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Laboratory Inspection Form Checklist Explanation

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Laboratory Inspection Form Checklist Explanation



The laboratory has a current Chemical Hygiene Plan

The OSHA Laboratory Standard requires that each laboratory must establish and maintain a lab-specific Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP). This document should include procedures, equipment, PPE and work practices that are designed to protect employees from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory. A model Chemical Hygiene Plan is available at http://ehs.sc.edu/LabSafety.htm. This document must be customized for your specific lab by appending your lab chemical inventory standard operating procedures, and training documents for lab staff. It must be reviewed and updated yearly and the clearance form signed by all lab personnel currently working in the laboratory. Ensure that the CHP is accessible to all lab personnel at all times.


Written SOP for use of particularly hazardous chemicals, procedures or equipment

All procedures that use particularly hazardous chemicals (PHS) or equipment must have a written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that indicate the detailed procedure, required PPE, protective measures/controls, precautionary measures, emergency response and the list of personnel approved to perform the procedure. For example, equipment that uses high pressure, temperature, high voltage and UV light pose particular hazards and required written SOPs for their use. Select carcinogens, reproductive toxins, acutely toxic chemicals and reactive chemicals are all considered particularly hazardous. A list of PHS can be found at https://www.safety.duke.edu/OHS/phs.htm. A template SOP can be requested from jlocke@mailbox.sc.edu.


Lab safety manual(s) are accessible to all lab personnel at all times

All lab personnel must have access at all times to safety manuals in the laboratory.


Lab safety training has been completed and documented

All lab personnel including faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students must attend the Basic Laboratory Safety Training offered by EH&S before commencing work in the laboratory. Certificates provided after the training must be kept on file. The EH&S training schedule is posted at http://www.sc.edu/ehs/LabSafety.htm under "Training".


Annual hazardous waste training has been completed and documented

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA, 40CFR 265.16) requires all hazardous waste generators to complete Hazardous Waste training annually. The initial classroom training is provided by EH&S (Wesley Seigler (seiglerw@mailbox.sc.edu ) and the annual refresher training is available on-line at http://ehs.sc.edu/hazwaste/refresher.htm.


A complete and up-to-date chemical inventory is available and sent to EH&S

All laboratories where chemicals are stored and or used must maintain a current chemical inventory. Minimum required information for the chemical inventory includes name of the chemical, CAS# and quantity available. A template for developing a chemical inventory is available at http://www.sc.edu/ehs/LabSafety.htm. Please forward an electronic copy to EH&S after a every yearly update or before a scheduled safety inspection. Your lab chemical inventory will be uploaded to a central database that contains inventories of all laboratories at USC. Once uploaded, an account will be created to give you access to the database. The database can be accessed by installing Inventory 12.0 on your lab computer and using your account. Future update to your chemical inventory must be performed using your account in the Inventory 12.0 system.


Inventory 12.0 Database has been installed and operational on at least one laboratory computer

All laboratories are required to have the Inventory 12.0 software installed on a lab computer. Please contact Matthew Rorro (rorro@mailbox.sc.edu) to schedule an installation appointment or if you have any comments/questions/concerns pertaining to the database system.


SDS is available for each chemical in the lab

A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) must be available for each chemical in the laboratory. These documents, when provided with the chemical shipment, must be retained in the lab and organized alphabetically in a binder. If the SDS is not provided with the shipment, the company will provide the location of the SDS on their website. Visit the website and print out the MSDS. On-line access to MSDS is acceptable only for chemicals that do not pose serious and immediate danger to life and health. Particularly hazardous chemicals must have printed SDS readily accessible in the lab. Examples of these are hydroflouric acid, nitric oxide, mercury, cyanides and others. See item 2 for more information on PHS.



Fume hood is currently certified in good working order by EH&S

Environmental Health and Safety performs the annual certification of all chemical fume hoods at USC. If the fume hood is not currently certified at the time of inspection, the inspector will notify the person in charge of certification.


Fume hood has sufficient work space and is not cluttered

The chemical fume hood must have sufficient work space and should be kept clean and free of unnecessary chemicals, glassware and equipment to ensure that fume hood work space is available when needed. The chemical fume hood may not be used as storage area for equipment, chemicals or chemical wastes.


