Administrative Plans & Materials
Hazard Communication
Lab Training
Personal Protective Equipment
Emergency Kits
Food & Beverage
Emergency Eyewash/Showers
Hazardous Waste & Disposal
Chemical Storage/Process
Compressed Gas Cylinders, Cryogen & LPG
Biological Safety
Pressure Vessel
Housekeeping/Internal Audit
Electrical Safety
Radiation Safety
Fire Safety & Prevention
Exit Access & Corridors
Seismic Safety



Question and Explanation

(additional information for inspection team members and report recipients)

            Reference Code            
Administrative Plans/Materials

Do the lab staff have access to the current version of the UW Lab Safety Manual?
The UW Lab Safety Manual (LSM) is designed to be the cornerstone of each lab safety program; the material included aids faculty, staff and students in maintaining a safe environment in which to teach, learn and conduct research. The LSM is intended to assist users in the recognition, evaluation and control of chemical and physical hazards associated with laboratory operations. The LSM is your reference for laboratory safe practices and  policies affecting laboratory operations.

The LSM is part of the Washington Department of Labor and Industries “Chemical Hygiene Plan" (CHP). It is required for all laboratories that use hazardous chemicals.  WAC 296-828-20005 also requires this document to be updated at least annually; to meet this requirement,  EH&S reviews the current version each year and releases an updated version of the LSM in the Autumn.

The LSM can be either in paper or electronic format; it must be accessible at all times to all personnel who work with hazardous chemicals. It is expected that a copy will be stored in each laboratory space where the work is going on. This information must be accessible to all workers while at work; for example, it cannot be locked in an office or stored in another room. Laboratory-specific information, such as chemical inventories or training records, may be stored in another location but should be easily accessible if requested.

Download an electronic or order a hard copy of the LSM. If the CHP is all electronic, personnel must know where the files are located and how to access them. They must have access to a computer and the files while working. For ease of electronic use, the LSM may be bookmarked in its entirety as a PDF.

WAC 296-828-20005


Has the lab-specific information been added to the Lab Safety Manual?
The Chemical Hygiene Plan includes lab specific information in addition to the UW Lab Safety Manual (LSM) provided by EH&S. The lab specific information is incorporated into several sections of the LSM: chemical inventories, SOPs (Section 6 and Appendix D), training (Section 7) and laboratory-specific information listed at the front of the manual, including the lab floor plan,the name of the principle investigator, chemical hygiene officer, the room numbers and descriptions, and emergency information. A list of current all lab members is also required. This information must be reviewed at least annually and is necessary to fulfill WAC 296-828-20005, which requires a written program be developed and implemented by the employer that establishes procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment, and work practices to protect employees from health hazards of the chemicals used in the laboratory.

For labs that are shared by more than one group, each group must complete the laboratory specific information. All lab staff need to know where to find the lab-specific information which augments the manual for their group. The lab-specific information can be either in paper or electronic format. If an all paper CHP is to be used, the lab-specific information can be filed in the front of the manual.

WAC 296-828-20005
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. This applies to all hazardous materials (including all hazardous chemicals) in use.

Materials not in use should be administratively managed to remind all lab personnel that an SOP needs to be developed prior to use.

For guidance on how to write an SOP, see the webpage on SOPs. For specific chemicals, classes of chemicals, and processes involving chemicals. Example chemical SOPs are available. 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.

For labs that are shared by more than one group, SOPs may be shared; an example would be an SOP on the use of a shared instrument. It is recommended that a training record for each group on the relevant procedures be included as part of the SOP documentation.

- WAC 296-800-14005
- WAC 296-828
4 Do all lab staff know how and when to report accidents, incidents, or near misses in OARS (Online Accident Reporting System)?
All accidents and near misses that take place in the lab must be reported in UW OARS. See Accident and Injury Reporting for more information on how to use OARS.
WAC 296-800-14005

Was a safety self-inspection performed and documented 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. Use the self-inspection tool on your Laboratory Safety Dashboard, print out a copy of the EH&S Lab Survey Checklist, or develop a custom checklist.

For labs that are shared, a self-inspection may be done for the space that applies to all groups.  It is recommended that an inspection record be maintained for each group.

