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LABORATORY INSPECTIONS. Jerry Gordon Manager For Laboratory Safety Programs Who Is This Training For?.

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laboratory inspections


Jerry Gordon

Manager For Laboratory Safety Programs

who is this training for
Who Is This Training For?
  • For all faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and DSRs who want to take a proactive approach to operating their labs safely by identifying potential issues through laboratory self inspections.
  • Identify reasons to conduct self inspections of labs
  • Identify areas of concern and common issues found in labs
  • Identify corrective actions to take
  • Identify best management practices to address areas of concern
why inspect labs
Why Inspect Labs???
  • Determine compliance with regulations
    • Raise level of awareness for lab personnel
    • Identify and address issues before a “real” inspection
  • Opportunity for additional training
  • Health and safety check of laboratory facilities
  • Outlet for faculty, staff, and graduate student concerns
inspecting labs
Inspecting Labs
  • How to inspect labs
    • Use of checklists vs. “the walk around”
    • Include faculty, staff, and graduate students
    • Send a copy of the final report to the faculty
  • Best to go with experienced inspector first
    • It takes time and practice to be consistent
  • Cooperation vs. confrontation
  • Provide solutions, not just citations
inspecting labs6
Inspecting Labs
  • Recommended frequency of inspections
    • Weekly by lab occupants
      • e.g. Friday afternoon cleanups
    • Formal once-a-month by designated lab representatives or DSRs
    • Minimum once per semester
    • Voluntary yearly consultations by EH&S
      • Provides a second set of eyes
      • Incorporates any changes to the regulations
      • Can provide recommendations for similar issues from other labs
inspecting labs7
Inspecting Labs
  • What to bring along during an inspection
    • The checklist
    • A notepad and pen
    • Scotch tape
    • Permanent marker
    • Multi-tool (screwdrivers, wire cutters, etc)
    • Examples of signs and labels to hand out
    • Digital camera is useful for documentation and training pictures
inspecting labs8
Inspecting Labs
  • When issues are found:
    • Take corrective action to address the issue immediately
      • Do you need to document the issue if corrected in front of you?
    • Notify others in the lab of any issues discovered
    • Use labels and signs as reminders
    • Include as topics for discussion at lab group and safety committee meetings
for this training program
For This Training Program…
  • Should
    • Recommendation by EH&S as a best management practice for labs
    • Things that outside inspectors LIKE to see when they go through a lab
  • Must
    • Regulatory requirement involved
    • Specific items outside inspectors look for to determine compliance with regulations
inspection areas
Inspection Areas
  • Housekeeping
  • General Safety
  • Chemical Safety
  • Chemical Waste / EPA
  • Other Wastes
  • Other Regulations
  • Emergency
  • Communication
  • Arguably THE most important issue in your lab
  • Gives a general impression of the overall condition of your lab
  • Can have a significant impact on the outcome of an inspection by an outside agency
  • Citable OSHA violation
    • Indication of more serious problems
  • Includes benches, hoods, cabinets, sinks, refrigerators and freezers
    • Chemical containers, sharps, trash, clutter
  • All chemical spills must be cleaned up
    • Includes drips from containers, splashes on cabinet fronts or in hoods, etc
  • Keep overhead storage to a minimum
    • Do not store heavy items overhead
  • When requesting maintenance work, please be considerate of maintenance staff by:
    • Ensuring all chemicals and apparatus have been removed from the work area
    • Ensuring the work area is clean of chemical spills or residue
    • Notifying them of any potential hazards or possible chemical contamination
general safety
General Safety
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Electrical Safety
  • Refrigerators
  • Machine Guarding
  • Fume Hoods
  • Gas Cylinders
  • Respirators
personal protective equipment
Personal Protective Equipment
  • The department or unit is responsible for deciding what PPE is required
  • Has the lab completed an assessment of the hazards in their work area and determined the appropriate PPE?
    • Assistance with hazard assessments and choosing the right PPE can be obtained from EH&S
    • Ex. See the glove selection chart in the CHP
personal protective equipment16
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Is the appropriate PPE available and in good condition?
  • Is the appropriate PPE being worn?
  • Have the lab workers been trained on proper use of the PPE?
  • Has this information been included in the lab’s Standard Operating Procedures?
electrical safety
Electrical Safety
  • Maintain plugs, cords, and equipment in good condition
    • Get repaired immediately if needed
    • Look for cracked cords, bare insulation
    • Electrical tape is not acceptable
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only
  • Use power strips if necessary
