Clearance of Laboratories Where Hazardous Materials Have Been Used
This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: April 2014
Each department head has the responsibility for ensuring that space allocated to his/her department is used safely and in compliance with occupational and environmental health and safety standards. This responsibility includes compliance with life safety codes and regulations involving the use, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials.
Individual faculty members are responsible to the department head for the safe use of assigned spaces. This includes supervision of post-doctorals, research faculty, graduate students, staff, and students working under the direction or authorization of faculty.
Problems may occur if a faculty member ceases employment with the University and leaves behind a laboratory containing hazardous materials. To prevent such problems, the Environment, Health and Safety Office must be notified prior to vacating a lab. An exit inspection will then be performed to identify actions needed to ensure the space is ready for the next occupant. See Clearance Procedures.
When any move from a laboratory is planned, the faculty member or department to whom the space has been assigned is to inform the Environment, Health and Safety Office as early as practicable. A minimum notice of thirty days is recommended. Clearance for the next occupant or renovations may be delayed if sufficient notice is not given.
The procedures for obtaining clearance of a laboratory are as follows:
- Notify the Environment, Health and Safety Office by email to Steve Parker.
- Request a waste pick up of radioactive and hazardous wastes using the online waste pickup form.
- If you believe you have unknown waste chemicals in your lab, first try to identify the contents by asking the lab occupants. If still unable to identify, notify the Hazardous Materials Manager, Steve Parker, from Environment, Health and Safety at 919-962-5509, or send a detailed email to Steve Parker.
- Clean your lab space in a manner appropriate to adequately remove, neutralize, disinfect, and decontaminate any residual materials on surfaces. This includes floors, walls, benches, cabinets and equipment that will remain.
- Do not remove any warning signs. Signs must be left in place until the space has passed the final exit inspection by the Environment, Health and Safety Office.
- Conduct a safety inspection and radiation survey, if appropriate, of the space sufficient to assure safe, unrestricted use by other persons. Complete a Safety Clearance Form, EHS Form 401 (see Appendix III – A, Laboratory Safety Manual), and post on outside door to laboratory.
- Upon receipt of the Lab Closeout Procedure Checklist, the Environment, Health and Safety Office will schedule final independent exit inspection.