- UW Lab Safety Manual
- WAC 296-800

Are assessments of hazards conducted and documented for new work and chemical usage?
Conduct a risk assessment when a new experiment, procedure, or project is developed. EH&S’s Lab R.A.T. can be used for this.

A risk assessment focuses on hazard identification at each step or task level. When conducting an assessment, consider the full range of safety, health, and environmental hazards, from machine safety to physical hazards to chemical and biological exposures. A risk assessment can provide essential information for enhancing safety practices, establishing proper procedures, and ensuring all lab members are properly trained.

When conducting a risk assessment, be sure to consult the Laboratory Safety Manual for standards in research practices. Compliance with these standards is mandatory, and by incorporating these standards in your risk assessment, you can be sure that you are meeting UW policies and state regulations. You should consult EH&S if you have questions or if you need to get assistance from experts about specific hazards. 

Identify the question you are trying to answer, the approach you want to use, and the general hazards associated with the materials, chemicals, equipment, and processes you intend to use. Be sure to outline each step/task of your experiment or project, and talk with your PI and peers about routine and infrequent tasks, near misses, and safety concerns.

Use the Hierarchy of Controls to consider what methods will eliminate or reduce any hazards. Think about the controls that need to be in place to address the severity of the worst-case credible consequence. The higher the severity, the higher level or number of controls needed to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. Document all existing controls.

Use a Risk Matrix to assign a risk rating for your experiment or project. The primary goal is for researchers to analyze and evaluate risks, mitigate them effectively, and differentiate unacceptable and high-level risk steps from those with a lower level risk. This will help drive additional consultation and control measures where needed. You and the PI should decide if the risk level is acceptable before proceeding with a test run. If the risk level is not acceptable, then return to the risk assessment and use the hierarchy of controls to design a safer process.

Discuss your decisions with your PI, supervisor, and any peers who perform the experiments or tasks being considered. Review incident data or information from co-workers on the likelihood that the accident scenario would occur with controls in place. It may be that additional controls are required based on experience. If you plan to introduce new or modified procedures, be sure everyone understands what is involved, what new risks are introduced, and the reasons for the changes.

Test your experimental design by doing a dry run, doing a run with less hazardous materials, or testing the design on a smaller scale. Review your assessment if an accident or incident occurs. Record notes from any trial runs and evaluations of the experiment or procedure.

Evaluate and critique all the controls and hazards as you work. If changes are needed, update your risk assessment tool and re-evaluate the process. Do this whenever there are changes in scale, reagent, equipment, or conditions that affect the hazard/risk level. Share the new version of your assessment with your PI and peers for the next iteration of the experiment. Periodically reviewing your risk assessment ensures that it remains current and continues to help reduce accidents and injuries. Even if the experiment or procedure has not changed, it is possible that you will identify hazards during runs that were not identified initially. These findings should be documented and managed.

- WAC 296-67-017
- WAC 296-828-2005

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. Download a blank front page to be posted after your contact information is filled in. Complete flipcharts are available through EH&S at

For labs that are shared, each group should provide after-hours information.

Download a blank front page to be posted after your contact information is filled in. Complete flipcharts are available through EH&S at

- WAC 296-800-14020

- IFC 404


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 Caution Signs for Hazards. 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.

For labs that are shared, all inventories must be included in each room to create the hazard diamond.

- UW Lab Safety Manual
- IFC, Chapter 50
9 Is a biosafety door sign posted when agents are in use and removed when not in use?
For BSL-2 laboratories, the Biohazard Warning Sign must be affixed to entry doors in a way such that it can be easily removed. After work is complete, agents are secured (e.g., inside closed incubator or refrigerator), and surfaces are decontaminated, the biohazard warning sign may be removed or turned over. If the biohazard warning sign is affixed to a BSL-2 laboratory door, support staff, such as Facilities Services or Custodial Services, will not enter. The biohazard warning sign must be posted when work with biohazardous agents is taking place. This sign must be permanently affixed to all entry doors of the laboratories/rooms designated in excess of BSL-2, such as BSL-2 with BSL-3 practices, BSL-3, ABSL-2 or ABSL-3. Print a biohazard warning sign to personalize and post.  For more information see Biohazard Warning Signs in the Bisafety Manual. 
- BMBL, 5th Edition, Section IV,V
- UW Biosafety Manual, Section IV.B.5
10 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. Provide warning signs, guards, and faraday cages to protect from exposed conductors in research apparatus for apparatuses operating at 50 volts or more..
- OSHA 1926.54
- WAC 296-155-428-L
- Other various regulation specific to hazard

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 UW Lab Safety Manual for an example of a lab floor plan. Templates are available for single and multi-room labs. For rooms that are shared, a single floor plan that includes all emergency and safety equipment is preferred.


