Lab Survey Checklist Explanations

Image Lab Safety Questions
Comment Number Explanation
(additional information for survey team members and report recipients)
Specific Code Reference
Administrative Plans/Materials
1 Do the lab staff have access to the current version of the UW Lab Safety Manual?
The UW Lab Safety Manual (LSM) is intended to be the cornerstone of the safety program to aid faculty, staff, and students in maintaining a safe environment in which to teach, conduct research, and learn. It is intended to assist in the recognition, evaluation, and control of chemical and physical hazards associated with University laboratory operations. The LSM is your reference for chemical health and safety, your reference for policies affecting UW laboratories at the UW, and it is part of what the Washington Department of Labor and Industries calls a “Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).” You must add additional lab-specific information to have an effective plan; the additional information required is described in Appendix C and D of the LSM. WAC 296-828-20005 requires the chemical hygiene plan to be updated “at least annually”, so EH&S releases a new version of the LSM on an annual basis.

This manual applies to all labs and all labs are required to have a copy of the current version of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual. All lab staff need to know where to access the manual and where to find the lab-specific information which augments the manual. The UW Laboratory Safety Manual and the lab-specific information can be either in paper or electronic format. It must be accessible at all times to all personnel who work with hazardous chemicals, and it is expected that a copy will be stored in each laboratory space where the work is going on. To download an electronic copy or order a hard copy, go to:
WAC 296-828-2005
2 Has the lab-specific information been added to the lab safety manual?
- UW Lab Safety Manual
3 Do all lab personnel have access to written SOPs that document safety procedures?
All labs must have written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that document safety procedures to follow when working with specific hazardous materials. For guidance on how to write an SOP, go to the LSM section on SOPs. Example SOPs for specific chemicals, classes of chemicals, and processes involving chemicals are available at The SOP should be dated and regularly reviewed, and the SOP should include signatures of the author or reviewer.  The SOP should be available in all laboratory spaces where the applicable process takes place or where the applicable chemicals are in use.
WAC 296-800-14005
4 Do all lab staff know how and when to report accidents, incidents, or near misses in OARS?
All accidents and near misses that take place in the lab must be reported to the UW OARS System. For more information on how to use the OARS system go to
WAC 296-800-14005
5 Was a safety self-audit performed within the last 12 months?
To determine whether work areas meet the general safety and health requirements, departments/organizational units must conduct regular, thorough inspections to evaluate work conditions and work practices. These inspections should be held at regular intervals to insure continuing compliance with standards. Download a copy of the EH&S Lab Survey Checklist to use, or a custom checklist may be developed.
- UW Lab Safety Manual
- WAC 296-800
6 Are emergency contact numbers, including after-hours emergency contact numbers for lab staff, posted within the laboratory?
All labs must post emergency and after hours contact numbers within their labs or on the caution sign posted outside the lab. Inside the lab, lab specific information can be listed on the front page of the EH&S flipchart. A blank front page can be downloaded here to be posted after your contact information is filled in. Complete flipcharts are available through EH&S. Contact Tracy Harvey at 206-616-3778.
- WAC 296
- IFC 404
7 Is a lab hazard caution sign posted and current?
All labs are responsible for keeping the information up to date on the lab hazard caution signs posted outside their doors. These caution signs can be updated and printed using the "caution sign" button in MYCHEM. For more information see Note that all new inventory entries and updates also have the potential to change the hazard diamond, so labs should review signage after making significant additions or edits to their inventory.
- UW Lab Safety Manual
- IFC,
Chapter 50
8 Is a biosafety door sign posted when agents are in use and removed when not in use?
The biosafety door sign must be posted when work with biohazardous agents is taking place. If the laboratory allows custodial staff or others to enter the space, the sign should be removed or flipped over when lab work is not being conducted. The link to posting biohazard warning signs is
- BMBL, 5th Edition, Section IV,V
- UW Biosafety Manual, Section IV.B.5
9 Are additional hazard warning signs (laser, magnetic fields, high voltage, etc.) posted in lab near the hazard?
Additional hazard warning signs identifying health and safety hazards beyond the general lab hazard warning sign may be required based on the type of hazard present. Examples may include lasers, magnetic fields, and high voltage. The National Electric Code defines “high voltage” as anything over 600Volts and WAC 296-155-428-L requires signage for any “high voltage” equipment in the work space.
- CFR 21
- OSHA 1926.54
- WAC 296-155-428-L
- Other various regulation specific to hazard
10 Is a laboratory floor plan, as described in the lab safety manual, posted?
A lab floor plan showing the location of emergency and safety equipment should be posted prominently in each lab. See Appendix C in the Lab Safety Manual ( for an example of a lab floor plan.
UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4
Hazard Communication

Has the lab’s chemical inventory been reviewed and updated within the last year?
Chemical inventories need to be reviewed and updated annually and safety data sheets must be readily available (paper or electronic) as a condition of the Seattle Fire Department operating permit. All rooms with chemicals and compressed gases that are under a PI's control must be included. Enter chemicals into MyChem, where they will actually be stored including accessory spaces such as tissue culture rooms, shared rooms, etc. To create an account, contact EH&S at 206-616-4046 or email Additional information is available at and Section 2.B of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual.