  • Do not cascade power strips and extension cords
electrical safety18
Electrical Safety
  • Do not block electric power panels
    • Need to maintain clearance and have ready access to breakers
  • Ensure all missing breakers are reported to building coordinator
    • Missing breakers need breaker caps installed
  • Emergency cut off switches and breakers must be labeled
    • Contact building coordinator for assistance
electrical safety19
Electrical Safety
  • Do not store oxidizers or flammables around power panels or other ignition sources
  • Be aware when using electrical devices around sinks and other sources of water
    • Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) around wet areas
electrical safety20
Electrical Safety
  • Do not alter or repair fixed wiring in buildings
    • Contact building coordinator for assistance
  • All electrical devices or equipment must be third party tested
    • Underwriters Laboratories – UL listed
  • Do not store food in chemical refrigerators
    • Chemical refrigerators should be labeled as “Chemicals Only, No Food”
  • For sample storage, include an identification key on outside of refrigerator
  • Should store liquid chemicals in secondary containers such as trays
  • Practice good housekeeping
    • Clean up all spills
  • Clean refrigerators on a regular basis
  • Defrost freezers on a regular basis
  • Only special rated flammable storage refrigerators may be used for storage of flammable liquids
  • All refrigerators should have an ECO disposal registration sticker
    • Check with your DSR or Building Coordinator OR
    • Contact Facility Coordinator or Anne Wildman at ECO at
cold rooms
Cold Rooms
  • Same principles of refrigerator storage apply
  • No storage of food
  • Should not store flammable liquids and cryogenic gases in cold rooms
    • Flammability and explosion hazard
    • Asphyxiation hazard
machine guarding
Machine Guarding
  • All moving parts need to be properly guarded
  • Includes belts, pinch points, and blades
    • Vacuum pumps, hydraulic presses, cutting devices, grinders, rotating shafts
fume hoods
Fume Hoods
  • Hoods are not storage cabinets
    • Temporary storage for experiments is acceptable
    • Excess storage interferes with air flow
    • Any equipment stored in hoods should be elevated to allow air to flow properly under equipment
  • Keep sash as low as possible
    • Safety measure during use
    • Energy conservation measure when not in use
fume hoods27
Fume Hoods
  • Hoods are not disposal devices
    • Illegal to evaporate hazardous waste
  • Do not use heated Perchloric acid in standard fume hoods
    • Vapors can form shock-sensitive compounds that can explode
    • Requires a Perchloric acid fume hood with a special wash down function
gas cylinders
Gas Cylinders
  • Must be secured upright at all times
    • Includes half size cylinders
    • Use of chains is preferred
  • Label with a Full/In Use/Empty tag
  • Replace cap when not in use
gas cylinders29
Gas Cylinders
  • Keep away from ignition sources
  • Separate Oxygen and fuel cylinders
    • At least by 20 feet or a half hour fire wall
  • Only order what you need – do not stockpile on loading docks
  • Just-In-Time delivery by Airgas
    • Next day service
  • Includes half face and full face respirators
    • Does not include dust masks
  • Must be in the Cornell University Respirator Protection Program
    • If job requires a respirator
    • And for voluntary use
  • Contact Dustin O’Hara at 5-5082
chemical safety
Chemical Safety
  • Proper Labeling
  • Chemical Segregation
  • Chemical Storage
  • Peroxide Formers
chemical labeling
Chemical Labeling
  • All containers must be labeled
    • Includes wash bottles, reagent bottles, and other chemical containers
  • Labels must identify contents
  • For original containers
    • Tape label if it is falling off
    • Relabel with permanent label
  • Deface old labels that do not accurately describe contents of chemical containers
chemical labeling33
Chemical Labeling
  • Labels on non-original containers should include:
    • Full chemical name
    • Hazards present > flammable, corrosive, health hazards
  • If using structures, formulas, or abbreviations
    • Should have a key explaining abbreviations
  • Recommend using EH&S Right-To-Know labels (see
chemical labeling34
Chemical Labeling
  • Should date containers when received and opened
    • Dispose of expired and old chemicals
  • Especially recommended for peroxide formers
chemical segregation
Chemical Segregation
  • Store chemicals according to hazard class
  • Do not store chemicals by:
    • Alphabetically
    • Carbon number (organic chemicals)
    • Liquids versus solids
    • Small bottles versus large bottles
    • Whatever fits on the shelf
  • Until chemicals have been segregated
chemical segregation36
Chemical Segregation
  • Benefits of segregation by hazard classes
    • Safer storage
    • Increase knowledge about the chemical
    • Identify potentially explosive chemicals
    • Identify multiples of the same chemical
  • Read container labels and MSDSs
  • Assistance with lab cleanouts and segregating chemicals is available, contact EH&S for more information
    • Email
general hazard classes
Flammable liquids