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 maintained and updated at least 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 Additional information is available at on the MyChem page 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. For rooms that are shared, contact information for all groups should be listed.To update this information contact EH&S at (206) 616-4046 or

UW Lab Safety Manual,
Section 2

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. See Safety Data Sheets for more information.

For rooms that are shared, this information may be provided as a shared resource.

- WAC 296-828-20020
- IFC Chapter 50

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. Label templates are available for download (version 1; version 2; version 3). It is also recommended that the labels are dated and initialed. Guidance is available in Section 2.E of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual

For labs that are shared, the lab name should also be included on the label.

- WAC 296-828-20020
- UW APS 12.5
Lab Training
16 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
17 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. EH&S will verify that required EH&S training is completed as part of the laboratory safety inspection.
WAC 296-828-20015

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 Accident Prevention PlanFire 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.  Appendix C of the UW Lab Safety Manual provides templates for training logs and a Safety Training Checklist that can be used as applicable.

For labs that are shared, training may be provided to multiple groups or users; however, each group should maintain lab specific training records.


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 labs or equipment that are shared, the assessment may be provided to multiple groups or users; however, each group should maintain a copy of the assessment and training in their records.

See the Personal Protective Equipment page for more information on PPE.

WAC 296-800-160

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
21 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 Respiratory Protection for more information.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.124
22 Are supplies of minimum PPE required for routine work available to all lab members?
PIs, laboratory managers and shop supervisors are responsible for assessing all worksites for hazards and identifying the PPE needs for all employees, students and visitors who may be potentially exposed to the hazards.

A PPE Hazard Assessment that covers all operations must be completed and kept on file in each laboratory space for all lab activities.  The Laboratory PPE Hazard Assessment Guide, is available to assist PIs and laboratory managers to identify laboratory hazards and the appropriate PPE. All employees, students, and research staff in the lab should review the information in the document prior to beginning work in that laboratory space, and this practice should be documented. This assessment should be reviewed annually by the lab’s Chemical Hygiene Officer to determine improvements; changes should be implemented via an updated assessment and training. This can be performed as part of the lab’s routine self inspection.

Once the PPE needs are identified, the PI or CHO shall determine that PPE properly fits each employee and is in adequate supply at all times.  The PPE needed should be readily available, and routine cleaning or maintenance established.

- APS 10.4
- WAC 296-800-160
DOSH Directive 5.15 Personal Protective Equipment

Emergency Kits

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. Please refer to the How to Order a Spill Kit focus sheet.  For information on the contents of the General Purpose Spill Kit see Chemical Spills in Laboratories. The location of the spill kit should be clearly labeled and also shown on the Laboratory Floor Plan.

For rooms that are used by more than one group, the spill kit may be a shared resource.

- UW Biosafety Manual, Section IV.G
- UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 9

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.

For rooms that are used by more than one group, the first aid kit may be a shared resource.

- OSHA 1910
- WAC-296-800 15020

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". See more information and how to order the labels in the LAB REFRIGERATORS & FREEZERS information sheet .

-Nat'l Research Council’s Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, 1995
Emergency Eyewash/Showers

Are eyewashes and showers accessible within ten seconds travel (approx. 50 ft.)?
Per WAC 296-800, all labs working with materials that are corrosive, strong irritants, toxic or biohazards need to have an emergency eyewash located within ten seconds of the injured person (a travel distance of 50 ft. is deemed to satisfy the ten second requirement). An emergency shower is also required if there is a potential for substantial portions of the body to come into contact with the types of chemicals noted above. Ideally, the equipment is located in the room but may be accessible through a single door provided the door is not lockable in the direction of travel. Any location that is on a different floor level is not considered to be accessible.