IFC, Chapter 50

Is the lab’s contact information current in MYCHEM?
Ensure that the room contact information for all lab spaces has been entered into the MYCHEM system and that the information is up to date. Contact information is important for emergency response. To update this information contact EH&S at 206-616-4046 or email

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 2
13 Can all lab staff readily access an MSDS/SDS via MYCHEM or hardcopy in the lab?
All lab staff must be able to easily access Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) / Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for chemicals in the lab. A Safety Data Sheet (MSDS/SDS) provides basic information on a material or chemical product. The SDS describes the properties and potential hazards of the material, how to use it safely, and what to do in an emergency. All users should know what the MSDS/SDS is and how it is relevant to their health and safety. For more information on how to find MSDS/SDS in MyChem go to
- WAC 296-828-20020
- IFC Chapter 50
14 Are all containers clearly labeled with their contents and primary hazard(s)?
All chemical containers need to be clearly labeled with their contents and the primary hazards of the chemical substance.

Containers of preparations, sample aliquots, and other working solutions are not required to be labeled if the container will be emptied before the end of the work shift and be used by only one person. Preparations and working solutions kept for longer periods or used by multiple people must be labeled with identity of the contents, including chemical names, and hazards. It is also recommended that the labels are dated and initialed. Guidance is available in Section 2.E of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual.
- WAC 296-828-20020
- UW APS 12.5
Lab Training
15 Has a safety training assessment been completed for laboratory staff, students, and volunteers?
Complete a safety training assessment to determine what safety training classes are required for laboratory staff. A safety training matrix is available to assist in determining training requirements.
WAC 296-828-20015
16 Has EH&S safety training been completed and documented for laboratory staff, students, and volunteers?
Documentation that identifies completed EHS training for each member of the lab staff needs to be available and stored in the laboratory space. Download the documentation checklist that is to be signed and dated by both the laboratory staff member and the supervisor. Electronic records of trainings for any laboratory member can be accessed using their UW ID.
WAC 296-828-20015
17 Has lab specific training been completed and documented?
According to state/federal laws and University of Washington policy, principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that all employees and students receive adequate training to understand the hazards in their work area. Training must occur prior to assignments involving potential exposure to chemicals. The laboratory policies on hazard review of new work, working alone or after hours, equipment precautions, use of fire extinguishers, and other relevant practices should be documented.  Laboratory staff must also receive training applicable to all UW employees such as an orientation to their department’s Health and Safety Plan, Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan, and Asbestos General Awareness.

Documentation that identifies the lab specific training for each member of the lab staff needs to be available in paper or electronic format in the laboratory space.  The UW Lab Safety Manual Appendix C provides templates for training logs and a Safety Training Checklist that can be used as applicable.
WAC 296-828-20015
Personal Protective Equipment

Has a PPE hazard assessment been completed for all laboratory activities?
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries requires all employers to assess their work place for hazards that might require the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The supervisor must select the proper equipment and require its use. Due to the complexity of activities and work environments at the University of Washington, we created a laboratory-specific guidance document, Laboratory PPE Hazard Assessment Guide, to assist principal investigators (PIs) and laboratory managers in identifying laboratory hazards and appropriate PPE. A PPE Hazard Assessment that covers all operations must be completed and kept on file in each laboratory space for all lab activities.

For more information on PPE, go to

WAC 296-800-160
19 Have all lab personnel completed PPE Training?
The PI, lab manager, or their designee will review the completed Laboratory PPE Hazard Assessment Guide with each lab member and student. Each lab member will sign the Training Acknowledgement document at the end of the Laboratory PPE Hazard Assessment Guide to acknowledge that they have reviewed and been trained on the Laboratory PPE.

Guidelines on how to provide and document PPE training are found in the Laboratory PPE Hazard Assessment Guide.
WAC 296-800-160
20 If cartridge respirators are being used, have personnel been fit tested?
Lab staff who wear a respirator for exposure protection must be fit tested. See
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.124
Emergency Kits
21 Does the laboratory have access to chemical/biological spill kits?
If working with chemicals or biohazards, a spill kit needs to be available for use to clean up small spills. General Purpose Spill Kits and Mercury Spill Kits are available from VWR through UW E-Procurement. They can also be purchased on campus at Biochemistry Stores or from the Chemistry Stockroom. Information about how to order these kits may be found at:

For information on the contents of the General Purpose Spill Kit see The location of the spill kit should be clearly labeled and also shown on the Laboratory Floor Plan.
- UW Biosafety Manual, Section IV.G
- UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 9
22 Do lab staff have access to a fully stocked first-aid kit?
A fully stocked first-aid kit should be readily available and easily accessible to lab staff at all times. You must make sure that the first aid supplies are stored in a container that protects them from damage, deterioration, or contamination. Containers must be clearly marked, not locked, and able to be moved to the location of the injured or ill worker. At a minimum, supplies should include absorbent compresses, adhesive bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, burn ointment, exam gloves, sterile pads, and triangular bandages, but any first aid supplies relevant to the work being done in the lab should also be included. Check regularly for items that need to be replenished and check expiration dates of items on at least an annual basis. First aid kits can easily be purchased through UW’s E-Procurement.
- OSHA 1910
- WAC-296-800 15020
23 Is food and drink prohibited in laboratory areas?
Food and drink cannot be stored or consumed in laboratory areas because there is a risk of chemical and biological contamination. Generally, break areas should be separated by walls and doors unless a designated area has been established in cooperation with EH&S. It is permissible for personnel to carry food and drink through a lab space to a supporting office that is only accessible through the laboratory. Glassware or utensils that have been used for laboratory operations must never be used to prepare or consume food or beverages.