Fume hood sash is kept in the closed position when not in active use

Fume hood sash must be kept in closed position when not in use or when unattended procedures are taking place inside. This will enable containment in an event of a fire or explosive reactions that may occur.


Fume hood sash is clean, clear and free of cracks

The fume hood sash must be free of cracks; it acts as a barrier between the worker and the hazardous chemicals inside the fume hood. It must be clean and clear to enable the worker to see inside without lifting the sash to a potentially unsafe height.


Fume hood light is working

Light bulbs must be kept in working condition to provide sufficient lighting inside the fume hood.


Fume hood alarm is working and not muted

The fume hood monitor and alarm system is designed to alert workers of insufficient airflow and other problems with the fume hood. NEVER place the alarm on permanent mute mode when it goes off. Contact Jocelyn Locke at 777-7650 or Facilities 777-WORK if you hear the fume hood alarm to have the problem diagnosed and fixed.


Fume hood side panels are intact and the airfoil is free of blockage

Fume hood side panels must be kept intact and the airfoil free of blockage to ensure proper containment and flow of air inside the fume hood.


Lab personnel are aware of recommended sash height for safe use of fume hoods

When working with chemicals inside the fume hood, the fume hood sash must be kept at 18 inches height or below for maximum protection of the worker.



Eyewashes and safety showers are readily accessible

Eyewash and safety showers must be available within 50 feet or ten seconds of travel without any obstruction along the path.


Path to the eyewash and safety shower is unobstructed

Path to and around the safety shower and eyewash must be kept free of obstruction.


Eyewashes flushed weekly and the checks are documented

Eyewashes must be flushed weekly. These checks must be documented on a log sheet posted by the eyewash.


Safety showers are checked at least biannually and checks are documented

Safety showers must be maintained and checked at least twice a year to ensure that they are in good working condition. These maintenance checks must be documented in a log sheet posted by the safety shower.


A fully stocked first aid kit is available

All laboratories are required to keep a first-aid kit to enable treatment of minor cuts and burns and other minor injuries. The first-aid kit must be fully stocked with expired items removed.


A fully stocked spill kit is available

A fully stocked spill kit is essential for future spill response. All laboratories must keep a fully stocked spill kit. The kit must include inert absorbents (kitty litter, vermiculite), acid neutralizers, base neutralizers, spill pillow, plastic broom, plastic dust pan, non-reactive bags and bucket to contain the chemical spill waste. Alternatively, a commercial kit that features universal absorbent pillows or wipes can be purchased.



Appropriate gloves are available and worn for all types of chemicals in the lab

Lab personnel must consult the glove manufacturer and supplier websites for glove compatibility chart to be able to choose the appropriate gloves for the specific chemicals being handled in the lab. Special gloves such as cryogenic gloves and autoclave gloves must be available as needed.


Safety glasses, goggles and face shields are available and worn when necessary

Eye and face protection must be available in the lab. The Principal Investigator or the Lab Manager must ensure that these PPEs are available, clean, and used by personnel as needed.


Splash apron is available and worn when pouring corrosive chemicals

A chemical splash apron must be available and worn when pouring corrosive chemicals.


Lab coats are available for use

Laboratory coats must be available and worn when working with hazardous materials.


Long pants and full coverage shoes are worn in the laboratory

The Principal Investigator and Lab Manager must ensure that long pants and full coverage shoes are worn in the lab.


Ear protection are available where high-noise equipment are used

Mufflers and ear plugs must be available where high noise equipment are present and used in the lab.


Respirator wearers are trained, fit-tested and registered with EH&S

Engineering controls effectively eliminates inhalation hazards in the laboratory such that the use of a respirator is not required. In special cases where respirator must be used, consult Ken Mixon of EH&S to determine the type of respirator needed. The respirator user is required to participate in the EH&S Respiratory Protection Program by going through a medical evaluation and respirator fit testing before respirator can be worn in the lab.


Prescription glasses rather than contact lenses are worn in the lab

Lab personnel are advised to use prescription glasses rather than contact lenses when working with hazardous chemicals. In case of eye exposure, the chemical can potentially lodge between the eyes and the contact lense, thus increasing the time of exposure and aggravating its effect.



Chemicals are stored in secured cabinets, liquids in cabinets below shoulder height and not on the floor

All chemicals must be stored in secured cabinets or shelving to prevent accidental spills. Liquid chemicals must be stored below shoulder height but not on the floor.


