically control banding tools presently in use.  Significant changes were made in the sections “Hazard Banding,” “Exposure Control,” “Toxicology,” and “Monitoring.”  The document draws attention to the possible health hazards that could result from exposure to particulate nanomaterials and provides advice on the precautions that may be needed to prevent or control adequately exposure as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 (as amended).  The aim of the document is to offer guidance on factors relating to establishing a safe workplace and good safety practice when working with particulate nanomaterials, which are defined as “nanomaterials that consist of nano-objects such as nanoparticles, nanofibres, nanotubes, nanowires, as well as aggregates and agglomerates of these materials either in their original form or incorporated in materials or preparations, from which they could be released.”  The guidance is aimed at employers, managers, health and safety advisors, and users of particulate nanomaterials in research and development.    The document advocates a precautionary strategy to minimize potential exposure.