Laboratory refrigerators, ice chests, and cold rooms must not be used for food or beverage storage. Food refrigerators must be located in break areas or another location separate from laboratory space. In addition to eating and drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics, adjusting contact lenses, taking/storing medicine, and other similar activities should not take place in the laboratory. Laboratory refrigerators should also be labeled "No Food" or "Food Only," depending on their use. These stickers are also available from EH&S.
- 7 CFR 331
- 9 CFR 121
- 42 CFR 73
- BMBL, 5th Edition
Emergency Eyewash/Showers
24 Are eyewashes and showers accessible within ten seconds travel (approx. 50 ft.)?
All labs working with materials that are corrosive, strong irritants, toxic, or biohazards need to have an emergency washing facilities (e.g. eyewash, safety shower) located within ten seconds of the injured person (a travel distance of 50 ft. is deemed to satisfy the ten second requirement) per American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The eyewash is typically placed near an exit. Any location that is upstairs, around corners, through closed doors, or in any other way physically separated from the work environment is considered an inadequate location for an eye wash station. All safety equipment should be located in a low hazard area of the workplace, so locate higher hazard activities away from the eyewash. Keep the immediate area around the eye washes and showers clear at all times. See more information on emergency washing facilities.

Existing laboratories that require additional emergency washing facilities to be installed may be eligible for capital safety funding. To request funding, complete and submit the Capital Safety Request Form.
- WAC 296-800-15030
25 Are eyewashes and showers free of obstructions?
Eyewashes and showers are considered obstructed if they cannot be accessed without moving something, including temporary items, lab supplies, and equipment, or if something adjacent to the unit would make it unsafe to use. They are also considered obstructed if they have to be accessed by going through more than one door or a door that is locked.
- WAC 296-800-15030
- ANSI Z358
26 Are eyewashes routinely flushed?
Eyewashes will be noted as deficient for any of the following:
  • Unit is in disrepair
  • Unit is dirty or contaminated
  • No test label from Facility Services (FS)
  • Test label but no test date by FS within one year

WISHA WAC requires that eyewashes be flushed weekly to check that flow pressure is adequate, assure the water is clear, and to assure the water does not have microorganisms or foreign particles. EH&S will verbally encourage weekly flushing, but it may not be formally documented in the survey report.

Note:  Eyewashes in spaces subject to the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) requirements must be flushed weekly and recorded in a log to meet the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee’s (IACUC) requirements.  IACUC will document failure to do this as a deficiency in their survey report.
- WAC 296-800-15030
- ANSI Z358
27 Are processes that emit vapors, gasses, or fumes adequately captured by local ventilation (hoods, snorkel)?
All chemical processes or reactions that emit vapors, gasses, or fumes need to be located where local ventilation (e.g. fume hood, snorkel hood) is available to vent these potential hazards from the room.
- ASHARAE 110-1995

Are fume hoods kept uncluttered and are rear ventilation slots within the hood not blocked or covered?
A chemical fume hood can provide adequate protection for most laboratory processes if they are used correctly. Fume hoods are analyzed and reported on at least every two years to assess performance standards.

Avoid using the fume hood to store chemicals and equipment which can block the air slot in the back of the hood and adversely affect hood performance and capture, resulting in chemical exposure to the user. There should be a space of 6 inches from the back of the hood to any items kept in the hood. Large bulky equipment used in the hood will cause eddies that can be reduced by making sure there is a 1-2 inch air space on all sides including the bottom. Avoid using equipment that blocks the hood sash from closing. A safer ventilation method may exist in such situations and should be pursued. Fume hoods should not be physically altered without prior approval and consent. Chemicals and equipment not in use should be removed from the hood to a proper storage cabinet. A cluttered hood can also result in spills and other unintended incidents. Allowing volatile chemicals to evaporate to reduce hazardous waste volume is not permissible. For safety and efficiency, fume hood sashes should be closed whenever the fume hood is not in use. See the list of Fume Hood Prudent Practices.


ASHARAE 110-1995
29 Are chemical waste containers in good condition and compatible with their contents?
All containers used to hold hazardous waste must be compatible with their contents and be in good condition. Guidance on containers and waste management can be found in the Managing Lab Chemicals class ( on our website at and in the focus sheet located at
WDOE CH 173-303
30 Are chemical waste containers closed?
All chemical waste containers must be kept closed using a secure lid or cap. Guidance on containers and waste management can be found in the Managing Lab Chemicals class ( on our Web site at and the focus sheet at
WDOE CH 173-303
Hazardous Waste and Disposal
31 Are incompatible chemical wastes segregated by hazard class?
Chemicals that are corrosive, flammable, toxic, or explosive are considered "hazardous". Some additional chemicals are managed as hazardous waste at UW because they are known, probable, or suspected carcinogens, teratogens, irritants, and/or sensitizers (see a current MSDS for the chemical to determine if the chemical is any of these).

All waste containers need to be clearly labeled, segregated, and stored by hazard class (e.g. flammables, acids, bases, etc.) so that incompatible materials cannot react with each other. Failure to do so can result in toxic or explosive reactions causing harm to laboratory members and resulting in laboratory damage. A wide variety of chemicals react dangerously when mixed with certain other substances, so do not pool together waste collections and do not combine wastes based simply on their hazard class. Make note of chemicals, such as nitric acid, that require being stored separately from all other chemicals.

Guidance on containers and waste management can be found on our website in the Managing Lab Chemicals online training and the Hazardous Waste Training course. Also see a summary of chemical waste requirements and resources and the Hazardous Waste Checklist Focus Sheet.

