Extensive series of video lectures in collaboration between the University of Helsinki and the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland

The lecture series Chemicals and legislation concentrates on legislation and good work practices in the handling of chemicals. Now these lectures are available to all users through the website of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Helsinki.

The ins and outs of the EU’s REACH regulation, regulations on health and safety in the field of chemistry, environmental legislation, safe transportation of chemicals... These are some of the topics of the video lecture series Chemicals and legislation, created in a collaboration between the University of Helsinki and the Chemical Industry Federation representing companies in the field of chemistry.

The lecture series was born from a real need

– We at the university were building up the new Master’s programme, and we were thinking we should include a course that would prepare future chemists for their working life. At the same time, the Chemical Industry Federation let us know that its members were worried about how well newly graduated chemists know the legislation and regulations of the work practices in their field, says Professor Mikko Oivanen from the Department of Chemistry.

The lecture core was based on feedback from the members of The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

– There are a lot of regulations on chemicals and the chemical industry. We listed the main topics on legislation and safety and started to build the core, says Senior Advisor Eliisa Irpola from the Federation.

Experts all chipped in

Irpola recruited experts from the field of chemistry to lecture in the series. All in all, some 50 experts are seen in the videos. Officials from the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency and various ministries, for example, and corporate experts participated in the series. They all pledged to do their part for free. The University Educational Technology Services offered valuable support and advice in planning of the project.

– This project could be called a very exceptional case of cooperation. This is veritable public engagement, says University Lecturer Jarkko Ihanus who participated in the preparations of the series.

The lectures are given in English and there are 60 of them all in all. They vary in length from five to 45 minutes. There is a total of nearly 15 hours of video.

– We can update the contents if necessary. We can replace obsolete information or make something new about a completely different topic, Oivanen points out.

For education and corporations

Based on the lectures, the university has compiled a compulsory course of five credits for the Master’s Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, to be taken as a written exam. The lectures are also freely available on the website of the Department of Chemistry.

Other universities, for example, or universities of applied sciences, and colleges can use the videos in their teaching. You can also pick out individual videos from the series, according to need.

– The lectures can also be utilised within the industry. The videos may be used for an introduction to the topic for new employees or in-service training of older experts, says Irpola.

Oivanen thinks the videos may also interest people abroad.

– The legislation is fairly similar throughout the EU, though there are certainly some national differences, he says.

All in all it took less than two years from the idea of the lecture series to its publication.

The first videos were filmed in winter 2018, and the last ones in spring the same year. The editing and finishing touches also took some time. The lecture series was published at the beginning of March.

Link to video lecture series Chemicals and legislation