Pollution Resources

Pollution & Resources

 

 
 

Environmental Management Policy and Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Reporting

Where RPS has Laboratories

As of May 2017, RPS has offices located in 111 major towns and cities worldwide. This includes permanent office locations in forty-two towns and cities across the UK (GB & NI), in twenty-six towns and cities across Australia, fourteen across the USA, five in Ireland, five in The Netherlands, five in Norway, four in Canada, two in the Russian Federation and one city each in, Sweden, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Iraqi Kurdistan and UAE.

At 11 of our 111 business locations we have laboratory facilities as well as offices.

Two of our laboratories locations are in The Netherlands at Breda and Zwolle.

Nine of our laboratory locations are in the UK at Ellesmere Port, Letchworth, Huddersfield, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Middleton and Northwich.

Our laboratories in Breda and Zwolle in The Netherlands and at Huddersfield, London, Middleton and Milton Keynes in the UK undertake asbestos sample analysis among other types of laboratory analyses.

Our ISO 17025 UKAS accredited occupational hygiene laboratory, which also undertakes stack emissions, pathology and face fit testing, is based at Manchester (Salford Quays). The laboratory uses a wide variety of laboratory techniques for air and water sample and human blood and urine sample analyses. Our occupational hygiene tests provide very fine detection limits well below the safe occupational exposure limits set out by the UK Health & Safety Executive's ‘Workplace Exposure Limits’ EH40 guidance document as amended in 2011 (ISBN 9780717664467).

Our ISO 17025 UKAS accredited trace organics laboratory at Letchworth (Mountainheath) uses a variety of laboratory techniques including GC-MS and LC-MS to identify, characterise and measure agricultural or industrial pollutants found to be present in air filter, water, soil, plant, marine sediment and human urine samples and within manufactured products including food.

Our laboratory at Nottingham (Mansfield Woodhouse) specialises in occupational health assessment by qualified medical practitioners (doctors and nurses).

Our laboratories in Northwich, Cheshire process drill cuttings and other geological field sample materials for the oil industry. This is primarily to facilitate palynology, micropalaeontology or nannofossil analyses for biostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, multi-well correlation, basin and regional hydrocarbon prospectivity studies.

We have three laboratories located at our Dutch office in Breda, one chemical, one microbiological and one for asbestos. All three are accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council against the requirements of ISO 17025. The chemical laboratory uses a variety of laboratory techniques including GC-MS, HPLC and ICP-MS to identify, characterise and measure organic and inorganic components in relation to workplace atmosphere. The microbiological laboratory is specialised in the analysis and determination of bacterias, yeasts and molds; especially Legionella. The asbestos laboratory performs analysis on building materials, soil, debris and airsamples for the determination and concentrations of asbestos. The laboratory is equipped with light microscopy and three electron microscopes (SEM/EDX). The laboratory of the Dutch Zwolle office is also accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council against the requirements of ISO 17025. The laboratory is equipped for the analysis of asbestos in building materials, soils, debris and airsamples with light microscopy and electron microscope (SEM/EDX). RPS is also accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council against the requirements of ISO 17020 for Asbestos inspection after removal.

UK Asbestos Sampling, Analysis and Disposal

Asbestos was extensively used in building construction from the 1950s until the mid-1980s and is present in over 2000 products worldwide. The Health and Safety Executive state that any building built pre-2000 could contain asbestos.

In the UK RPS operates UKAS accredited asbestos laboratories and asbestos inspection services (ISO 17025 & ISO 17020 as with the RPS asbestos laboratories in The Netherlands). Strict regulations are in place to manage asbestos in buildings and any building with commercial aspects needs to be assessed in line with relevant legislation. In the UK it is the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In addition, any asbestos identified must be suitably managed and maintained.

Any building that is to undergo refurbishment or demolition works has to have an assessment for the presence of asbestos before works begin and all assessments must be completed by a competent person.

RPS has been conducting these surveys and analysis of samples taken in our UKAS Accredited Laboratories for nearly 30 years.

