The road to zero: banning CMR substances!

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The road to zero

Tijdens WOTS 2018 was er een lezingenprogramma over “Veilig werken op het lab”. Bij uitstek een onderwerp voor de Lab Servant uiteraard. Diana Martens van Inspectie SZW gaf een toelichting op het beleid van de overheid om CMR-stoffen uit te bannen: the road to zero.
In haar slideshow kwam naar voren dat er alleen al 2700 sterfgevallen per jaar zijn door werkgerelateerde kanker. Dat is ruim 4 keer zoveel als het aantal verkeersdoden (2017: 613). Diana stelde “dat we dit niet normaal mogen gaan vinden”. Inspectie SZW zet dan ook vol in op vermindering van het gebruik van CMR-stoffen in de beroepspraktijk en wil daarin samenwerken met de branches. De eerste stap in die aanpak bestaat eruit om te inventariseren welke CMR-stoffen er “in huis” zijn, waarna in vervolgstappen de mogelijke blootstelling wordt beoordeeld en passende maatregelen worden genomen om blootstelling te verminderen.

In onze visie kan er nog een stap 0 aan vooraf gaan en dat is het voorkomen dat er CMR-stoffen worden besteld. De Lab Servant voorziet daarin door een check uit te voeren tijdens het orderproces. Daarbij worden CMR stoffen gesignaleerd op grond van H-zinnen en “signal lists”, zoals de CMR-lijst van het ministerie van SZW en de lijst met zeer zorgwekkende stoffen (ZZS lijst).

Diana Martens gaf tijdens haar lezing aan dat het STOP principe leidend is op dit moment: Substitutie, Technische maatregelen. Organisatorische maatregelen met Persoonlijke bescherming op de laatste plaats.
Het “uitbannen” van CMR-stoffen begint dus met Substitutie ofwel het vervangen door niet CMR-stoffen. Blootstelling aan gevaarlijke (CMR) stoffen staat voor 2018/’19 hoog op prioriteitenlijst van Inspectie SZW en het ministerie van SZW, maar ook bij andere departementen en in Europa. Dit betekent tevens dat bedrijven en instellinge gevraagd kan worden om verslag te doen van hun inspanningen om het gebruikvan en de de blootstelling aan CMR-stoffen te verminderen.
Lab Servant gebruikers kunnen die informatie snel en eenvoudig in een rapportage samenvatten met behulp van de Datamart tool.


The road to zero

During WOTS 2018 there was a lecture programme about “Working safely in the lab”.  An excellent subject for the Lab Servant of course. Diana Martens of the SZW Inspectorate explained the policy of the government to ban CMR substances: the road to zero.
Her slideshow showed that there are about 2700 deaths per year due to work-related cancer. That is more than 4 times as much as the number of road deaths (2017: 613). Diana stated that “we should not accept this as normal”. The SZW Inspectorate is therefore fully committed to reducing the use of CMR substances in professional practice and wants to collaborate with the branches. The first step in this approach is to identify which CMR substances are “in-house”, after which in subsequent steps the possible exposure is assessed and appropriate measures are taken to reduce exposure.

In our view, there is still a step 0 to go before and that is to prevent CMR substances from being ordered. The Lab Servant provides for this by carrying out a check during the order process in which CMR substances are identified on the basis of H-phrases and “signal lists”, such as the CMR list of the Ministry of SZW and the list of substances of very high concern (SVHC list).

Diana Martens indicated during her lecture that the STOP principle is leading at the moment: Substitution, Technical measures. Organizational measures with Personal protection in the last place.
The “banning” of CMR substances therefore starts with Substitution or replacement with non-CMR substances. Exposure to hazardous (CMR) substances stands in 2018 / ’19 high on the priority list of the SZW Inspectorate and the Ministry of SZW, but also of other departments and “Europe”. This also means that companies and institutions can be asked to report on their efforts to reduce the use of and exposure to CMR substances. Lab Servant users can summarise such information quickly and easily in a report with the aid of the Datamart tool.

How to keep your stock up to date in the lab?

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Een warehouse per lab?

Twee jaar geleden ontwikkelden we voor de Radboud universiteit de functionaliteit voor een centraal warehouse. Die omvat een catalogus van produkten die centraal worden ingekocht en vervolgens op afroep worden doorgeleverd naar de verschillende labs. De kosten ervan worden netjes doorbelast in het financiele systeem.

Inmiddels hebben we enkele varianten ontwikkeld waaronder een variant waarmee individuele labs hun lokale voorraad eenvoudig op peil kunnen houden. Dat werkt als volgt.

De voorraad verbruiksartikelen is opgeslagen in een stellingkast op het lab waar onderzoekers direct kunnen pakken wat ze nodig hebben voor een experiment. Dat kunnen PCR tubes zijn, handschoenen, erlenmeijers etc.

Enkele keren per week loopt de lab manager langs de stellingkast en scant de Lab Servant barcode van de artikelen die op dreigen te raken. Die barcode staat in een lokale “catalogus” tezamen met alle kenmerken van het artikel die nodig zijn voor een herbestelling (leverancier, artikelnummer, omschrijving, storage location etc.). Op basis daarvan wordt na het scannen automatische een herbestelling aangemaakt in de Lab Servant die alleen nog gecontroleerd hoeft te worden en daarna direct naar het Corporate Procurement Systeem (CPS) wordt doorgezet. Er komt dus behalve het scannen geen menselijke handeling aan te pas anders dan het drukken op een knop om de order te bevestigen. Dit bespaart tijd en de voorraad blijft op deze manier eenvoudig op orde.