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. Portable eye washes are not compliant except in facilities and areas where there is no plumbing. See more information under 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 Project Request Form.

-WAC 296-800-15030

-DOSH Directive 13.00


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.

For rooms that are used by more than one group, keeping safety equipment available for use is a shared responsibility.

- WAC 296-800-15030
- ANSI Z358

Are eyewashes flushed on a weekly basis and is the flushing documented?
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 also 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. Weekly flushing should be documented and available for review.

For rooms that are used by more than one group, the eyewash flushing is a shared responsibility.

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 finding in their survey report.


- WAC 296-800-15030
- WAC 296-800-15035
- ANSI Z358

29 Are processes that emit vapors, gasses, or fumes adequately captured by local ventilation (hoods, snorkel)?
All chemical processes or reactions that emit hazardous vapors, gasses, or fumes, and materials with a strong odor need to be located where local ventilation (e.g. fume hood, snorkel hood) is available to vent these potential hazards and nuisance odors 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. Material should be places at least six inches back from the sash and some space maintained from the back of the hood to help ensure effective containment. 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 energy efficiency, fume hood sashes should be closed whenever the fume hood is not in use.

For fume hoods that are used by more than one group, maintenance of a safe workspace inside the hood is a shared responsibility. Also see Fume Hoods: Use, Inspection and Maintenance.


ASHARAE 110-1995
Hazardous Waste and Disposal

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 online class and in the Managing Hazardous Waste Design Guide.

For labs that have waste streams that come from more than one group, proper container selection for waste is a shared responsibility.

WDOE CH 173-303

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 online class and the Managing Hazardous Waste Design Guide.

For labs that have waste streams that come from more than one group, keeping waste containers closed is a shared responsibility.

- 40 CFR 265.173
- WDOE CH 173-303


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).

Incompatible waste reactions are common to University research and more attention is needed to help reduce these incidents. Orientation and training of staff and student is very important. 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. A wide variety of chemicals react dangerously when mixed with certain other substances, so do not pool 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 Chemicalsonline training. Also see a summary of chemical waste requirements and resources and the Hazardous Waste Checklist.

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.

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.

For labs that have waste streams that come from more than one group, proper segregation of the waste is a shared responsibility.


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.

For labs that have waste streams that come from more than one group, proper labeling of the waste is a shared responsibility.

Free labels are available at Biochemistry Stores and the Chemistry Department Research Stockroom on campus. These labels come in 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 here:
  4-Up Labels
  6-Up Labels

WDOE CH 173-303

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." View and print the Packaging Sharps and Lab Glass poster. 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.

For rooms that are used by more than one group,the lab glass box may be a shared resource (add all PI names).

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 3
Chemical Storage/Process

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 UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 2 (see Table 2-2); quantities vary by the type of container and the classification of flammable liquid.

For labs that have waste streams that come from more than one group, maintaining a limit on the amount of these chemicals outside the storage cabinets is a shared responsibility.

- 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 control area that is separated from other control areas by fire resistant construction. Limits by hazardous material classification apply to a control area that may include a group laboratories, or an entire floor for example. Quantity limits may be increased if fire sprinklers are provided and if hazardous materials are stored in approved cabinets. Aggregate quantities are further reduced on upper floors. Researchers and other building occupants must cooperate with each other to make sure that hazardous material quantities do not exceed code limits. The Seattle Fire Department and EH&S monitor quantities through lab surveys and inventory review. Excessive quantities can create a serious hazard and quantities must be reduced as soon as possible.

Lookup control area details and summaries for laboratory space locations in MyChem. (Note: if you don't have authorization contact EH&S).

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 You can also schedule routine chemical pickups online.
See Hazardous Chemical Waste Disposal for more information.

IFC 2704

If flammable chemicals 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. 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 page 2 of the Lab Refrigerator and Freezers focus sheet for 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. 

See the Lab Refrigerator and Freezers focus sheet

For labs that share a refrigerator, managing the contents is a shared responsibility.

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4

Are all chemical containers intended for chemical use in good condition (not corroded or leaking)?
All containers used for storing chemicals or other hazardous materials must be in good condition.

