Laboratory Inspection Program

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all staff, faculty, students and visitors. For all laboratory areas that contain hazardous materials, EH&S conducts inspections annually in order to identify potential hazards in the workplace as part of the regulatory requirements established by the CDC, OSHA, EPA, NFPA and other federal and local authorities. Compliance with these regulations is the responsibility of the laboratory Principal Investigator. These laboratory inspections are federally mandated and compliance is mandatory of all researchers.

Laboratory Self Inspections

EH&S recommends quarterly inspections of all laboratories as well as research support areas (common rooms, cold rooms, etc.) assigned to a principal investigator. To assist with this, EH&S has a Self-Inspection Checklist. This list consists of commonly observed deficiencies that EH&S inspectors have noted in the past. If concerns arise at any point, labs can request an EH&S consultation which involves an inspector coming to the lab and noting items of concern or deficiencies found in the lab areas.

Annual Laboratory Inspections

The annual inspection includes a physical inspection of the lab space/work areas as well as the written/programmatic aspects of laboratory safety by an EH&S staff. Additionally the inspector will review administrative documents such as the Annual Laboratory Hazard Registration Form (ALHRF), CHP, SOPs and training documentation. The Principal Investigator will be notified via email to schedule the annual at a time convenient for both researchers and EH&S inspectors.

Upon completion of the annual laboratory inspection, a report detailing the findings will be sent to the PI, Lab Manager (or Lab Supervisor). The inspection items may also be viewed on the EHSA CHEM-BIO Portal. The Principal Investigator is responsible for ensuring that all safety deficiencies are corrected within 30 calendar days.

Typical inspection items include:

Fire, Electrical and Life Safety

  • Safe use of power cords, Power Strips, and overloaded electrical circuits.
  • Obstruction of exits and aisles.
  • Storage of flammable and combustible materials.
  • Fire extinguisher monthly inspection.

General Laboratory Safety

  • Proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. Fully buttoned lab coat, safety glasses and gloves).
  • Laboratory hygiene: Countertops are clean; bench paper is not torn or stained.
  • No evidence of eating/drinking in the lab.
  • Weekly eyewash inspections
  • Adequate performance of chemical fume hoods

Chemical Safety

  • Chemical storage and segregation
  • Chemical waste storage areas and weekly inspection by lab staff
  • Proper labeling

Biological Safety

  • Pathological and autoclave waste management  
  • Vacuum trap set-up and use
  • Annual Biological Safety Cabinet certification

Compressed Gas Safety

  • Cylinders are secured to a wall or immovable object (no storage on cylinder cart)
  • Caps are in place when not in use