Before you install new equipment or make a building or lab modification, contact the departments located below to ensure compliance with all appropriate building, electrical and fire codes.
Contact UVM Facilities Design and Construction (FD & C) before expanding or changing a current UVM (lab or non-lab) space. Without notifying FD & C, you may upset heating, ventilating and electrical systems in other parts of the building. Deans and directors are responsible for reviewing and prioritizing projects within their colleges and units and, in turn, submitting project request proposals. Always submit a Project Request form on the FD & C website.
Contact Physical Plant Department (PPD) by submitting a Famis Work Order before installing any large pieces of lab equipment. PPD can provide you with estimates for the services that they can provide and help to coordinate contractors. Making changes to your lab without notifying PPD can cause disruptions to utilities in other parts of the building. PPD can also help you make safe choices about building materials.
A laboratory decommissioning occurs when a room which contains a laboratory that uses hazardous chemicals undergoes:
- closing, or
- a change in laboratory supervision.
The Laboratory Decomissioning Procedure and Clearance Checklist are used to protect University employees and contractors from exposure to laboratory hazards.
Lab Clearance may also include laboratory equipment disposal. Information on this can be found below.
Note: chemicals must be removed from the lab area prior to any construction or renovation.
One of the main purposes of the lab decommissioning process is to prevent the generation of unknown chemicals. Chemicals from abandoned labs that are not properly decommissioned often end up with unreadable labels or labels that are not complete; these chemicals are determined to be "unknowns" and can be dangerous and expensive when it comes to handling and disposal.
During a laboratory decommissioning, hazardous chemicals stored in the laboratory must be evaluated by the department and Safety staff to determine whether they are likely to be used in the new laboratory setting. Chemicals that have not past their expiration date or appear to be in good condition may be transferred to a colleague within the same department or released to the Safety department for re-sale to another campus lab.
When a UVM laboratory closes, laboratory supervisors or department chairs should follow the procedure below to request the help of Environmental Safety (ES) staff with the laboratory decommissioning process.
- Download & complete the Lab Clearance Checklist (PDF) and send it to Safety at 667 Spear Street at least 2 weeks prior to the laboratory closing date. This information can be emailed or faxed to ES at 656-5407.
- If there are 20 or fewer chemical containers to be discarded, tag each one with a completed UVM “Laboratory Waste” tag. If there are more than 20 chemical containers, contact ES staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for special assistance.
- Unknown chemicals must be identified prior to closing the laboratory. If you have unknowns, extra time must be allotted to assist in identifying the chemical for disposal. Handling unknown chemicals can be dangerous and identification for disposal is expensive and time consuming, so please make every effort to maintain the integrity and accuracy of chemical labels and collect any information possible about the unknown chemical.
- The transportation of hazardous chemicals is subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and must be overseen by ES staff. Under no conditions may laboratory staff transport hazardous materials in personal vehicles.
If you have questions about this procedure, contact us email@example.com.
Lab equipment must be properly decontaminated before leaving your laboratory. Whether the equipment is to be moved by UVM Recycling staff for surplus disposal or it is being relocated and moved by an outside commercial moving company, it must be certified free of radiological, biological and chemical contamination. All hazardous components must be removed. This includes the removal of lightbulbs, mercury switches, capacitors, batteries and other components.
Download the Surplus Disposal Form to be sure you have followed the proper equipment disposal procedure. All laboratory equipment must be cleared by Safety staff prior to disposal through UVM Solid Waste & Recycling.
NOTE: if the equipment has been used in an office or an area that had no potential for exposure to chemical, biological, or radioactive materials, clearance through Safety staff is not necessary.
- Any equipment that contains a radioactive source or that potentially came in contact with radioactive materials must be tested and cleared by UVM Radiation Safety staff (firstname.lastname@example.org or 656-2570) prior to disposal.
- Equipment that has been used in experiments involving biological materials must be decontaminated with a 10% bleach solution by laboratory personnel prior to anyone handling it for disposal. All exposed surfaces of the equipment or potentially contaminated furniture must be spayed and wiped down with the bleach solution. Be sure to have enough contact time to kill any contamination.
- If your laboratory is disposing of a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) that has been used with infectious agents, you will need to contact email@example.com to help coordinate proper decontamination through UVM TSP.
- All other laboratory equipment can be decontaminated with soap and water solution or mild detergent. If your equipment appears too contaminated to perform decontamination safely, contact Safety staff for guidance.
- Equipment that contains oil (e.g. vacuum pumps) or glycol (e.g. Beckman Green Lite II Cooler) must be properly drained of its liquid contents prior to disposal. The owner of the equipment must drain the liquid, and collect it in a proper waste container and fill out a waste tag for disposal through Risk Management & Safety.
Electronic Waste Disposal
Protect the safety of UVM employees and the environment by properly handling equipment at the end of its useful life. While electronic equipment does not need to be "cleared" by Safety staff, E-waste, such as computers, monitors, laptops and similar items, must not be placed with regular trash. More information may be found on the UVM recycling website.