For shared labs, proper management of the chemical containers is a shared responsibility.


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.

For shared labs, proper management of the chemical containers is a shared responsibility.

- 40 CFR 265.173
- WDOE CH 173-303


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. 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 when observed. 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.

See the Incompatible Chemicals Focus Sheet for incompatibles. Additional guidance is available in Section 2.D of the UW Laboratory Safety Manual and in the Managing Lab Chemicals online training.

Likewise, waste containers need to be segregated and stored by hazard class (for example:  flammables, acids, bases) so that incompatible materials cannot react with each other. A wide variety of chemicals react dangerously when mixed with certain other substances, so do not pool waste collections and do not combine wastes based simply on their hazard class. Make note of chemical wastes, such as nitric acid, that require being stored separately from all other chemical waste.


For shared labs, proper segregation of stored chemicals is a shared responsibility.  For labs that have waste streams that come from more than one group, proper segregation of the waste is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 5003
- IFC 2703
- APS 11.2


Are hazardous materials storage cabinets appropriate for their contents, 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. 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 UW Facilities and taken care of promptly. Guidance is available in Section 6 of the UW Laboratory Safety Design Guide.

For shared labs, proper labeling of the cabinets is a shared responsibility.

- OSHA CFR 1910 1200
- IFC 5003
- IFC 5704

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.

Proper storage of qll shared chemicals is a shared responsibility. For shared labs, proper management of the chemical storage on the floor is a shared responsibility.

Best Practice

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.

Proper storage of qll shared chemicals is a shared responsibility. For shared labs, ensuring chemical storage is away from the sinks the is a shared responsibility.

Best Practice

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.  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.

Proper storage of qll shared chemicals is a shared responsibility. For shared labs, ensuring storage of corrosives below eye level is a shared responsibility.

Best Practice

Are opened peroxide forming compounds labeled with the date they were opened, the date tested for peroxides 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 department 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

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.

Label the contents of the new container using a hazardous waste label and affix it to the container. Free self-adhesive labels are available as follows:

  • Biochemistry Stores 
  • Chemistry Department Stockroom 
  • From EH&S via campus mail (contact EH&S at 206.616.5835)
  • Printing your own labels from these links:

  4-Up Labels
  6-Up Labels

Chemical collections can be scheduled online at or you can schedule routine pickups

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. See more information about Chemical Waste Collection.

For shared labs, proper management of the chemicals available for use is a shared responsibility.

Best Practice

APS 11.2

Compressed Gas Cylinders, Cryogen, and LPG
48 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 are highly restricted. Confer with EH&S for assistance.

For shared labs, proper management of the chemicals available for use is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 6004.1
- IFC table 5003.1.1(2), footnote g

Are incompatible compressed gas cylinders in storage 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 see Compressed Gas.

For shared labs, proper management of the chemicals available for use is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 5303
- NFPA 45
- OSHA1910


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.

For shared labs, proper management of the chemicals available for use is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 5303
- WAC 296-24-68203

Are compressed gas cylinders secured to prevent them from falling or tipping?
High pressure gas cylinders can become projectiles and result in serious injury and property damage if they tip over and break off the valve. 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. See more information on compressed gas cylinders in laboratory spaces.

For shared labs, proper securing of cylinders is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 5303
- WAC 296-24-68203
Biological Safety
52 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. 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.

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

UW Biosafety Manual, Section 2

APS 12.3

53 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

54 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. See more information on how to dispose of biohazardous waste.
- 7 CFR 331
- 9 CFR 121
- 42 CFR 73
- BMBL, 5th Edition
55 Is bio-hazardous waste packaged for regulated waste or autoclaved in a timely manner?
Biological hazardous waste should be autoclaved within 14 days as a standard practice. For more information see Section 4 of the UW Biosafety Manual

- 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 14.7 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 Section 4 of the UW Lab Safety Manual and/or the Pressure Vessels webpage.

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

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.

For shared labs, keeping the lab free of slip and trip hazards is a shared responsibility.

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4

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. See the Laboratory Housekeeping focus sheet for more information.

 For shared labs, housekeeping is a shared responsibility.

Best Practice

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.