Flammable solids

Water reactives



Compressed gases


Organic acids

Inorganic acids

Nitric acid

Perchloric acid




General Hazard Classes
chemical storage
Chemical Storage
  • Minimize amount of chemicals stored
    • Take advantage of Just-In-Time delivery
  • Store small bottles in front of large bottles
  • Store with labels facing out
chemical storage39
Chemical Storage
  • Store older and used bottles in front of full containers
    • Use up the older containers and containers with smaller amounts remaining first
  • Do not store hazardous liquids above eye level
    • Especially no acids or bases
    • Other chemicals injurious to the eyes
chemical storage40
Chemical Storage
  • Recommend storing chemicals in secondary containers such as trays, buckets, or bottle holders
  • Recommend labeling cabinets and storage areas with hazard class labels
  • Rule of thumb - should not store more than 10 gallons of flammables outside a flammable cabinet
    • Includes flammable chemicals in use
peroxide formers
Peroxide Formers
  • Hazards of peroxide formers
    • Flammable
    • Can form potentially explosive crystals
  • All peroxide formers should be tested for peroxides every 6 months from the date opened
    • Record test date and results on container
    • Should also record date opened
    • Test strips available at Chemistry stockroom
  • Minimize quantities stored
peroxide formers42
Peroxide Formers
  • Common examples include:
    • Ethyl ether
    • Dioxane
    • Tetrahydrofuran
    • Sodium amide
    • Potassium metal
  • There are many others out there – read material safety data sheets
chemical waste epa
Chemical Waste / EPA
  • Hazardous Waste Issues
  • Satellite Accumulation Areas
  • Other Wastes
  • Universal Wastes
  • Used Oil
hazardous waste issues
Hazardous Waste Issues
  • All hazardous waste containers must be labeled with the words “Hazardous Waste” and with words identifying the contents
  • All hazardous waste containers must be kept closed
  • Containers must be in good condition
    • EPA and “Inherently waste-like”
hazardous waste issues45
Hazardous Waste Issues
  • Do not store chemicals in or around sinks without secondary containment
  • Waste should be stored in secondary containment
    • Trays, buckets, etc
    • Segregate by hazard class
hazardous waste issues46
Hazardous Waste Issues
  • Leave some airspace in waste containers
  • Do not accumulate excessive amounts of waste
  • Accumulate waste in the smallest size container needed for the experiment
  • Date containers when you are ready to submit a waste tag to EH&S
hazardous waste issues47
Hazardous Waste Issues
  • Satellite Accumulation Area
    • The term EPA uses for where you generate your waste
  • Hazardous waste must be stored at or near the point of generation
    • Means in the lab the waste was generated
    • Do not move waste between rooms
      • EPA would interpret this as creation of a 90 day storage area similar to what EH&S maintains
other wastes
Other Wastes
  • Check with building manager first to see what program they have for other wastes
  • Universal wastes
  • Used oil
  • Solutions containing Silver
universal wastes
Universal Wastes
  • Includes used batteries and light bulbs
  • Needs to be labeled with the words “Universal Waste _______”
  • Universal waste needs to have an accumulation start date
  • Dispose of within one year
    • Recommend disposal within 9 months
used oil
Used Oil
  • Must label container with the words “Used Oil”
  • Must store used oil in a proper container in good condition
  • Keep containers closed to minimize spills
    • Should store in secondary containers such as trays
used oil51
Used Oil
  • Do not mix other waste with used oil
    • Doing so can result in hazardous waste
  • Contact your building manager for the location of used oil drum in the building
solutions containing silver
Solutions Containing Silver
  • EH&S has a program to recycle Silver
    • Using a Silver filtering unit
  • Examples include:
    • Photographic fixers
    • Silver nitrate staining solutions
  • Contact your DSR for the location of the nearest Silver filtering unit or call Nathan Clark at EH&S at 4-8068
other regulations
Other Regulations
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Biohazardous Materials
  • Lasers
  • Pesticides
  • Shipping
  • Security
radioactive materials
Radioactive Materials
