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LABORATORY INSPECTIONS Jerry Gordon Manager For Laboratory Safety Programs

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1 LABORATORY INSPECTIONS Jerry Gordon Manager For Laboratory Safety Programs

2 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.

3 Objectives 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

4 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

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 Inspection Areas Housekeeping General Safety Chemical Safety Chemical Waste / EPA Other Wastes Other Regulations Emergency Communication

11 Housekeeping 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

12 Housekeeping 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

13 Housekeeping 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

14 General Safety Personal Protective Equipment Electrical Safety Refrigerators Machine Guarding Fume Hoods Gas Cylinders Respirators

15 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

16 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?

17 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

18 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

19 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

20 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

21 Refrigerators 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

22 Refrigerators 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

23 Refrigerators 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

24 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

25 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

26 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

27 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

28 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

29 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

30 Respirators 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

31 Chemical Safety Proper Labeling Chemical Segregation Chemical Storage Peroxide Formers

32 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

33 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

34 Chemical Labeling Should date containers when received and opened – Dispose of expired and old chemicals Especially recommended for peroxide formers

35 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

36 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 –

37 General Hazard Classes Flammable liquids Flammable solids Water reactives Oxidizers Cyanides Compressed gases Poisons Organic acids Inorganic acids Nitric acid Perchloric acid Bases Radioactive Biohazards

38 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

39 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

40 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

41 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

42 Peroxide Formers Common examples include: – Ethyl ether – Dioxane – Tetrahydrofuran – Sodium amide – Potassium metal There are many others out there – read material safety data sheets

43 Chemical Waste / EPA Hazardous Waste Issues Satellite Accumulation Areas Other Wastes Universal Wastes Used Oil

44 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”

45 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

46 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

47 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

48 Other Wastes Check with building manager first to see what program they have for other wastes Universal wastes Used oil Solutions containing Silver

49 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

50 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

51 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

52 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

53 Other Regulations Radioactive Materials Biohazardous Materials Lasers Pesticides Shipping Security

54 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

55 Radioactive Materials Radioactive stocks must be locked up if no one is in the lab Contact Agnes Morris with questions at

56 Biohazards 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

57 Biohazards 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

58 Biohazards 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 with any questions

59 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

60 Biohazard Sharps Must use a commercially available sharps container – Puncture resistant – Leakproof – Labeled with the biohazard symbol Used food containers are NOT acceptable

61 Biohazards 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

62 Biohazards Dispose of Regulated Medical Waste through EH&S – Vet College has separate procedures Contact Kevin Fitch with questions at

63 Lasers There are special requirements for class 3A and higher Lasers

64 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

65 Lasers 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

66 Lasers 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 for more information

67 Pesticides 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 or

68 Shipping 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 for more information

69 Security 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

70 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

71 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

72 Security Highly recommend attending the new EH&S training program: “ Security of Hazardous Materials Used in Research” Contact Czora at EH&S at for more information

73 Emergency Aisle Space Fire Extinguishers Combustible Storage Spill Kits Emergency Procedures Eyewash/Showers HASP

74 Emergency 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

75 Fire Extinguishers Do not block fire extinguishers Check to make sure extinguishers are fully charged – If not, contact Clayton Bronson at Do not block or wedge fire doors

76 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

77 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

78 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 when new units are installed

79 Spill Kits In case of an emergency or when in doubt, CALL 911 or – Call 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”

80 Hazard Assessment Signage Program (HASP) All labs should have 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 or

81 Communication Chemical Hygiene Plan Standard Operating Procedures Material Safety Data Sheets Training

82 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

83 SOPs Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are required for handling highly hazardous materials: – Highly toxic chemicals – Carcinogenic materials

84 SOPs SOPs include information such as: – Chemical hazards – Authorized personnel – Training requirements – Use location – Personal Protective Equipment – Waste disposal – Decontamination – Exposure – Spill control

85 SOPs See Chemical Hygiene Plan for more information – Generic and specific examples are available via the EH&S webpage - ww.ehs.cornell.edu – EH&S offers a “Writing SOPs” training class

86 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

87 Training 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

88 Training To see a complete list of EH&S training, go to and point to Training, then click on Safety Education Course Listing

89 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

90 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 to set up a time for this training program or for In-Lab training on inspecting your labs

91 QUESTIONS??? Your comments are appreciated, please fill out a training evaluation form. Thank You! Jerry Gordon Manager For Laboratory Safety Programs


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