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Laboratory Safety Inspection

Laboratory Inspections

The National Institute of Health (NIH) and other governmental regulatory agencies require that research laboratories be inspected for safety and compliance with applicable regulations. To comply with these mandates and to protect the welfare of each faculty, staff, student and contractor, the Office of Research Safety conducts laboratory inspections of each research laboratory on campus at least annually.
Laboratory inspections will be focused on the specific hazards encountered by that lab while performing their research. They will also evaluate understanding and compliance with institutional policies, state and federal laws and regarding employee safety, public health and the environment. Office of Research Safety will available to provide guidance or assistance addressing issues identified during the inspection.
To help to enforce compliance of the research laboratories the Office of Research Safety will also conduct unannounced revisit inspections to verify that the corrective actions have been implemented for the identified issues.

Lab Inspection Procedures

The laboratory inspection process will proceed as described below.

  1. Research Safety will contact and schedule a date and time with PI or Lab Supervisor.
  2. The PI or lab supervisor will be requested to complete a pre-lab form. This form must be returned to Research Safety at least one day prior to the inspection.
  3. Research Safety will arrive on the scheduled date and time and begin the inspection.
  4. The inspector will ask the PI or Lab Supervisor information regarding their current research.
  5. Items that will be reviewed before or during the inspection include the following:
    • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) protocols

    • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocols

    • Exempt Toxins (usage, training and documentation)

    • Training (current documentation)

    • Chemical Inventory and SDSs (complete and accessible)

    • Lab-Specific Training (hazards associated with hazards and practices specific to individual labs, such as the handling of pyrophoric, water reactive or acutely toxic materials)

    • UT Emergency Procedures and Phone Numbers (available)

    • Bloodborne Pathogen information (training, accessibility of the Exposure Control Plan, etc.)

    • Personal Protective Equipment (availability and use)

    • Safety Equipment (eyewash units and safety showers)

    • Engineering Control Equipment (Annual inspection of Fume Hoods and Biosafety Cabinets)

    • Chemical Management (handling, storage and labeling)

    • Control Substances (security, storage, handling, training and documentation)

    • Chemical Hazardous Waste (storage, labeling)

    • Biohazardous Waste (handling, storage and disposal)

    • Spill Management Procedures

    • Radioactive Material (signage, labeling, handling, storage)

    • Sharps Handling

    • Broken Glass Handling

    • Hazard Labeling (biohazard labeled, chemical containers labeled, etc.)

    • General Safety Conditions and Practices (electrical hazards, fire hazards, etc.)

  6. Once the inspector has completed the inspection of all assigned lab space for the PI, the identified issues will be reviewed and discussed with the PI or Lab Supervisor and corrective actions will also be discussed.

    *Note: While conducting the inspection the inspector will correct any issues that can be corrected during the inspection.

  7. The inspector will compile a report articulating the identified issues and corrective actions that will need to be implemented by the PI or lab staff.
  8. Research Safety will email a copy of the inspection report to the PI.
  9. After 30 days, Research Safety will conduct an unannounced revisit the lab to verify that the corrective actions have been implemented for the identified issues.
  10. If all corrective actions have been implemented then a second revisit will not be necessary and an email stating the observations noted will be sent to the PI. However, if all corrective actions have not been implemented and/or new issues identified a second revisit will be needed and an email stating the observations will be emailed to the PI.

The Office of Research Safety is always available to assist researchers with any issues, questions or concerns and to help research laboratories to promote and sustain compliance before and after an inspection. To promote safety within research labs the Office of Research Safety has prepared a Laboratory Safety Self-Checklist. Self-inspections are an important part of a comprehensive lab safety program. Labs are encouraged to periodically self-inspect. At least one self-inspection per year is advisable.

Last Published: Mar 12, 2021