Labels of original chemical containers are intact

Original container labels must be intact. Containers must be relabeled if the original labels start to peel off or deteriorate due to aging on the shelf or reaction with chemical fumes in the storage cabinet.


Secondary containers of chemical solutions are properly labeled

Unlabeled chemical containers often result in unknown hazardous waste, which is more expensive to dispose of compared to known waste. All containers of chemical solutions must be labeled with the name of the chemical constituents, the concentration, date prepared and name of the person who prepared the solution. Abbreviations, if used in labeling, must be defined in a laboratory notebook.


Chemical containers are capped and sealed when not in active use

Chemical must be kept in screw capped, leak-proof containers and may not be left open unless in active use.


Chemicals are segregated based on compatibility

Chemicals should not be arranged in alphabetical order without first segregating incompatible compounds. Chemicals that react with each other may not be stored together in the same cabinet. Examples are acids and bases, oxidizers and organic compounds, nitric acid and acetic acid. Contact Jocelyn Locke at jlocke@mailbox.sc.edu if guidance is needed in segregating chemicals. The NIOSH High School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide has excellent guidelines on segregating chemicals based on classes of compounds.


Peroxide formers and other potentially explosive chemicals are dated upon receipt and when opened

Peroxide formers form unstable (explosive) peroxides over time and must be closely monitored in laboratories. Common examples are diethyl ether, tetrahydrofuran and dioxane. These chemicals must be dated upon receipt and when opened and disposed of one year after receipt or six months after opening, whichever comes first. Picric acid and perchloric acid are potentially explosive in anhydrous form and should not be stored for a long time in laboratories. Long term storage can cause these chemicals to lose water (becoming anhydrous) and become explosive.


Flammable chemicals that need to be cooled are stored in flammable-safe or explosion-proof refrigerators

Household-type refrigerators may not be used to store flammable chemicals. Electrical components inside these type of refrigerators will be a source of spark or ignition, which, combined with enough flammable vapors can result to an explosion. Flammable-safe and explosion-proof refrigerators do not have electrical components inside the unit and therefore are safe for storage of flammable chemicals.



If the lab uses HF, the following are available: unexpired Ca Gluconate gel, unexpired calcium gluconate eyewash, HF spill kit

Laboratories that store and/or use HF are required to keep calcium gluconate gel and calcium gluconate eyewash as HF antidote for skin and eye exposure, respectively. Ensure that these antidotes are not expired before starting work with HF. HF spill kit is also necessary to clean-up spilled HF.


Laboratories that use mercury thermometers have mercury spill kit

Laboratories that use mercury thermometers must keep a mercury spill kit to use in spill clean-up should the thermometers break. It is highly recommended that mercury thermometers be replaced by alcohol-based units to avoid the need to clean-up potential mercury spills.


Detection system for flammable and toxic or highly toxic gases

Laboratories that store and/or use flammable, toxic or highly toxic gases are required to install detection systems and other necessary engineering controls to minimize the risk of property damage or worker exposure to these hazardous gases.



Gas cylinders are located away from heat sources and high-traffic areas

Storage areas for gas cylinders must be away from heat sources and high-traffic areas.


Gas cylinders are securely strapped or chained

Compressed gas cylinders must be either placed on a cylinder stand on the floor or securely strapped/chained to a bench or wall in an upright position when stored or while in use. This will prevent the cylinder from tipping over if accidentally bumped.


Gas cylinders are stored by compatibility

Flammable gasses must be stored away from oxidizers while toxic gases must be stored separate from non-toxic gases.


Gas cylinders are fitted with a regulator or capped when not in use

Gas cylinders must be fitted with regulators while in use and valve caps when not in use. Capping the cylinder is required even if the cylinder is empty. This protects the cylinder valve should the cylinder fall over.


Gas cylinder labels are intact

Original cylinder labels from the supplier must be intact and readable. Cylinder colors may not be used to identify the gas content of cylinders.


Gas cylinders are securely transported using a hand truck

Hand trucks with chain must be available and used in labs to enable safe transport of cylinders.


Gas connections are tested initially and periodically for leaks

Fittings and connections must be tested initially and periodically for possible leaks.