  • All rooms using radioactive materials must be listed on the radioactive materials permit
  • Exposure areas marked
    • All rad work surfaces must be labeled with rad signs or tape around the perimeter
  • No food or drink are allowed in rad labs
radioactive materials55
Radioactive Materials
  • Radioactive stocks must be locked up if no one is in the lab
  • Contact Agnes Morris with questions at 5-5600
  • Requirements for Biohazardous materials
    • Access to room must be restricted
    • Includes proper signage on door
    • Hygiene and decontamination protocols are required
    • No food or drink are allowed in labs with biohazardous materials
  • Biological Safety Cabinets
    • Used for containment procedures for aerosols/splashes
      • Not designed for use as a chemical fume hood
    • Requires annual certification by an outside contractor
      • Vet school has a contract with B&V Testing
      • Other schools need to make their own arrangements
  • Training may include Blood Borne Pathogen and/or Basic Biosafety training
  • Self audit form available on the EH&S webpage
  • Contact the Biosafety Officer - Frank Cantone at 4-4888 with any questions
biohazard sharps
Biohazard Sharps
  • Sharps that require disposal in a sharps container
    • Needles and syringes
    • Or any item contaminated with a biohazardous agent or used in a biomedical laboratory
      • Pasteur pipettes, razor blades, scapels, microscope slides, and broken glass
biohazard sharps60
Biohazard Sharps
  • Must use a commercially available sharps container
    • Puncture resistant
    • Leakproof
    • Labeled with the biohazard symbol
  • Used food containers are NOT acceptable
  • All Regulated Medical Waste non-sharp items must be placed in red biohazard bags
    • Plasticware, gloves, toweling, etc
  • Must have a completed Cornell University Medical Waste Tracking Tag for disposal of Regulated Medical Waste
  • Dispose of Regulated Medical Waste through EH&S
    • Vet College has separate procedures
  • Contact Kevin Fitch with questions at 5-4624
  • There are special requirements for class 3A and higher Lasers
  • Class 3A Lasers must be labeled with
    • The words “Caution” or “danger”
    • The hazard class
    • Power output
    • Type of laser
    • Wavelength
    • Pulse duration, if applicable
    • The room/work area must also be labeled with this information
  • Class 3B or 4 Laser requirements
    • Labeling similar to Class 3A requirements
    • Signs, including lighted signs when in use
    • Proper eye protection
    • Interlocking and/or blocking
    • Power control / cutoff switches
    • Standard Operating Procedures
  • There are special requirements for class 3A and higher Lasers
  • Proper training is also required
    • EH&S offers a Laser Safety training class
    • Contact Cindy Martin at 4-4473 for more information
  • Pesticide use requirements
    • Proper labeling of containers
    • Proper training
    • Proper certification
  • Agricultural use, including greenhouses, require Worker Protection Standard (WPS) training
  • Contact Eric Harrington at 5-0485 or
  • If shipping hazardous materials (including packages with dry ice), then you need proper training
    • DOT Hazardous Materials Shipping training
  • EH&S offers this training class
    • Contact Mike Lonon at 5-6995 for more information
  • Understand that security of laboratories is a real issue in today’s world
  • Recognize that security is related to but different than laboratory safety
    • Accidental vs. intended
  • Realize there are simple steps you can take to help protect your laboratory and your research materials
security steps you can take
Security Steps You Can Take
  • First identify what items you should try to protect
    • Take a fresh look at your building and work areas
  • Minimize the quantities of highly hazardous materials kept on hand
    • Utilize substitution or disposal
  • Control access to research areas
    • Keep doors locked when no one is present
security steps you can take71
Security Steps You Can Take
  • Secure your highly hazardous materials
    • Locked storage cabinets
  • Know who is in research areas
    • Question people you don’t know
      • “Can I help you?”
    • Consider using ID badges
  • Be informed and train research group members on your security policy
  • Highly recommend attending the new EH&S training program:

“Security of Hazardous Materials

Used in Research”

  • Contact Czora at EH&S at 4-4693 for more information
  • Aisle Space
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Combustible Storage
  • Spill Kits
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Eyewash/Showers
  • HASP
  • Keep corridors and hallways clear of equipment, boxes, and other items
  • Aisle space
    • Storage of bottles, waste, boxes, equipment, wires, cords on floors
    • Need minimum of 36” aisle space between benches and equipment
fire extinguishers
Fire Extinguishers
  • Do not block fire extinguishers
  • Check to make sure extinguishers are fully charged
    • If not, contact Clayton Bronson at 5-8200
  • Do not block or wedge fire doors
combustible storage
Combustible Storage
  • Combustibles include:
    • Wood, paper, boxes, plastics
  • Keep amount of combustibles stored to a minimum
  • Keep away from sources of ignition
    • Electric power panels, open flames, etc
combustible storage77
Combustible Storage
  • Ceiling clearance for the entire room
    • Sprinklered areas - must not store combustibles within 18” below the crown of the sprinkler head
    • Nonsprinklered areas - must not store any combustibles within 2 feet of ceiling
eyewash showers
  • Ensure easy access to eyewash and emergency showers
    • Handheld bottles not acceptable
  • Should test eyewashes weekly
    • Run/flush for 2-3 minutes
    • EH&S does annual inspections
  • Contact EH&S at 5-5237 when new units are installed
spill kits
Spill Kits
  • In case of an emergency or when in doubt, CALL 911 or
    • Call 255-1111 when using a cell phone
  • Spill kits are recommended, but need proper procedures and training
  • EH&S offers the training class “Cleaning Up Small Spills”
hazard assessment signage program hasp
Hazard Assessment Signage Program (HASP)
  • All labs shouldhave HASP signage on outside of door
  • HASP will be available on the EH&S webpage soon
  • Need to submit updates to your DSR
    • HASP files need to be sent to EH&S to convert the updates for you
    • Contact Robin Goodloe at 5-5613 or
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Training
chemical hygiene plan
Chemical Hygiene Plan
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) needs to be readily available
    • Required by OSHA
    • Recommend keeping hard copy in lab
    • Electronic version is acceptable
  • As part of the campus CHP, you still need to have site specific standard operating procedures
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are required for handling highly hazardous materials:
    • Highly toxic chemicals
    • Carcinogenic materials
  • SOPs include information such as:
    • Chemical hazards
    • Authorized personnel
    • Training requirements
    • Use location
    • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Waste disposal
    • Decontamination
    • Exposure
    • Spill control
  • See Chemical Hygiene Plan for more information
    • Generic and specific examples are available via the EH&S webpage -
    • EH&S offers a “Writing SOPs” training class
material safety data sheets
Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Responsibility of supervisors to ensure MSDSs are accessible
    • Paper or electronic format
    • Should have MSDS websites bookmarked
    • Should be able to produce a MSDS within 5 minutes
  • EH&S recommends keeping hard copy of MSDSs in the lab
  • Always read the MSDS before working with new chemicals
  • All lab workers are required to attend laboratory safety training
    • Should attend the EH&S training program “Chemical Safety for Laboratory Workers - Graduate Students and Employees”
  • Recommend hazardous waste training provided by EH&S for all generators of hazardous waste
    • Required by some departments and colleges
  • To see a complete list of EH&S training, go to and point to Training, then click on Safety Education Course Listing
keys to success
Keys To Success
  • Cooperation vs. confrontation
  • Provide solutions, not just citations
  • Be patient and persistent with changes
  • Be proactive and schedule a Laboratory Workplace Consultation with EH&S to get started NOW!
    • Voluntary assistance
    • Includes a consultation report
    • Contact EH&S at
    • Or call Agnes Morris at 5-5600
my offer to you
My Offer To You….
  • This training is available to all DSRs, faculty, staff, and graduate assistants at your location
  • “Hands On” In-Lab training is also available
    • You do the inspections
    • I’ll provide assistance and advice
  • Email to set up a time for this training program or for In-Lab training on inspecting your labs


Your comments are appreciated, please fill out a training evaluation form. Thank You!

Jerry Gordon

Manager For Laboratory Safety Programs