There are times when researchers relinquish control of their lab spaces to contractors, maintenance personnel or new researchers. We cannot assume that these people will know the value or the hazards of the materials you have in that lab.

Protect others as well as your research by following these procedures whenever you plan to renovate, relocate, install new lab equipment or the lab oversight and responsibility changes.

Risk Management & Safety requests that departments provide notification to 2-3 weeks before a Principal Investigator leaves the University for any reason. This allows time to review and remove all hazardous materials from the lab before equipment, supplies and furniture are moved or relocated.  

Renovating a Lab/Installing New Equipment

Review the information below before you renovate a lab or order new lab equipment. Since UVM laboratories are of varied vintage and have unique infrastructure, planning is key to make equipment installations and lab renovations go smoothly.

Contact these departments to ensure compliance with appropriate building, electrical and fire codes.

Facilities Design and Construction (FD&C):
Before renovating or changing a current UVM (lab or non-lab) space, contact FD & C. 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.

UVM Physical Plant Department (PPD):
Submit a Famis Service Request 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.

If contractors need to be hired for a project or equipment installation, FD&C or PPD coordinate the contractors. Contractors must follow OSHA requirements as stated in the UVM Contractor's Handbook. FD&C or PPD ensure that all contracts meet UVM procurement requirements. They will assign a project manager to supervise and direct the work being done in your area.

Whenever possible, ask equipment manufacturer's for the following before purchasing a new piece of lab equipment:

  • technical specifications for the equipment,
  • warranty information, and
  • maintenance requirements.

FD&C or PPD personnel can review technical specifications and help you determine whether or not building infrastructure changes are necessary.


Questions to Consider Before Purchasing New Equipment

Before purchasing new lab equipment, determine the following:

  • What hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological, physical hazards) may be used with the equipment.
  • How will the equipment be used?
  • Who are the equipement users?

The questions below are designed to assist you in determining your infrastructure needs. Failure to take these aspects into account can delay the installation of your equipment or halt the installation altogether. Additional funding may be necessary to address any building infrastructure changes.


Questions that need answers before purchasing

If you are unsure how to answer any of these questions, please talk to the equipment manufacturer and request a specification sheet and/or installation manual for the equipment prior to purchasing. Consult with Risk Management & Safety, Physical Plant and/or the Facilities Design and Construction Department BEFORE purchasing the equipment.

What are the laboratory ventilation needs for the equipment?

  • Will chemical vapors or fumes be produced by the use of the equipment?
  • Will biological aerosols be created?
  • Will heat be generated, either by the motor of the equipment or during the process (ex. ovens and autoclaves)?
  • Will there be any hot works being done (ex. soldering, welding)?
  • Any toxic or hazardous gases that will be used?

What are the electrical needs for the equipment?

  • Does the equipment require 110v or 208v power? What's the amperage draw on the equipment?
  • What type of plug does the equipment have (standard 3 prong, twist lock, straight pins, etc)?
  • Is emergency power needed for this equipment? Is emergency power available in your building or area?
  • Is an emergency power shut-off required?
  • Do interlocks with warning lights need to be installed (ex. Class 3B or 4 lasers)?

What are the water or plumbing needs?

  • Does the equipment have a condensate or other type of drain? Does this drain need to be connected to the sanitary sewer? (NOTE: chemical waste drains must connect to a chemical waste bottle that can be changed routinely)
  • Does the equipment need to be directly connected to water?
  • Does the equipment need to be connected to the building natural gas lines? Does your building have natural gas plumbed to each lab?
  • If your building has a compressed gas manifold system, does your equipment need to be connected to this system?
  • Do you intend to install a compressed gas manifold system as part of the equipment installation?

What are your space needs?

  • Is the room where the equipment will be installed designated as a lab space? Does it have appropriate ventilation and building services?
  • How will the equipment be delivered and removed from the truck?
  • Is the parking lot and/or loading dock sufficient to receive this equipment?
  • Will a crane or forklift be necessary to move the equipment?
  • Will the equipment fit in the building elevator? If your building does not have an elevator and you are not on the main level, how do you plan on getting the equipment to your lab?
  • Will the equipment fit through your lab door?
  • Will the lab have the required aisle space and emergency egress once the equipment is installed?
  • Does the equipment need additional space to allow for proper exhaust or heat to dissipate? (ex. Ultra low temperature freezers should be located 4-6 inches away from the wall and with 4-6 inches between equipment)
  • Will the room need additional cooling capacity if the equipment generates heat?