Gas cylinders hydrostatic testing is current and old cylinders are returned to supplier

Hydrostatic testing of cylinders are stamped on the cylinder and should not be more than 5 years for most cylinders. Cylinders that have been stored in the lab for 2 years or more should be checked for hydrostatic test date and returned to the supplier immediately if the testing is not current.



A current Hazard Information Notice is posted at the lab entrance door(s)

NFPA 45 requires facilities to be identified by signs to warn Emergency Personnel of the hazards they may be exposed to in the laboratory. University policy requires the use of the Hazard Information Notice for this purpose. Hazards listed and contact information, including names and phone numbers, must always be up to date. A template is available on-line at http://ehs.sc.edu/LabSafety/Labstartup.htm.


A lab Emergency Action Plan is posted by the exit door(s)

Every department must have an Emergency Action Plan which details emergency response procedures, phone numbers to call, escape routes and employee assembly area. A model plan is available at http://ehs.sc.edu/LabSafety/Labstartup.htm. Detailed procedures for clean-up of spills and response in the event of chemical exposure must also be posted by the exit door.


Walkways are unobstructed and exits are marked

Walkways inside and out of the laboratory must be free of obstruction and exits must be clearly marked.


Sprinkler heads are not blocked within 18 inches from the ceiling

Sprinkler heads must not be obstructed by any equipment or storage items within 18 inches from the ceiling. In buildings without a sprinkler system, a 2-ft clearance must be maintained.


Fire extinguisher is available, is unobstructed and mounted near the exit door

All fire extinguishers must be mounted near an exit door and remain unobstructed at all times.


Fire extinguishers are inspected monthly and the inspections are documented

The EH&S Fire Safety Department inspects all USC fire extinguisher on an annual basis. The lab personnel must inspect the fire extinguishers monthly to ensure that the cylinder pressure is on green, that the pin is intact and the hose and nozzle assembly is in good condition. Monthly inspection must be recorded on the hang tag attached to the cylinder.


Flammables in excess of 10 gal are stored in flammable cabinets with sealed vent

It is recommended that all laboratories minimize stored flammable liquids below 10 gallons. Any mount in excess of 10 gallons must be stored in flammable cabinets with sealed vents.


Large metal drums of flammable liquids are grounded during transfer

Large containers of flammable liquids are not recommended in laboratories because of the serious fire hazard associated with them. It is recommended that one-gallon containers be purchased instead. In cases where the use of a large metal drum of flammable liquid is justified, the metal drum must be grounded and a pump must be used to draw or transfer the liquid to a smaller container.


Solvent pumps are used to transfer flammable liquids from 5-gallon or larger containers.

Flammable liquids may not be poured out of 5-gallon or larger containers to prevent possible spill. Solvent pumps must be used to transfer flammable liquids from large containers to smaller ones.



There is at least 3 feet clearance around circuit breaker panel

A 3-ft clearance around circuit breaker panel must be maintained for easy access.


Openings on circuit panel, receptacle boxes are covered

Circuit panels and all electrical outlets must have receptacle cover in place.


GFCI are used near sinks and wet areas

GFCI outlets must be used within 6 ft. of sinks and other wet areas.


Lab appliances are plugged directly into electrical outlets, not extension cords, and cords are not frayed

Extension cords may not be used in place of permanent wiring. Additional electrical outlets should be installed to accommodate all equipment.



Hazardous waste container are capped and sealed uless actively adding waste.

EPA (40 CFR 265.173(a)) requires that containers holding hazardous waste be kept closed during storage, except when it is necessary to add or remove waste. In addition, 40 CFR 265 Subpart 1 states that hazardous waste must be compatible with the container in which it is stored.


Hazardous chemical wastes are stored in sealed and compatible containers

EPA (40 CFR 265.173(a)) requires that containers holding hazardous waste be kept closed during storage, except when it is necessary to add or remove waste. In addition, 40 CFR 265 Subpart 1 states that hazardous waste must be compatible with the container in which it is stored.


Containers are labeled with contact information and contents with full chemical name

EPA (40 CFR 262.32) requires that all containers offered for transport be identified with generator information. DOT [49 CFR 172.301(b) and 49 CFR 172.308] requires that all packages offered for transport be marked with technical names without any abbreviations.


Outdated or unused chemicals are disposed of as hazardous waste through EH&S

The laboratory must periodically check chemicals for expiration dates and dispose of unused and outdated chemicals as hazardous waste through EH&S. Pick-up request can be initiated on-line at http://www.sc.edu/ehs/hazwaste/hw2.htm.


