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Introduction to OHSE Unit

This innovative unit, housed within the Chemistry department, comprises of a laboratory health and safety specialist, well-versed in both laboratory and general building infrastructure, and an occupational health and safety officer. Distinct from the University of Cape Town's (UCT) general occupational health, safety, and environmental (OHSE) unit, this unit takes on the unique responsibility of implementing both general health and safety practices and specialized laboratory research protocols. 

With a focus on undergraduate, post-graduate, and general research laboratories, this unit serves as a trusted advisor to the Chemistry department, as well as other faculties and external organizations. Their expertise spans a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:

  1. ensuring proper storage and disposal of hazardous chemical agents,
  2. establishing laboratory-specific standard operating procedures,
  3. developing comprehensive health and safety protocols and policies and
  4. laboratory design.

Moreover, their capabilities extend to conducting ergonomic assessments and general health and safety audits, ensuring a holistic approach to laboratory well-being. 

This exceptional team is also equipped to design and facilitate specialized short courses, tailored to the unique needs of laboratory health and safety. Their unwavering dedication to fostering a culture of safety make them the go-to resource for all your laboratory health and safety needs. 

With their unwavering commitment to excellence, they are poised to make a lasting impact on the field of scientific research in South Africa.

Meet The Team

Dr Sophie Rees-Jones

OHS Officer

Sophie obtained her BSc (Hons) in Biological Chemistry in 1995 and MSc in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in 1997 from the University of Kent in the UK. Fuelled by her passion for Organic Synthesis, she embarked on further academic pursuits and achieved her PhD in 2007 in Organic Synthesis, specializing in the enantioselective total synthesis of (+)-Castanospermine under the guidance of Professor Roger Hunter (Chemistry Department) at the University of Cape Town. Following the completion of her doctorate, Sophie dedicated four years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Hunter Research Group. Her exceptional commitment and expertise led her to assume the role of Research Assistant within the Hunter Research Group, where she actively contributed to various research projects and played a pivotal role in mentoring and supervising (30) post-graduate students.

Due to her passion for implementing health and safety in the laboratory, she served as the Hunter Research Groups’ SHE-Representative and as valued member of the Chemistry Health and Safety Committee since 2011. Additionally, she enjoys teaching and actively participates in outreach programs, aiming to share her knowledge and passion with aspiring individuals. She is since 2007 the Royal Society of Chemistry South Africa (South) Honourary Secretary and in 2023 was Acting Chair South Africa, South Section. Presently, Sophie holds the position of Occupational Health and Safety Officer in Chemistry.

For more information you may visit her LinkedIn Profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophie-rees-jones-49509131/

Mrs Monique Muller

Laboratory Health, Safety & Infrastructure Specialist

Monique's journey at the University of Cape Town began in 2013 when she was appointed as a Chemical Safety Officer for the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Departments. In 2021 she was appointed as Laboratory Health, Safety, and Infrastructure Specialist.

Monique Muller has over 20 years of invaluable knowledge in General Occupational Health & Safety (OHS), Laboratory Operations, Infrastructure and Safety Management, Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal and as Training Facilitator on a wide variety of topics. Monique’s extensive experience and unwavering commitment to safety makes her an invaluable asset to any project i.e. the designing of a new laboratory. 

Not only is Monique a registered Graduate OHS Professional at SAIOSH, but she is also a competent Ergonomics Risk Assessor. Her expertise extends further as a highly qualified Health, Safety and Operations Management System Auditor and Consultant for all work environments. With her exceptional training facilitation skills and talent for designing engaging training materials, she consistently receives outstanding scores from her participants. 

Monique provides invaluable expertise knowledge and assistance to various research departments, private laboratories and high schools. Her expertise extends to facilitating in obtaining the correct hazardous waste disposal methods, including the testing of unknown chemicals’ characteristics and packing of hazardous waste for collection.

Monique’s educational qualifications include:
1) NEBOSH: International Diploma for OHS Management Professionals, 
2) BA in Disaster & Safety Management,
3) Masters in Science: Microbiology,
4) Masters in Environmental Management,
5) Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

For more information you may visit her LinkedIn Profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monique-muller-b384074/