Are there any additional considerations?

  • What is the weight of the equipment to be installed? Physical Plant Dept (PPD) or UVM Facilities, Design & Construction (FD&C) and/or a structural engineer may need to be consulted.
  • Does the equipment need to be connected to a remote alarm system in the event of an unplanned power outage or equipment failure? Discuss the installation or monitoring of remote alarm systems with PPD building controls group.
  • What are the routine maintenance needs of the equipment? 
  • Will you need to access specific points of the equipment in order to repair?
  • Pressure vessels (ex. autoclaves) require a certification at installation and a routine inspection by a State inspector. Submit a Work Order if your pressure vessel has not been inspected.

Lab AREA Clearance Procedures

The Lab Area Clearance form is to be used whenever maintenance, repairs, or renovations are to be done in a portion of the lab. If the entire lab is being renovated, please use the Lab Clearance form described in the section below this one. 

The purpose of this form is to increase communication between lab workers and physical plant (PPD) employees, to ensure the area is safe for PPD when they conduct maintenance or fix something in the lab, and to ensure research does not get contaminated or damaged. There are descriptions here of each area of the form to help ensure it's used properly. If there are any questions, please contact


Section 1 - Room/Contact Information

Assign a knowledgable and responsible contact person, and include a phone number and email for this person. When describing the "Work Area," be as clear as possible. If necessary, use tape or something similar to designate the clean/safe space. If the clearance is for the entire lab, use the Lab Clearance Form instead.

Section 2 - Reason for Clearance

Check the reason for needing to complete the clearance process and what hazards have been present in this portion of the lab. This will make it easier to ensure that all hazardous materials have been moved.

Section 3 - Compliance Activity

The Compliance Activities must be completed prior to PPD completing work in the space. Read each activity carefully to ensure that nothing is missed. Once completed, check the correct box under "Lab Representative." 

  • Empied/Cleaned work area. Be sure to disinfect or neutralize any surfaces that have been contaminated. At a minimum, wipe down all surfaces that are within the scope area with soap and water.
  • Hazardous materials and gas cylinders have been moved. Hazardous materials do not need to be removed from the lab, but they must be moved out of the work area. 
  • Benchtop equipment has been moved. Ensure PPD has access to the area that needs maintenance/fixing.
  • All lab coats have been moved. Even if the lab coats are clean, they must be moved out of the work area (to a different part of the lab is fine).
  • Sinks are cleaned with no debris. Be sure to clean the sink and remove any debris, specially if the sink is what needs maintenance/fixing.

Section 4 - Review

After the clearance procedures have been completed, the lab representative from Section 1 should sign and date the form. Leave the shaded area blank for the RMS reviewer to sign off on the lab space as needed. If deemed necessary, the lab representative or PPD may contact the lab safety coordinator for that building to review the space and complete the clearance. 

Closing/Moving: Lab Clearance Procedures

UVM's clearance procedure is used to help protect university employees and contractors from exposure to laboratory hazards as well as to protect research materials. All cleanup procedures need to be performed utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task.The Lab Clearance process can take time to be completed properly.

Please work out a schedule with Risk Management & Safety staff as soon as possible.We need, at a minimum, 2 weeks advance notice of any lab vacancy, maintenance, or renovation.

When a UVM laboratory closes, laboratory supervisors or department chairs follow the procedure below.

  • Notify your Laboratory Safety Coordinator or email if you intend to close a part or all of your lab.
  • Complete the laboratory clearance checklist according to the directions and post appropriately (both described below).
  • Once RMS has verified completion of the clearance, the paper will be flipped to display the "Clearance is Complete" side of the form.


