The self-inspection is an integral part of UVM's Lab Safety Plan and follows UVM's Policy for Laboratory Health and Safety.

Each category on the self-inspection checklist has been detailed in the below sections. On the front of the form, make sure to complete the lab information. This can be especially usefull in shared laboratory spaces.

If there is any issue with a item from the checklist, please make note of it in the "NOTES" portion of the form. It is important to include the resolution to ensure that the problem has been rectified.

If your lab will be temporarily closed for any reason (e.g. field work, sabbatical, etc.), contact your Lab Safety Coordinator to arrange for temporary reduction in inspection requirements. It is very likely that a pared down inspection will be necessary to ensure the lab will be ready for use upon your return.

Annual Tasks

There are a number of tasks that should be completed at a minimum of once per calendar year:

Refresher training

Each year, the safety staff develops a refresher training for laboratory researchers that is required by everyone in the lab. It generally takes about 20-30 minutes to complete, and it reviews issues that have occurred over the last year and how to prevent them.

Defrosting freezers/refrigerators

To avoid dangerous ice buildup in freezers/refrigerators, it is important to defrost the appliance yearly. If your lab does not have access to a floor drain, make sure that the defrost water is controlled in order to avoid damage to the lab.

Archiving samples

Make sure to label research samples for archival storage as appropriate. If samples are no longer useful, and you wish to dispose of them, complete the research sample disposal form.

Reviewing lab chemicals

It is important to review lab chemicals periodically to avoid dangerous situations. Old containers may fail leading to spills of, and possible exposure to, chemicals. Old labels may degrade and become illegible creating unknown chemical wastes. If you find there are many chemicals that need disposal during your review, do NOT tag each container individually. Contact your Lab Safety Coordinator to help segregate and tag the waste.

Lab Registration and Notebook

The Lab Registry and online inventory must be updated a minimum of every 6 months, or whenever there has been a change in the lab. Visit the Lab Registry for more information, or go directly to updating your registry.

The Lab Safety Notebook should be updated anytime something changes in the lab or a new researcher joins the lab.

Emergency Preparedness

This section of the checklist is to make sure your lab is prepared for emergencies. If any task is unable to be completed, fix the issue or contact your Lab Safety Coordinator for help.

Physical Safety

Making the physical safety in the lab a priority can reduce easily preventable incidents like trips and falls. Identify the Hazards has more information about various physical hazards, such as ladders and ergonomics.

Below is more background about specific points on the checklist:

Lab doors are kept closed. All lab doors must be kept closed in order for the building's ventilation to work as designed. Maintaining a pressure differential between the lab and the hallway is nearly impossible when the door is open. In addition, all lab doors on campus are considered fire doors and must be kept closed at all times. If your lab door automatically closes, do NOT use a door stop to hold it open.

Sharps, razor blades...are disposed in rigid puncture-resistant, labeled containers... Make sure all sharps are properly disposed. Do not dispose of any sharps in the trash. Biologically-contaminated sharps: into sharps container, then into a biohazard box. Chemically- or non-conaminated sharps can be tagged as waste.

"Uncontaminated Waste" boxes...when full are placed in an appropriate dumpster. Uncontaminated waste boxes must be disposed directly into a dumpster. Do NOT leave one of these boxes outside next to the dumpster. If you pick up a box and it doesn't have a plastic liner with it, email safety@uvm.edu.

Environmental Sustainability

The checklist items in this category are just a few ways to help keep UVM labs environmentally sustainable. By ensuring the fume hood sash is closed completely when not in use is a way to save an incredible amount of energy every day. Turning off any lights (fume hoods, equipment, room, etc.) is another way to save energy.

If there is a problem in your lab with any building system (e.g. the fume hood sash doesn't close all the way), put in a work order with PPD. 

Chemical Safety

This category of the checklist has more items than the previous categories due to the variety of safety concerns. For more information, visit the Chemical Safety.

Below is more background about the different sections of this category.

Preparing for Chemical Work

It's important to review the lab safety notebook, including current risk assessments (CUPFs, SOPs, etc.), with new lab personnel before work begins in the lab. All lab workers should review assessments as changes or updates are made.

All lab workers must be trained before working in the lab, and everyone must complete the yearly online refresher.

Controlling Hazards of Chemical Work

Controlling the chemical hazards in a lab requires determining appropriate storage as well as proper handling.

Chemical Waste Management

Chemical waste is a category often included in refresher trainings due to improper management. The portion of the checklist can help labs avoid mishandling their chemical wastes.

Biosafety

Below is more background about the different sections of this category.

Preparing to Work with Biohazardous Material

It's important to review the lab safety notebook, including current risk assessments (IBC approved protocols, SOPs, etc.), with new lab personnel before work begins in the lab. All lab workers should review assessments as changes or updates are made.

Verify that equipment is in good working order before use.

Training

All lab workers must be trained before working in the lab, and everyone must complete the yearly online refresher.

Biosafety Controls

Controlling the biohazards in a lab requires proper handling, PPE, and hazard communication.

Biowaste Management

This portion of the checklist can help labs avoid mishandling their biological wastes.