RPS is also accredited by UKAS for the safe taking, process and disposal of asbestos samples.

When sampling, our surveyors take samples in accordance with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 ensuring that suitable respiratory and personal protective equipment is used, the technique employed does not endanger any other person and does not lead to contamination or spread or release of asbestos fibres into the environment.

Samples taken are securely sealed and transported to our laboratories for identification analysis. This is done under controlled and approved/documented procedures again to ensure that no exposure to asbestos fibres occurs.

When complete the sample is resealed and stored in a sealed container for a period of 6 months on site. After this period the samples are disposed of by a licensed hazardous waste contractor and consignment notes kept for a minimum of 40 years.

Our Manchester Occupational Hygiene Laboratory (Salford Quays)

RPS Laboratories is an occupational hygiene laboratory belonging to RPS Group which is sited on an industrial estate in Saford Quays in Manchester, UK. Owing to the potentially hazardous nature of some of the chemicals used in the laboratory and associated with samples that are submitted for analysis, the laboratory:

stores and disposes of chemicals and samples according to documented procedures that respect all relevant EC, national and regional legislation

according to this relevant environmental legislation, regulations, and other requirement controls, where it is not possible to eliminate hazards the laboratory reduces:

i) emissions to air

ii) the possibility of uncontrolled releases to water/sewage systems

iii) waste, and manages waste in a safe and responsible manner

iv) contamination of its own premises or that of others and the local environment

disposes of all hazardous waste is via an appropriately licenced waste disposal contractor registered with the UK Environment Agency.

Innocuous samples are disposed of 1 month following receipt unless specifically requested otherwise by the customer. Water samples are disposed of after 2 weeks.

Disposal of samples too toxic or noxious for simple disposal, or considered likely to be so, is either carried out as for hazardous waste, or may be transferred back to the customer in some circumstances.

Our Letchworth Trace Organics Laboratory

RPS Mountainheath is a contract analytical laboratory belonging to RPS Group and sited in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, UK. Owing to the potentially hazardous nature of some of the chemicals used in the laboratory and associated with samples that are submitted for analysis, the laboratory:

stores and disposes of chemicals and samples according to documented procedures that respect all relevant EC, national and regional legislation

according to this relevant environmental legislation, regulations, and other requirements controls, where not possible to eliminate hazards the laboratory reduces:

v) emissions to air

vi) the possibility of uncontrolled releases to water/sewage systems

vii) waste, and manages waste in a safe and responsible manner

viii) contamination of its own premises or that of others and the local environment

disposes of all hazardous waste is via an appropriately licenced waste disposal contractor registered with the UK Environment Agency.

Innocuous samples (liquid and solid) are disposed of 1 month following receipt unless specifically requested otherwise by the customer. Perishable materials (such as vegetables, meat and fish) are frozen following extraction/analysis and are disposed of after 1 month. Water samples are disposed of after 2 weeks.

Disposal of samples too toxic or noxious for simple disposal, or considered likely to be so, is either carried out as for hazardous waste, or may be transferred back to the customer in some circumstances.

The laboratory is licenced by DEFRA to conduct work involving material covered by a soil plant health licence and a prohibited plants and plant material licence. Disposal of such materials is according to relevant legislation.

Our Health Screening Laboratory at Nottingham (Mansfield Woodhouse)

RPS implements and monitors systems to ensure the general health and safety of its occupational health service users, staff and others. The service has documented generic risk assessments identifying specific risks, hazards and control measures relevant to occupational health service delivery, including general activities on RPS and client sites; Mobile Screening Units and use of X Ray Equipment. Each generic risk assessment has an associated Safe System of Work.

Initial Risk Assessments are completed with clients by the business development team with the objective of identifying relevant hazards and assessing the risks before practitioners work on client sites.

On-Site Risk Assessments are completed by the first practitioner on site to review the hazards and risks that have been identified in the Initial Risk Assessment and any supporting Safe System of Work documents.