Dispose of hazardous chemicals that are no longer needed and dispose of chemical waste on a regular basis to prevent unnecessary accumulation and increased hazards in the laboratory space. Chemical collections can be scheduled online. Routine pickups can be scheduled using the Routine Chemical Waste Collection Form. See more information on chemical collections.

According to APS 11.2, the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety Department has all responsibility for collection of hazardous waste for the University, at all its campuses and offsite locations. This means that you cannot contract with an outside vendor to collect your waste.

- WDOE CH 173-303
- IFC 2703
32 Are all chemical waste containers labeled with a completed UW hazardous waste label?
Label all containers used to accumulate or store hazardous waste with a completed UW Hazardous Waste Label, including the contents and primary hazards. Containers must be labeled with a UW Hazardous Waste Label as soon as any waste is placed in the container. Fill labels out completely, as shown here:

Deface original labels on reused containers if they previously contained different chemicals. Guidance is available in Section 3.C of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual ( and here:

Free labels are available at Biochemistry Stores and the Chemistry Department Research Stockroom on campus. These labels come in a booklets of 20 and are self-adhesive. Contact Environmental Programs at (206)616.5835 if you would like EH&S to send you some of these labels via campus mail. Templates for printing your own labels are found here:
WDOE CH 173-303
33 Are hazardous chemicals that are treated for disposal via sewer documented in a log?
Guidance is available in Section 3.F.3 of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual, Chemical Waste Management: Sewer Disposal.
WAC 173-303-170

Is lab glass placed in sturdy cardboard boxes that are labeled with the room number and Principal Investigator's name?
A detailed guideline for disposal of sharps and “lab glass” is provided in the UW Laboratory Safety Manual, Section 3, "Chemical Waste Management, J. Sharps and "Lab Glass." A poster is available at Do not put glass containers that have more than trace amounts of chemicals into the glass waste. Do not overfill. Once the box is about 2/3 full, close and seal the box with "GLASS WASTE" tape.

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 3
Chemical Storage/Process
35 Are flammable liquids stored outside of flammable liquid storage cabinets limited to 10 gallons in quantity, and are they stored in approved safety container?
Quantities of flammable and combustible liquids in excess of 10 gallons (38 liters) must be stored in a flammable liquid storage cabinet. Quantities less than 10 gallons are allowed to be stored outside of a cabinet when in approved containers.

Approved container include metal, glass and other materials as outlined in the Lab Safety Manual Section 2 (see Table 2-2) and quantities vary by the type of container and the classification of flammable liquid. See the guide at

- UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 2
- IFC 5704

Are hazardous material quantities within limits allowed by the Fire Code?
Chemicals and compressed gas storage use is strictly regulated by the Seattle Fire Department and is based on the International Fire Code. Quantities within an area of a building defined as a fire control zone may not exceed certain quantities. Quantities are evaluated in over 20 hazard classifications; the aggregate for all rooms in the control zone must be within the maximum allowable quantity (MAQ). Limits by hazardous material classification apply to a control zone that may include a suite of laboratories, one or more floors in a building, or the entire building. There are also outdoor control areas for storage of hazardous materials. Quantity limits may be increased if fire sprinklers protect the entire control area or, in some cases, if hazardous materials are in approved cabinets. Buildings under newer codes have reduced limits in control zones above the second floor, and the higher the floor the greater the reduction. Researchers and other building occupants must cooperate with each other to make sure that hazardous material quantities do not exceed code limits. This can be aided by maintaining an accurate chemical inventory in MyChem. The Seattle Fire Department and EH&S use MyChem and inspections to determine if there is a safety issue. Sometimes the issue is not the actual quantity but rather a database entry error in MyChem. The researcher's action is either to reduce quantities, correct the date entry in MyChem, or both. Excessive quantities can create a serious hazard and quantities must be reduced as soon as possible.

Lookup Control Zone details and summaries for laboratory space locations in MyChem.

Dispose of all hazardous chemicals that are no longer needed and dispose of chemical waste on a regular basis to prevent unnecessary accumulation and increased hazards in the laboratory space.
Chemical collections can be scheduled online at Routine pickups can be scheduled online at
For more information on chemical collections, see

According to APS 11.2, the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety Department has all responsibility for collection of hazardous waste for the University, at all its campuses and offsite locations. This means that you cannot contract with an outside vendor to collect your waste.

IFC 2704
37 If flammable liquids are stored in a refrigerator, are they in a refrigerator approved for flammable (or explosive) liquids?
Flammable liquids should not be stored or cooled in a refrigerator or freezer unless it is specifically designed for this purpose. Failing to do so can result in explosions, injuries, and costly laboratory fires.
Flammable material refrigerators and freezers are designed to prevent ignition of flammable vapors inside the storage compartment and should be purchased whenever a refrigerator is needed to store flammable liquid. A flammable liquid is defined by the fire code as having a flash point of less than 100°F (38°C). See some examples of common flammable liquids.