Broken glass is disposed of in plastic-lined sturdy boxes and not overfilled

To prevent the custodial staff from getting injured handling the trash, all broken glass must be disposed of in small a plastic lined cardboard box. A heavy-duty plastic lining will catch excess liquids from the glassware and also prevent sharp edges from sticking through the cardboard box. The size of the box must be small enough such that the resulting weight of a full container is not excessively heavy. DO NOT OVERFILL. The box must be sealed with tape when full and labeled “ Broken Glass” and placed by the regular trash. All sharps (syringes and needles, scalpels, blades) must be placed in a sharps container, not in broken glass box.


Universal wastes (used oil, lamps, bulbs, batteries) are collected, stored and disposed of properly.

Universal wastes such as used oil, lamps, bulbs and batteries must be stored in compatible containers or boxes and disposed of through EH&S. Used oil is collected during hazardous waste pick-up. For all other universal waste, please call Roddy Whitaker at 7-2839.



Food and drink are stored and consumed only in designated areas outside the lab

Drinking, eating, or storage of food and drinks are prohibited in USC laboratories and maybe consumed only in designated clean area.


Appliances are designated for lab use and are labeled accordingly

Refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, ice machines and similar appliances must be labeled "for lab use only", "no food or drinks", "no flammable storage" or "not for human consumption" , as applicable.


Designated areas are labeled and hazard warning posted

Specific work areas for biological materials, radioactive materials, laser equipment, animals and the like must be designated and labeled accordingly.


Designated "office work" station is located away from high-hazard areas

Computer work station and other office work desks must be located away from high-hazard work areas or equipment such as: chemical fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, radiation work area, biohazard and animal work areas, laser equipment, high magnetic field areas and others.


Unattended operations (e.g. vacuum pumps, distillation, shakers) are protected

Equipment and machines designed to run without constant supervision such as distillation apparatus, vacuum pumps and shakers must have protective cover if applicable and must be protected from any outside disturbance and/or power and water outage.


Work benches and walkways are free of clutter

It is important to keep benches and walkways free of clutter. Unnecessary equipment, glassware and supplies on benches should be stored in designated storage cabinet instead to ensure sufficient work space for performing experiments. Storage items in walkways are trip hazards that need to be avoided.


Chemical spills are cleaned-up promptly

Small-scale spills must be cleaned up by lab personnel responsible for the spill. Spills on or around balances, on benches and in fume hoods must be cleaned up immediately. Call EH&S at 7-5269 for help with cleaning up large spills, spills that pose inhalation hazards or highly hazardous chemicals such as mercury or HF.


Mechanical pipetting devices are available and used

Pipetting by mouth is not allowed in USC laboratories. Mechanical pipetting device must be available and used.


PPEs are removed and hands washed before leaving the lab

Lab coats, gloves and other PPEs may not be worn in public places and corridors and must be removed before leaving the lab. Hands must be washed thoroughly before leaving the lab.



DEA and DHEC Permit is available and current

Laboratory has an approved and current permit to use DEA-controlled substances for scientific research.


DEA-controlled substances are stored in secured location

DEA-controlled substances must be stored in secured location in locked cabinets or safe.


DEA-controlled substances are recorded in an inventory

An inventory reflecting the controlled substances available on hand is kept up-to-date.


DEA-controlled substances usage is logged adequately

Usage of controlled substances must be recorded on a log sheet.


DEA-controlled substances are current; expired substances are disposed of appropriately.

Expiration dates of controlled substances must be closely monitored. Only current substance may be used for research and expired substances must be clearly labeled and disposed of properly.



Slips, trips, fall, ergonomic and other issues

Laboratories are free of other safety issues that may be considered trips, slips, fall, ergonomic or others.


Work with recombinant DNA, BSL-2 agents and above are registered with EH&S Biosafety

All work with recombinant DNA, select agents, biological toxins, human-derived materials and other potentially infectious materials must be registered with EH&S Biosafety and approved by the IBC. Contact Mark Robbins at mrobbins@mailbox.sc.edu for further information.

Appendix XIII. Safety Information Sheets and Posters*

*Click on the link above to print safety policies, procedures, information sheets and posters on specific laboratory safety topics.

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