Momenteel wordt dit uitgerold voor 13 labs bij TU Delft afdeling Bionano science.

Deze feature is ook beschikbaar voor andere Lab Servant gebruikers die er gebruik van willen gaan maken.


A warehouse per lab?

Two years ago we developed the functionality for a central warehouse for Radboud University. This comprises a catalogue of products that are centrally purchased and then delivered on demand to the various labs. The costs thereof are neatly charged in the financial system.

We have now developed a number of variants, including a variant with which individual labs can easily keep their local stock up to standard. That works as follows.

The stock of consumables is stored in a rack cabinet at the lab where researchers can immediately take what they need for an experiment. That can be PCR tubes, gloves, Erlenmeijers etc.

A few times a week the lab manager walks past the rack cabinet and scans the Lab Servant barcode of the items that are running out. This barcode is recorded in a local “catalogue” together with all the characteristics of the article that are required for a reorder (supplier, article number, description, storage location, financial code et cetera). On the basis of the scan, a reorder is automatically created in the Lab Servant, which only needs to be checked and then transferred directly to the Corporate Procurement System (CPS). So, apart from scanning, no human action is involved other than pressing a button to confirm the order. This saves time and the stock remains up to standard in this way.

Currently (Oct 2018) this is being rolled out for 13 labs at the TU Delft department of Bionano science.

This feature is also available for other Lab Servant users who want to make use of it.

Eindhoven U. of Technology joins Lab Servant for Ordering & Inventory

Eindhoven U. of Technology (TU/e) recently joined the Lab Servant for the Ordering & Inventory module.
After 15-20 years using another platform  TU/e decided to switch to the Lab Servant. One of the unique selling points of the Lab Servant is the integration of the Inventory with the ordering process. This enables the risk evaluation of chemicals before they’re actually ordered. Minimising the use of hazardous chemicals is requested by Dutch and EU regulations. By the early stage order check it’s easier to comply with these regulations. The check is supported by retrieving safety information of a chemical from Chemwatch. This process doesn’t require any human interaction because the CAS no. of a chemical is retrieved from a supplier’s webshop and directly sent to Chemwatch. The Chemwatch safety information of the chemical is shown within seconds in Lab Servant order form. The user can decide to carry on with the order or to look for alternatives that are less hazardous. If a hazardous chemical is indispensable a remark can be linked to the order to justify the purchase to internal and external auditors.

The Inventory itself helps the researchers to quickly find their chemicals, not only within their own department but also at other departments. This could save money if resources can be shared.

A warehouse function completes this Lab Servant module and and enables stock levels of chemicals to be maintained both locally and centrally.

LUMC joins Lab Servant for Biosafety and Lab inspections

The Leiden university hospital (LUMC) joins Lab Servant for Biosafety. The development of the Biosafety module will be boosted by this participation. The current functionality of the module covers the registration of hosts, vectors, inserts and viruses on one side and the registration of notifications, permits and users on the other side. The current Risk Evaluation for preparing GGOs will be largely automated thanks to the work of a nationwide workgroup that prepared an approach for Risk Evalutions based on “Groups of equal risk profile”. LUMC, in collaboration with the Amsterdam Free U. (VU), the VU medical centre (VUmc) and the the U. of Maastricht worked this out a step further by developing an algorithm with which cell lines, vectors and inserts can be allocated automatically to the aforementioned Groups. The Lab Servant team implemented already a great part of this approach and will finish it by the end of the year. The result will be that the Risk Evaluation of GGO experiments with cell lines can be done very efficient, saving researchers time and effort.

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Registration of mixtures added

Recently we added the functionality to also register mixtures in the Lab Servant.
Initially we were mainly focused on the registration of single substances (up to 20k at a university) but users asked us to add the possibility to register mixtures. We have combined this with the entering and storage of propietary safety information for a substance. This can be useful if Chemwatch doesn’t provide safety data for a substance. With more than 800.000 substances in the Chemwatch database that chance is small but not zero.

The self-added information is shown in the sheet of a substance or mixture in a separate tab “Propietary data”.

The possibility has also been added to print CLP compatible labels with GHS symbols in color.
This also ensures compliance with the requirement that all (own) mixtures in the lab or shop floor must be labeled with the applicable GHS symbols. The latter requirement came into force mid-2017.

GDPR implementation in Lab Servant

The GDP privacy regulation, also known in the Netherlands as AVG, is based on the minimisation of the number of systems in an institution where personal data is stored. On the other hand, there is the obligation to preserve the possible exposure of researchers to carcinogenic substances (or broader CMR agentia) for 40 years.

How did we reconcile these two contradictory requirements in the Lab Servant?

The answer is found in the pseudonymisation of personal data at a time when an employee or student is no longer connected to the institute for more than a certain period of time, say a year. Pseudonymisation means that all personal details of a person are deleted in the Lab Servant and that the name is replaced by a personnel number (employees) resp. student number (students).

The key between name and number is only known in the corporate employee resp. student administration system.

If after a long time a person reports to the institute with complaints that could result from the exposure to hazardous substances, the HR department can check in the Lab Servant – with the “key” – with which substances the person worked in which lab and during which period. All that information has been stored in the Lab Servant in a pseudonymised manner. The pseudonymisation routine runs every night and processes the persons who are no longer connected to the institute for more than an agreed period.