Explosion-proof refrigerators are designed to prevent ignition of flammable vapors or gases that may be present outside the refrigerator. This type of refrigerator must be used in locations such as solvent dispensing rooms, where a flammable atmosphere may develop at some time in the room. Explosion-proof refrigerators have very limited use on campus and require special hazardous-location wiring rather than simple cord-and-plug connections. Please contact the fire safety specialist at EH&S (206.616.5530) if you believe you have a need for an "explosion-proof" refrigerator. Regardless of type, every laboratory refrigerator and freezer must be clearly labeled to indicate whether it is appropriate for the storage of flammable materials. . For more information on this topic see:
UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4
38 Are all chemical containers in good condition (not corroded or leaking)?
All containers used for storing chemicals or other hazardous materials must be in good condition. See
39 Are all chemical containers closed?
Containers containing chemicals should be capped and securely closed when not in active use. Guidance is available in Section 2.A.2 of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual. Allowing chemicals to evaporate in a fume hood to reduce the hazardous waste stream is prohibited.
Best Practice
40 Are incompatible chemicals segregated when they are being stored?
Segregate and store chemicals by hazard class (e.g. flammables, organic acids, inorganic acids, bases, etc.) so that incompatible materials cannot react with each other. Failing to do so can result in explosions, injuries, and costly laboratory damage. Make note of chemicals, such as nitric acid, that require being stored separately from all other chemicals. Quantities larger than 5 pounds (2 kg) or 0.5 gallons (2 liters) will be identified for correction by the EH&S survey team. Segregation may be accomplished by any of the following: 1) a distance of 20 ft., 2) a noncombustible partition extending at least 18 inches above and to the sides of the material, 3) storing in approved hazardous material storage cabinets, 4) storing in a non-combustible secondary container, such as a tub or box, within in the approved hazardous material storage cabinet.

For a chart on incompatibles see Additional guidance is available in Section 2.D of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual and on our website in Managing Lab Chemicals online training.

IFC 5003
41 Are hazardous materials storage cabinets properly labeled and in good condition?
Hazardous materials storage cabinets should clearly identify the hazard class of the chemicals being stored. Doors must be well fitted, self-closing, and equipped with a latch. Doors should be closed and latched unless auto closing with fusible link. Cabinets should be kept free of debris, rust, and clutter, and shelving should be anchored. Wooden cabinets are acceptable if constructed in accordance with the Fire Code. Legacy unlisted flammable liquid storage cabinets constructed of wood in accordance with the fire code are acceptable. Flammable cabinets are usually either red or yellow and should be clearly labeled with a “Flammable” sign. Corrosive material storage cabinets should be vented, including those built into laboratory casework. Venting may be required on certain other storage cabinets and is allowed in new construction if done with steel pipe or the equivalent. Existing vent openings with flame arrestor and any type of vent including plastic is acceptable. Cabinets may not be altered by end users unless specifically allowed by the manufacturer. Storage of acids and corrosives may cause erosion of metal cabinets and fixtures. To avoid this, store them in a corrosion/rust resistant hazardous materials storage cabinet, place them in an appropriate, non-combustible secondary container within the hazardous materials storage cabinet, or have your hazardous materials storage cabinet coated with a corrosion-resistant paint. Ensure all containers and bottle tops are properly sealed to avoid unnecessary leakage of fumes. Store heavy bottles and containers on lower shelves. Any issues with storage cabinet fixtures, doors, latches, or coatings should be addressed to the building manager or Facilities Services and taken care of promptly. All storage cabinets must be seismically anchored to prevent spillage of contents. Guidance is available in Section 6 of the UW Laboratory Safety Design Guide.
-OSHA CFR 1910 1200
- IFC 5003
- IFC 5704
42 Are chemicals stored on the floor in DOT approved carboys, metal containers, or glass containers provided with secondary containment?
To prevent accidents, spills, or leaks of chemicals avoid storing chemicals on the floor. If chemicals must be stored on the floor, they should be stored in plastic (DOT approved) carboys, metal containers, or glass containers kept inside a secondary containment. Secondary containment or spill control (such as placing the container on an absorbent pad) is generally required for containers on the floor. Secondary containment helps prevent chemicals from mixing and reacting with each other in the event of an accident or spill. Keep containers in a designated laboratory space, so that they are not in pathways and subject to being knocked over. Do not store chemicals in hallways, corridors, or exit ways.
Best Practice
43 Are chemical containers being stored away from sinks?
To prevent chemicals from accidently going down the drain, chemical containers should not be stored or placed in sinks or on bench tops or counters directly adjacent to sinks.
Best Practice
44 Are corrosive chemicals stored below eye level?
To prevent corrosive chemicals from splashing onto the face or eyes, avoid storing corrosive chemicals above eye level.
Best Practice
45 Are opened peroxide forming compounds labeled with the date they were opened and with an expiration date?
Peroxides formed in organic compounds can cause serious accidents and can become explosive. In some circumstances, peroxides are reactive to shock, sparks, and flames. The danger is increased when a peroxide forming chemical is concentrated by distillation or evaporation. Regularly test for peroxides in opened containers before each use. Assume peroxide-forming chemicals contain peroxides unless they have been recently tested. Record the test data for the next user by filling out the date the container was purchased, opened, and last tested on the UW Peroxide Caution Label (UoW1716). This label is available free from the Chemistry Stockroom in the basement of Bagley Hall or via email by sending your request and box number to and requesting this label.

EH&S recommends that you dispose of peroxide forming chemicals that have been kept longer than their maximum retention times. The maximum retention times begin on the date of opening a manufacturer’s bottle or the date of synthesis in your laboratory. Peroxides form at varying rates depending on the chemical, the length of exposure to air and light and the container type. Peroxides can form in freshly distilled and unstabilized ethers within two weeks, in ethyl ether within eight days, and in tetrahydrofuran within three days.

For lists of peroxide forming chemicals and their maximum retention times, refer to EH&S Guidelines for Peroxide Forming Chemicals. These lists are not exhaustive. Check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of your chemical to determine if it forms peroxides. If so, there will be a warning under the heading Precautionary Labeling or Fire and Explosion Hazard Data on the MSDS. If a substance does not appear on the lists and the MSDS does not indicate that it is a peroxide former, but you suspect that it is a peroxide former, evaluate the molecular structure of the chemical for peroxide forming functional groups and the chemical families of peroxide formers.