For shared labs with shared bench or counter space, maintenance of adequate work surface is a shared responsibility.

Best Practice

Are lab coats regularly laundered by MediCleanse 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

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.

For shared labs, following guidance on electrical safety is a shared responsibility.


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 UW Facilities to add additional receptacles to support your research and teaching. Note that extension cords and power strips are intended for low amperage equipment.

More information is available here.

For shared labs, following guidance on electrical safety is a shared responsibility.

IFC 605

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.

More information is available here.

For shared labs, following guidance on electrical safety is a shared responsibility.

- 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

More information is available here.

For shared labs, following guidance on electrical safety is a shared responsibility.

UW Lab Safety Manual, Section 4

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.

More information is available here.

For shared labs, following guidance on electrical safety is a shared responsibility.

IFC 605

Is equipment with motors, heaters, and other high amperage needs plugged directly into a wall receptacle?
High amperage equipment should be plugged directly into a wall or floor receptacle rather than a surge suppressor or power strip. Examples include large refrigerators, full size microwave ovens, toaster ovens, and space heaters. The collective load of all equipment connected to 15 amp power strip should not exceed about 1400 watts, or about 1800 watts for a 20 amp power strip. Add it up…equipment wattage ratings may be found on product labels. Space heaters, regardless of wattage, must be plugged directly into a wall receptacle.

More information is available here.

For shared labs, following guidance on electrical safety is a shared responsibility.


- IFC 605
Radiation Safety
67 If the lab works with radiological materials, does it have a Radiation Use Authorization?
The State DOH has stringent security requirements for radioactive stock. 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 illegal manner from the UW labs.
WAC 246
68 Are all Class 3B and/or Class 4 lasers inventoried with EH&S Radiation Safety?
See the Laser Safety webpage for more information about laser registration. 


UW Laser Safety Manual
Fire Safety and Prevention

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.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

IFC 315

Do suspended ceilings have all of their ceiling tiles in place?
Contact UW Facilities 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, and in some cases the ceiling may serve as a fire resistant barrier.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 703
- NFPA 13

Are lab doors kept closed when unoccupied?
When labs are not occupied, lab doors should be closed and locked to provide security, and control fire. Closed lab doors are also necessary to maintain a slightly negative or positive air balance to help manage air quality (in the case of a negative lab) and help maintain a clean environment 9in the case of a positive lab). While EH&S will not cite a lab for an open door when the space is occupied, keeping the doors to the public corridor closed at all times is a best practice for safety and security.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

- Best Practice
- IFC 703 if fire rated


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, and may not rest on the floor. 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.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

- IFC 906
- NFPA 10
Exit Access and Corridors

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. To maintain accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a 36 inch wide aisle may be required for accessible routes and common use circulation paths.  Equipment and supplies should not be stored in exit pathways or aisles. 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.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

IBC 1003

IBC 1104


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, see the Corridor Policy focus sheet.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

- 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, or from building vibration. Shelf assemblies should be of substantial construction and firmly secured to the walls. For installation of restraints, contact your building manager or UW Facilities.

For shared labs, this is a shared responsibility.

- Best Practice
- UW Laboratory Safety Manual

Are all hazardous pieces of machinery mounted or secured to prevent movement or tipping?
Machines designed to stay in one place must be secured to prevent them from moving or tipping during use. Secure machines by fastening them to walls, floors or other structural building elements. Machines that have either rubber feet or foot pads made of nonskid (high coefficient of friction) or similar vibration dampening materials do not have to be secured as long as the machine will not tip, fall over, or walk (move).

For labs sharing equipment, this is a shared responsibility.

WAC 296-806-20002

Are all points of operation, rotating components, and other moving parts of machinery properly guarded to prevent injury?
Guards must be made of durable materials, strong enough to withstand the forces to which they are exposed, secured, and perform in a way to prevent exposure. Maximum guard opening size depending upon the distance from the hazard and is prescribed in the rule.

For labs sharing equipment, this is a shared responsibility.

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 5 cubic feet should be inventoried with UW Facilities 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.

For labs sharing equipment, this is a shared responsibility.

- UW Lab Safety Manual
- NFPA 45



Lab Safety Team

(206) 685-3993