  1. Building, Room and Responsible Lab Representative

Fill in the building and room number of the lab that will be closed. If the entire lab is to be closed, write "entire lab" in the "Work Area" section. Name a knowledgeable and responsible person as the lab representative. Finally, include a phone number and email for the responsible person.

  1. Reason for Laboratory Clearance

Check the reason for needing to complete the clearance process and what hazards have been present in the laboratory. This will make it easier to ensure that all hazardous materials have been removed.

  1. Compliance Activity

The "Compliance Activities" must be completed before a RMS staff member reviews the lab space. Read each activity carefully to ensure that nothing is missed. Once completed, check the correct box under "Lab Representative." Leave the shaded area under "RMS Reviewer" blank.

  • Dispose of all wastes: During a laboratory clearance, hazardous chemicals stored in the laboratory must be evaluated by the department and/or safety staff to determine the potential use in the new laboratory setting. Chemicals that are no longer wanted, but have not passed their expiration date, and appear to be in good condition may be transferred to a colleague within the same department.

Waste should never be moved to a new laboratory. This is a poor use of time and adds unnecessary risks. Instead of moving wastes, tag them for waste removal BEFORE moving to another laboratory. If there are less than 10 chemical containers to be discarded, tag each one with a completed UVM “Laboratory Waste” tag, and enter the tags online. If there are more chemical containers, contact the safety staff at for special assistance. 

Chemicals from abandoned labs that have not properly followed the clearance procedure often end up as "unknowns" and can be dangerous and expensive when it comes to handling and disposal. One of the main purposes of the lab clearance process is to identify hazardous materials while knowledgeable personnel are available and prevent generating unknowns.

  • Sharps: Properly dispose of razor blades, needles, broken glass or other sharps.

  • Moving Hazardous Materials: Lab personnel can move hazardous materials between labs within a building or connected buildings using a cart and secondary containment. Two people should move the cart in case there is need for help or a spill. Tansport of hazardous materials outside a building must be coordinated with Risk Management & Safety. Please contact RM&S at least two (2) weeks prior to the move date to schedule this service.
  • For lab renovations, chemical containers should be moved and safely stored away from the area undergoing renovation to protect contractors or Physical Plant staff from hazards. If necessary, RM&S can store small quantities of chemicals at our off-site storage facility during the renovation.

Do not move hazardous materials in your own personal vehicle. 
Moving companies should not move any hazardous materials.

  • Compressed Gases: Lab personnel can move cylinders within a building or connected building using a cylinder cart. Gas cylinders that will not be moved to another lab need to be properly disposed. Contact the vendor to remove cylinders or move cylinders to new buildings. For more information, visit the Compressed Gas Safety.

  • Lab Equipment: When disposing of any surplus laboratory equipment, the surplus disposal form must be completed. All materials must be removed from refrigerators, freezers and other equipment and each item must be decontaminated and checked by a member of the safety staff before it can be picked up for disposal. For more information and the disposal form, visit the Dispose of Surplus Lab Equipment page. Some equipment (growth chambers, freezers, etc.) is monitored by building control systems. Contact Physical Plant to arrange for changes to equipment that is centrally monitored or alarmed.

After equipment is cleaned, remove or deface any hazard stickers.

  • Drawers and cabinets: Empty all drawers and cabinets and dispose or transfer the contents.

  • Bench tops: Remove absorbent paper and dispose properly. Wipe all surfaces including benches, cabinets, drawers, shelves and equipment with soap and water.

  • Chemical Storage Areas: Remove absorbent paper and dispose properly. Wipe all surfaces including benches, cabinets, drawers, shelves and equipment with soap and water. Tag chemical contaminated debris for waste disposal.

  • Fume Hoods: Remove absorbent paper and dispose properly. Wipe all surfaces with soap and water.

  • Radiation: Contact the Radiation Safety Office (call 656-2570 or email for proper closeout procedures. If vacating a laboratory, a termination survey must be performed. If renovating a laboratory, then a facility closeout survey must be performed.
  • Biological Clearance: Decontaminate all surfaces and equipment (floors, bench tops, centrifuges, incubators, refrigerators, freezers, etc.) that have been, or may have been, in contact with biohazardous materials using soap and water, then a solution of appropriate disinfectant (e.g. 10% bleach solution), allowing for the required contact time. The principal investigator is responsible for determining the appropriate substance to inactivate the agent. Sanitary drains should be flushed with bleach solution if they are to be disturbed or when a lab is closing.

  • Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC) need to be decontaminated BY AN NSF CERTIFIED BIOSAFETY CABINET TECHNICIAN if relocating, servicing interior components, or salvaging. BSCs shall be certified for proper containment by an NSF certified biosafety cabinet technician after being moved, after decontamination, and annually. Please contact RMS, or Technical Services Partnership (TSP) at 6-3255, at least two week prior to arrange for BSC decontamination as this may take 3-4 weeks to schedule.

  • Samples: Experimental samples need to be appropriately labeled or disposed as waste.

  • Floors: Floors should be cleared of all recycling and solid waste and swept to ensure no eppendorf tubes, dirty kimwipes, or other lab material remains behind.

  • Sinks: Sinks should be empty of lab materials, decontaminated as appropriate and wiped down.

  • General Housekeeping: Glassware, papers, and clutter needs to be managed.

  • Signs: Update or remove hazard signs (e.g. BSL-2 sign) and the emergency contact door sign upon vacating a laboratory and/or removing hazards. Update the online laboratory inventory with any changes. 


After the clearance procedures have been completed, the responsible lab representative from section 2 should sign and date the form. Leave the shaded area blank for the RMS reviewer to sign off on the lab space. Contact your laboratory safety coordinator to review the space and complete the clearance. Once your lab has completed the clearance procedure, the online inventory and registry for your lab will be archived. A safety staff member will complete this portion of the procedure.


Transferring Materials To Another Lab

If any chemicals or biohazardous materials are to be transferred to another laboratory supervisor, complete the appropriate Transfer of Responsibility form [link]. The materials should be kept in the laboratory until they can be properly moved and received.


Post Lab Clearance Document On Lab Door

For entire lab: Post the checklist on affected laboratory doors.

For a portion of the lab: If you are using this form as a means of clearance for a portion of the lab, place the checklist in the location of the cleared portion of the lab. 

After the RMS reviewer has certified completion of the laboratory clearance, the form will be posted on the laboratory door displaying the "Clearance is Complete" to signify that the lab is ready for construction, renovation, or closure.

Dispose of Surplus Lab Equipment

Lab Equipment Disposal Procedure

Lab equipment must be properly decontaminated before leaving the laboratory for disposal.  The decontaminating can be a fresh 10% bleach/water solution sprays inside and outside of the unit. This is to protect UVM Recycling staff or an outside commercial moving company while handling your surplus equipment.

You must ensure that the equipment is free of radiological, biological and chemical contamination. Do the following:

A copy of the Surplus Disposal Form must be on the equipment and attached to your Famis Service Request.  

Hazardous Component Removal

Hazardous components must be removed from lab equipment before it can be safely disposed of as scrap metal. The manual, equipment schematic diagragm or manufacturer can often tell you if there are hazardous components or not. Hazardous components may include the following:

  • Fluorescent or UV lightbulbs
  • Mercury switches
  • Freon, glycols, or other refrigerants,  (Drained liquid must be collected as a lab waste; tag for disposal.)
  • Hydraulic oil, vacuum pump oils, etc
  • Capacitors
  • Batteries

Contact UVM Technical Services Program to remove embedded hazardous components from your lab equipment before you submit your Surplus Form or Famis Service Request.


Decontaminate Lab Equipment Before Disposal

  • Equipment that contains a radioactive source or that potentially came in contact with radioactive materials must cleared by UVM Radiation Safety (802-656-2570) prior to disposal.
  • Equipment used with biological materials must be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant, such as 10% bleach solution or 70% ethanol prior to UVM Recycling staff handing it for disposal. Decontaminate all exposed surfaces (inside and out). Spray and leave disinfectant on for appropriate contact time to kill any contamination.
  • If you are disposing of a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) that was used with infectious agents, contact to have us assist you with proper decontamination through UVM Technical Services Program (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 for guidance.


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.