For further information on how to manage peroxide forming chemicals see EH&S Guidelines for Peroxide Forming Chemicals.
UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 2
46 Is the lab free of chemicals that are old and no longer needed?
If hazardous chemicals are no longer being used in the lab they should be disposed of as hazardous waste to minimize the risk of future spills, chemical reactions, and chemical exposures. This will also assist in maintaining the hazardous material quantities within Fire Code limits for your lab’s control zone (see Question 34). When completing the annual chemical inventory review, it is good practice to decide which chemicals are still needed and which chemicals should be discarded. Temperature, humidity, light, exposure to air and other substances are several factors that affect chemical purity and can contribute to chemical decomposition. Old chemicals may be unstable and some may form explosive compounds as they age, so caution should always be used in handling the bottles or containers. Containers that are open or leaking should be transferred to another compatible container or placed in a larger container for disposal, and any spilled chemicals must cleaned up.

Be sure to label the contents of the new container using a hazardous waste label and affix it to the container. Free self-adhesive labels are available at Biochemistry Stores and the Chemistry Department Research Stockroom on campus. Contact EH&S at 206.616.5835 if you would like some sent to you via campus mail. Templates for printing your own labels are found at:

Chemical collections can be scheduled online at Routine pickups can be scheduled online at
For more information on chemical collections, see

According to APS 11.2, the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety Department has all responsibility for collection of hazardous waste for the University, at all its campuses and offsite locations. This means that you cannot contract with an outside vendor to collect your waste.
Best Practice
Compressed Gas Cylinders, Cryogen, and LPG
47 Are highly toxic gas cylinders stored in a gas cabinet, ventilated enclosure, or fume hood?
Highly toxic compressed gas cylinders must be stored and used in an approved gas cabinet or fume hood. Quantities of highly toxic gas shall not exceed 20 cubic feet per control area.
- IFC 6004.1
- IFC table 5003.1.1(2), footnote g
48 Are incompatible compressed gas cylinders segregated?
Gas cylinders containing gasses that are incompatible must be physically segregated to prevent incompatible materials from reacting with each other.

Compressed gases may also be separated in exhausted enclosures such as a fume hood or gas cabinet. Cylinders in use and one spare backup are exempt from the segregation requirement within laboratories.

For more information go to

- IFC 5303
- NFPA 45
- OSHA1910

49 Are gas cylinder valve protection caps in place for gas cylinders not in active use?
All gas cylinders not actively being used need to have a valve protection caps secured and in place to protect the valve.
- IFC 5303
- WAC 296-24-68203
50 Are compressed gas cylinders secured to prevent them from falling or tipping?
The high pressure in cylinders (4.4 to 6,000 psig) makes the gas cylinder a potential physical explosive rocket that could punch through walls. Flammability is a concern especially with the gases acetylene, hydrogen, and propane. Compressed gas cylinders must be handled with caution at all times. It is particularly important to protect cylinder valves from breakage and store gas cylinders upright. Gas cylinders that are compromised may leak contents that can result in corrosion, increased risk of fire, asphyxiation, and toxic responses. All gas cylinders must be secured using chains, straps, brackets, or approved restraints that are attached to a fixed structure, such as a wall or bench. One restraint per cylinder meets the minimum requirement. For cylinders taller than 24 inches, two straps or chains are recommended to be located at 1/3 and 2/3 of the cylinder height above the floor because cylinders secured by a single strap have been found to escape the strap during an earthquake. For more information on compressed gas cylinders in laboratory spaces go to
- IFC 5303
- WAC 296-24-68203
Biological safety
51 If the lab works with biohazards involving recombinant DNA, human or non-human primate material, or pathogenic agents, does it have a Biological Use Authorization?
If your work involves biohazards, your work must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and EH&S. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandate that our institution establish an IBC for the review and approval of all research involving recombinant DNA, and IBC review and approval for research involving all biohazards is required by the UW Administrative Policy 12.3. The purpose of the biosafety review is to ensure that biohazardous materials are handled safely from start to finish. Submitting a BUA Application will register your research with the IBC and EH&S, and it will initiate the Biological Use Authorization process. IBC’s working definition of a biohazardous agent includes: pathogenic agents, recombinant or synthetically derived DNA, and human/non-human primate material. Labs working with biohazards are required to have a Notification of Biological Use Authorization letter on file that is available to be viewed by staff. When projects with biological agents are approved, they will receive an expiration date. Approvals will generally be given for a three year period or concurrent with Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol expiration. Any research performed on a project with biological agents after the expiration date will be out of compliance with the NIH Guidelines. This is a reportable incident to the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities. To renew your approval you must re-submit a BUA Application in sufficient time to obtain IBC approval before your expiration date. You will receive email notification, approximately two months prior, of your impending expiration to remind you of your need to resubmit if you plan to continue your research.

For further information on biohazard work and BUA, go to A list of hazard classifications and review procedures is in Section 2 of the UW Biosafety Manual.

UW Biosafety Manual, Section 2

52 If conducting BSL1/ABSL1 practices or higher, is a sink available for hand washing?
BSL-1, BSL-2, ABSL-1, and ABSL-2 labs must have a sink for hand washing within the room or an adjacent laboratory that is under the same administrative control such that security does not preclude access. Existing laboratories may be eligible for capital safety funding.

