Laboratory Inspections

It is the aim of the Chemical Management Team to work cooperatively with principal investigators and laboratory workers to achieve compliance with University safety policies, the Laboratory Safety Manual and governmental regulations. From time to time, however, it may be necessary when cooperation fails to impose sanctions to achieve compliance. This policy is designed to ensure compliance through a system of phases that applies increasing pressure on a principal investigator to make the appropriate corrective actions..

Routine Laboratory Inspections

Periodically Environmental Health and Safety will conduct inspections of the laboratories on campus. The frequency of the inspections will depend upon the hazards present in each lab, These inspections are not intended to be punitive in nature but rather educational by assisting Principal Investigators to identify areas where they may not be up to standard and assisting them in correcting those areas. A copy of the laboratory inspection sheet is available here (Laboratory Inspection Form)

A report identifying deficiencies and areas for improvement will be directed to the laboratory's Principal Investigator, and any applicable department designee. These items must be corrected within 30 days of receipt of the laboratory inspection report. If the items cannot be corrected in that timeframe, the Principal Investigator must submit a written corrective action plan detailing the expected corrections and estimated date of completion within the same 30 days. The Principal Investigator may designate a responsible party to submit the report. Any inspection finding posing eminent danger (likely to cause a serious hazard, injury, disability or death) must be corrected immediately

In addition to the inspections conducted by EHS, the departmental Chemical Hygiene Officer may also conduct periodic inspections especially during instructional labs to ensure that students are working in a safe environment.

Emergency Equipment

EHS routinely checks some emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, emergency showers and eye wash stations. Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that first aid, spill equipment and appropriate PPE are available in their laboratories.

Regulatory Inspections

On occasion the University may be visited by federal, state, county or city regulatory inspectors. Some of these groups may contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) or the Research Office to initiate an inspection, but others may just present themselves at a lab or building. If this occurs, it is recommended that you follow these procedures:

  • Request identification or credentials from the inspector. Write down the inspector's name and affiliation. If satisfactory credentials are not provided, do not offer any further assistance and contact Public Safety x 3111 immediately.
  • Contact EHS at x3201 to inform them of the inspection. Provide the affiliation of the inspector when calling to assure the proper response from EHS.
  • As per your lab or department's policy, contact your PI, department chair and/or building manager to inform them of the inspector's presence. The department chair and the director of EHS should advise the administration that the inspector is on site and arrange for any close-out conferences requested.
  • Do not decline the inspection, however ask the inspector if they can wait until one or more of the above individuals can join the inspection. At a minimum, the PI or EHS representative should be present before proceeding. If EHS is not present before the inspection starts, please take notes of what is said and/or visited until they arrive.
  • Answer the inspector's questions, but only provide the information or files that are specifically requested. Do not volunteer information. If the inspector asks to take pictures, do not allow it unless you are able to also take the same pictures for the university's records or verify that they will make them available to the university as well.
  • The inspector's status does not authorize him/her to handle any hazardous material in your facility so do not permit this.
  • The inspector must always be accompanied by you or other University personnel during the inspection so do not allow them unescorted access to your facility.
  • Assure that the inspector wears all appropriate or required personal protective equipment.

If you are contacted to schedule an inspection, please inform EHS and allow the appropriate personnel to be present to assist with the inspection.

If you have any questions regarding these procedures, please contact EHS at x3201 or x3212