The service has systems in place to ensure regular inspection, calibration, maintenance and replacement of medical equipment and that it is safe to use, audits ensure that procedures are followed. Vaccine refrigerators are lockable or in a locked room and there are records of daily temperature readings to ensure that the cold chain is maintained.

Clinical staff work to clinical and record keeping protocols which are evidence-based and consensus-based guidelines, and meet professional and legal requirements including compliance with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine's guidance on ethics.

RPS' occupational health accreditations include: SEQOHS, CHAS and RISQS (for Network Rail, London Underground, Crossrail etc)

Our Drugs and Alcohol Testing Laboratory at Ellesmere Port (Merseyside)

Our Ellesmere Port Laboratory provides medical surveillance and drugs and alcohol testing for the occupational health sector. The Ellesmere Port laboratory is located on a COMAH registered site.

All laboratory chemicals are stored either in refrigerators or cupboards in the laboratory. Flammable solvents are stored in flame proof lockable flammables cabinets. Acids and alkalis are stored in lockable corrosive chemical cabinets. Waste laboratory chemicals are disposed using licenced waste contractors. Small amounts of liquid wastes are disposed to drain, all laboratory drains discharge to our on onsite waste treatment facility. We have detailed operating procedure for all laboratory tasks and full COSHH assessments. The laboratory is locked by a coded system when not occupied by staff. All waste transfer documents are stored for a period of 6 years.

Safe disposal of clinical waste

Laboratory clinical waste is segregated and identified as described in section 7 of the health technical memorandum 07-01 safe management of healthcare waste issued by the UK Department of Health. All clinical wastes are disposed of via a yellow bag system using a licenced waste disposal contractor, all sharps are disposed in appropriate sharps bins these too are disposed using the same licenced contractors. All waste transfer documents are stored for a period of 6 years.

Radiological protection

We do not have x-ray equipment or any radiological materials at the Ellesmere Port laboratory facility.

Emergency planning in case of chemical spillage

Our Ellesmere Port laboratory uses small amounts of chemicals. It nevertheless has strict laboratory spillage procedures where spills are absorbed and cleaned up and wastes disposed of according to standard procedure.

Emergency planning in case of laboratory fire

Our laboratory sites are subject to external accreditation schemes (UKAS). They are subject to rigorous workplace risk assessments and fire risk assessments as well as having emergency planning procedures in place. In addition, the Ellesmere Port occupational health laboratory is situated on a COMAH site who have their own fire service. As with the rest of the site, regular emergency exercises are undertaken.

Our Geoscience Laboratories at Northwich

Our geoscience laboratory at Northwich has certified management systems for quality (ISO 9001:2008) and environment ( ISO 14001:2004). The procedures the laboratory has in place include pollution control and emergency preparedness and documented plans are in place to deal with any such incidents. Atmospheric emissions and water discharges are monitored and controlled. No significant trade effluent is produced on-site, however offsite (at client wellsite locations) effluent produced during palynology processing is transferred into 20 litre UN certified barrels and then returned to our laboratories ready for collection and disposal by our waste solutions provider Avanti Environmental, an independent hazardous waste solutions company.

Our Dutch Laboratories

RPS has four laboratories of which three are sited in Breda and one in Zwolle. The laboratories are certified for the requirements as stated in ISO 14001 (Environment), VCA (Safety) and CO2 emission. Laboratory policy is to keep the use of chemicals and the effect of our analysis to the environment as low as possible. Therefore laboratory facilities are optimised and documented procedures are implemented to reduce:

i) emissions to air

ii) the possibility of uncontrolled releases to water/sewage systems

iii) waste, and manage it in a safe and responsible manner

iv) contamination of its own premises or that of others and the local environment

Disposal of all hazardous waste is via certified and licenced waste disposal contractors, all in compliance to Dutch and local legislation.

Both laboratory sites are equipped with heat recovery systems to reduce CO2 emission. Air ventilation systems are designed with energy-saving measures.