- 7 CFR 331
- 9 CFR 121
- 42 CFR 73
- BMBL, 5th Edition
- NIH Guidelines

53 Are biohazardous blades, needles, and other sharps promptly and properly disposed of in a sharps container?
All biohazardous blades, needles, and other sharps should be disposed of in a sharps container immediately after use. For more information on how to dispose of biohazardous waste, go to
- 7 CFR 331
- 9 CFR 121
- 42 CFR 73
- BMBL, 5th Edition
54 Is bio-hazardous waste autoclaved in a timely manner?
Biological hazardous waste should be autoclaved within 8 days as a standard practice. For more information see

- UW Biosafety Manual, Section 4
-Seattle Municipal Code 21.43

Pressure Vessel

If pressure vessels are in use, are they approved for their operating pressure or are they mitigated to prevent injury?
Pressure vessel failures can be very dangerous and result in severe injury. Vessels with a chamber larger than 5 cubic feet operating at pressure above 15 psi must be designed with adequate safeguards to prevent damage and injury and may be subject to regulatory agency inspection programs. Smaller pressure vessels, while not regulated, may also present some risk and should be equipped with adequate safeguards and protection.

For additional information see the Lab Safety Manual, pages 4-17, at and/or download the EH&S Focus Sheet on Lab Pressure Vessels (PDF).

Also, see Northwestern University's online video (YouTube) on pressure vessel safety.

- UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4
- RCW, Chapter 70.79
- WAC, Chapter 296-104
Housekeeping/Internal Audit
56 Is the lab free of slip and trip hazards?
All pathways in the lab should be free of trip or slip hazards. Without proper footwear, chronically wet floors may present a slip hazard . Electrical cords may not extend across aisles and exit access.
UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4
57 Is the lab adequately organized, orderly, and clean to provide for sufficient work space for operations without spills, accidents, and other preventable incidents?
Bench tops, counters, and shelves within the lab should be organized, not overloaded, and free of chemical contamination. They should be organized to prevent potential spills. Storage on the floor should be limited and temporary in nature. More information is available at
Best Practice
58 Is there minimal glassware stored in the sink or on the bench top?
Keep unused glassware to a minimum on lab benches to prevent breakage.
Best Practice
59 Are lab coats regularly laundered by Consolidated Laundry or similar industrial laundry service?
Contaminated laboratory coats should be laundered through the University Consolidated Laundry or similar industrial laundry service. UW Consolidated Laundry can be contacted at
UW Lab Safety Manual
Electrical Safety
60 Are building electrical panels accessible?
Do not obstruct access to electrical access panels. A clearance of 36 inches is required in front of all building electrical panels.

Are extension cords or power strips daisy-chained to each other?
Use of extension cords should be limited to temporary use which is typically a work shift and, in rare instances, a few days. Electrical cords and power cords should not be daisy chained together and used as permanent wiring. Procure UL listed power strips or surge suppressors with cords up to 15 feet long. In older buildings it may be necessary to request Facilities Services to add additional receptacles to support your research and teaching. Note that extension cords and power strips are intended for low amperage equipment.

IFC 605
62 Exposed wiring or electrical cords in poor condition are not in use?
Dispose of and replace any electrical cords that are frayed or in poor condition. If any electrical outlets or electrical wires are exposed, submit a work order to have the item repaired.
- UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4
- IFC 605

Are ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's--either fixed GFCI receptacles/breakers or using adaptors) employed in wet locations?
A facility using water or other liquid conductor that has a likelihood of creating a wet floor or work area should be equipped with GFCI or equivalent protection to help prevent a serious electrical hazard in the event of an uncontained leak or other unexpected condition.

While new labs are now required to have GFCI when a receptacle is with six feet of a sink, it is not necessary to retrofit every receptacle based solely on distance.  The need is risk based.  Affordable adaptor units are available through many venders to address this need.  See an example at

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4
64 Are extension cords used only as temporary wiring and not running under carpets, doors, or through walls and ceilings?
Extension cords may not be used as permanent wiring. Where possible install new electrical outlets to eliminate the use of extension cords or employ surge suppressors or multiple outlet strips (for low voltage or low-powered loads only) with a built in circuit breaker. Devices with cords from 6 to 15 feet long are available from most suppliers. Note that most lab instrumentation is low voltage. Equipment with heating elements, pumps, and motors should be plugged in directly to a wall or benchtop receptacle. Extension cords and power strips have the potential to cause fires, electrical shocks, damage to equipment, and facility damage. With continuous use over time, an extension cord can rapidly deteriorate, creating a potentially dangerous health and fire hazard.
IFC 605
65 Is equipment with motors, heaters, and other high amperage needs plugged directly into a wall receptacle?
Any equipment with a motor or heating feature such as refrigerators, shakers, centrifuges, or vacuum pumps should be plugged directly into a wall or floor receptacle because the amperage drawn often exceeds that of an extension cord.
IFC 605
Radiation Safety
66 Are radioactive stock solutions secured in a locked cabinet when not in use?
The UW had an inspection by the State of Washington Department of Health in December of 2005 in which they found several locations where radioactive materials were not secured and where labs were unlocked and unattended. DOH personnel were also not challenged when they handled radioactive materials in people's labs. DOH felt this was an unacceptable situation due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ease with which radioactive materials could be acquired in an illegally manner from the UW labs.
WAC 246
67 Are all Class 3B and/or Class 4 lasers inventoried with EH&S Radiation Safety?
See for more information.
UW Laser Safety Manual
68 If the answer to 67 is Yes, are warning signs posted (Notice, Danger)?
See for more information.
UW Laser Safety Manual
Fire Safety and Prevention
69 Are there 18 inches of clearance between stored items and fire sprinklers?
Maintain a minimum of 18 inches between materials stored on shelves and sprinkler heads. Shelves on the perimeter of the room are not subject to this height limitation.
IFC 315
70 Do suspended ceilings have all of their ceiling tiles in place?
Contact Facilities Services to repair or replace any missing ceiling tiles in suspended ceilings. Openings in ceilings delay the response of smoke detectors and automatic sprinklers in event of a fire.
- IFC 703
- NFPA 13
71 Are lab doors kept closed when unoccupied?
When labs are not occupied, lab doors should be closed and locked to provide security, control fire, and maintain proper air balance.

