Tools for safely resuming work in the lab


Now is a good time for research and teaching labs that are reopening or seeing an increase in occupancy to conduct a self-inspection to check that all safety resources are in place and current.

All labs at the University of Washington are expected to conduct at least one self-inspection annually as part of compliance with WAC 296-800. It is recommended that self-inspections are done at least several months after the most recent Lab Safety team inspection to adequately provide two separate assessments of safety practices and needs.

Use the new Key Elements of Lab Self-Inspections focus sheet to ensure that all important topics are covered when you conduct a self-inspection of your space. Some elements may not be applicable to your lab; and there may be additional elements that cover situations or hazards unique to your work or space that should be included. 

To document your self-inspection, you may use the Laboratory Safety Checklist, a list of 78 questions addressing a variety of topics including chemical safety, training of personnel, personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness. Each question on the checklist is hyperlinked to in-depth explanations, including further links to additional resources and corresponding regulations. Exploring the links in the Laboratory Safety Checklist is also a great way to ensure your lab is prepared for its next inspection. 

To assist with documentation of lab self-inspections, EH&S has built a tool into the Laboratory Safety Dashboard for your convenience. Your records can be stored there and PDFs can be printed out as needed. Be sure to complete the report within 72 hours of starting the self inspection.

View this video on the Lab Self-Inspections webpage to learn more about how to effectively conduct self-inspections of your research spaces and labs, how to access the self-inspection tool on the Lab Safety Dashboard, and ways to customize the self-inspection process for your workspace and research group

Prepare to excel at safety compliance by familiarizing yourself with these helpful resources. Additional resources for aligning resumption of work with UW COVID-prevention practices can be found on the COVID-19 Health & Safety Resources webpage.

For further information about lab safety and self-inspections please consult the EH&S website or email