3 min

Kiwa helps Luleå University of Technology get its chemicals in order

Organizations that work with chemicals must comply with many laws and regulations. This also applies to technical universities, where both researchers and students handle various chemicals on a daily basis. Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in Sweden conducts research and teaches in a wide range of scientific fields. LTU needed help in developing a standard for chemicals management as part of improving safety in its laboratory environments. Kiwa has the knowledge and expertise to help and has assisted the University in this endeavour.

Improve chemicals management

LTU needed a standard for their chemicals management, but also for cleaning up and structuring their laboratory environments. The standard should also form the basis for the design of the chemicals management in the new laboratory building that will be built on the university campus. The aim was to improve handling efficiency, comply with legislation, minimise the risk of accidents, reduce the total volume of chemicals and reduce the risk of harmful emissions into the environment.

Jonas Helmerius, Senior Research Engineer at LTU, explains: "We needed Kiwa's help to achieve better chemical management for the whole of LTU. This concerned both the clarification of roles and responsibilities and the actual physical handling of the chemicals. We also needed a functioning registration of the substances used, as well as for procurement, goods handling, deliveries within the university campus, storage and waste management."

Currently, the construction of a new 12,000 square metre laboratory is planned. Jonas Helmerius continues: "The new building is a huge infrastructure project, which will improve the physical working environment. The buildings we are working in now date from the 1970s and we are short of space. Everything will become easier with the new building, which will be adapted to our current and future needs. The new lab is scheduled to be ready in December 2027, but in the meantime, of course, we need to have a functioning chemical management system in the existing buildings."

Health and safety engineer for long-term success

Milvi Rohtla, Senior Consultant at Kiwa Sweden, was the right person to help LTU. She explains how the development of a chemical management standard at LTU proceeded: "First, I made a two-day visit to the University to get an idea of what the work looked like on site. Then I started working on the report, which contained advice and recommendations on their chemicals management in the areas of procurement, registration, goods receipt, storage and waste. In short, the assignment was to make concrete suggestions for procedures for the central management of chemicals, from procurement to waste."

Kiwa's main recommendation was to hire a Health and Safety engineer as soon as possible. Jonas Helmerius explains: "Following the recommendations of Kiwa, we have actively started recruiting a Health and Safety engineer. It is clear that we need someone who can take the lead and structure the work, and who is familiar with the law. We have already had a lot of help from Kiwa on legal documentation and what needs to be done, but in order to achieve long-term success, we are recruiting someone who can take on this work with dedication."

Big steps forward

Since Kiwa issued the advisory report in July 2021, more and more things are falling into place, says Jonas Helmerius. "We have come a long way in terms of purchasing, handling goods, the way deliveries are made on site and the registration of chemicals used. It will take some time to get everything in order, but we hope to be one step further by the summer. This summer and autumn we will tackle the storage, purification and registration of chemicals in our laboratories."

The work is currently being fully planned and involves a large number of items (between 4000-5000). A lot of work will have to be done to ensure that all items enter the system and are stored properly.

Satisfied with Kiwa's work

All involved at LTU are very satisfied with Kiwa's work and praise both the report and the continuous cooperation during the process. Jonas Helmerius concludes: "The advisory report is clear and easy to follow and not too extensive, which is good because many people from LTU will read it. It is good that the report itself is to the point and that you can find more information in the annexes. What was good about the cooperation with Kiwa was that they did not contact us unnecessarily. There was reasonable and balanced communication. Kiwa was very accommodating when it came to presenting and reviewing the report. Because of the pandemic, most of the work was done online, through Teams, but that worked well!"

Kiwa's expertise in chemicals management

Kiwa offers training, advice and documentation in the field of chemical management for various organisations and companies. For more information, please contact Kiwa Sweden.