- Best Practice
- IFC 703 if fire rated

72 Are fire extinguishers available, easily accessible, and free of obstructions?
Fire extinguishers must be conspicuously located along normal paths of travel and may not be obstructed or obscured from view. The fire extinguisher must be secured on a hanger, on a bracket, or in a cabinet/wall recess. The pressure gauge reading should be in the operable position. Verify monthly these requirements are met.

Fire extinguishers should the appropriate type for the hazard and within 50 feet of travel from the operations involving chemicals and 75 feet for ordinary combustible. Ideally fire extinguishers should located within the laboratory but a corridor location is acceptable if with the stipulated travel distance.
- IFC 906
- NFPA 10
Exit Access and Corridors
73 Are aisles and exits within the laboratory space free of clutter and obstructions?
All exit pathways and aisles within the lab need to be kept free from obstructions that block or impede traffic flow. Housekeeping must be reasonable and aisle width must be at least 28 inches within laboratories. Equipment and supplies should not be stored in exit pathways or aisles even on a temporary basis, since an event that requires evacuation of the laboratory space could occur at any time. Objects located in exit pathways, such as boxes, equipment, stacked supplies, waste containers, etc., can, in a fire or other emergency, cause people to fall, seriously hurt themselves, and even block the exit passageway for others. Keeping exit pathways clear of obstacles enables people to exit a building more quickly and safely.
IBC 1003
74 Are corridors and exits free of obstruction and hazardous materials/processed in accordance with UW Corridor Policy?
All exit corridors must remain free of hazardous materials, equipment, storage, and other materials and debris in accordance with the UW corridor policy. For more information, go to
- IBC 1003
- UW Corridor Policy
Seismic Safety

Are chemical containers stored safely on shelves with lips or in a closed cabinet to prevent them from falling in an earthquake?
All chemicals and hazardous materials should be stored in closed cabinets or on shelves with lips to prevent them from falling in the event of an earthquake, natural disaster, or explosion. Shelf assemblies should be of substantial construction and firmly secured to the walls, in accordance with the Seattle Fire Department code. Island shelving should be avoided. It is recommended that only light-weight containers be stored on shelves with lips, and ideally the shelf lip height should be at least 2 inches from the shelf surface. Use eyehooks and loop material (fishing line, cord, thin wire, etc.) to restrain larger, heavier objects on shelves. For installation of restraints, contact your building manager or Facilities Services. Corrosives should always be stored below eye level and in appropriate containment. If possible, avoid storing any chemicals higher than eye level. If chemicals are stored on shelves or in cabinets that are above bench level, there should be a step-stool available for reaching them. No one should ever stand on a desk or benchtop to retrieve chemicals.

- Best Practice
- UW Laboratory Safety Manual
76 Are all hazardous pieces of machinery mounted or secured to prevent movement or tipping?
WAC 296-806-20002
77 Are all points of operation, rotating components, and other moving parts of machinery properly guarded to prevent injury?
WAC 296-806-20042
78 Is laboratory equipment with potential hazards routinely inspected, and maintained or serviced as recommended?
Laboratory equipment should undergo routine maintenance to promote trouble-free operation and avoid potentially hazardous malfunction. Users should be trained to operate each piece of equipment in the lab and be made aware of potential malfunction hazards.

Hazards associated with inadequately maintained/serviced lab equipment can include physical injury, burns, exposure to released or volatilized chemical or biologic agents, excessive noise, and electrical shock. Equipment of concern includes centrifuges, centrifuge rotors, sonicators, autoclaves, ovens, oil baths, and pressurized devices.

Equipment should be checked for physical and electrical integrity, presence of corrosion, cracks or presence of atypical smells or sounds. If equipment is not functioning properly, it should be tagged out of service until repairs are made.

More specifically, guidelines for regular maintenance specified in the operator manual should be followed. Refer to the operator’s manuals for recommendations on specific equipment.

Specific Items

  • Autoclaves/pressure devices: Visually inspect seals/gaskets prior to each use; plug screens or drainers should be cleaned regularly to avoid clogs. Inspect pressure relief valves. Autoclaves larger than X should be inventoried with Facilities Services so they are periodically inspected by Labor and Industries.
  • Ovens, dryers, and washers: Run equipment checks, where possible, to ensure seals are working properly, doors are locking properly, and temperature gauges are accurate.
  • Centrifuges: Inspect buckets for wear/cracks; check rotor and rotor fixing screws for damage or corrosion; inspect seals of aerosol-tight lids. Keep a log to monitor rotor age and replace per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Sonicators: Excessive noise/buzzing may indicate a cracked probe tip.

- UW Lab Safety Manual
- NFPA 45