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 routine inspections in order to identify potential hazards in the workplace as part of the regulatory requirements established by OSHA, EPA, NFPA and other federal and local authorities. Compliance with these regulations is the responsibility of the laboratory Principal Investigator. Each year, all laboratories on the Georgetown campus are inspected four times. These inspections take two forms: the Laboratory Safety Quarterly Inspection and the federally mandated Laboratory Safety Annual Inspection. Satellite facilities are inspected on an annual basis.

Quarterly Laboratory Inspections

During the quarterly inspection, EH&S will conduct a physical inspection of all laboratories as well as research support areas (common rooms, cold rooms, etc.) assigned to a principal investigator. The inspector may examine areas where hazardous materials are used or stored such as storage cabinets, refrigerators, freezers, and drawers in laboratory work areas. Quarterly inspections are unannounced in order to obtain a snapshot of safety compliance. Upon completion of the quarterly inspection, a report detailing the findings and the rooms inspected will be emailed to the PI, Lab Manager (or Lab Supervisor).

Annual Laboratory Inspections

The annual inspection includes all aspects of the quarterly laboratory inspection (physical inspection of the space) as well as written/programmatic aspects of laboratory safety and includes a review of the administrative documents such as the Annual Laboratory Hazard Registration Form (ALHRF), SOPs and training documentation. The Principal Investigator will be notified via email approximately 2 weeks prior to a scheduled annual inspection of any laboratory.

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 (but are not limited to the following examples:

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, closed toe shoes 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
  • Periodic emergency shower testing
  • Adequate performance of chemical fumehoods

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