Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health Assessment Program

Principal Investigators and Faculty are vital to the success of safety and environmental
compliance programs in Colorado School of Mines research and teaching laboratories. Principal
Investigators and Faculty are responsible for ensuring safe operating procedures, and providing
training and supervision to students and lab workers. They must ensure research activities are
designed and conducted in a manner that makes safety a priority and follows applicable
environmental health standards and policies.

The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS) strives to support the core research and
teaching mission of Mines. Comprehensive laboratory evaluations help ensure that work within
campus laboratories is occurring safely and in compliance with applicable laws, guidelines and
Mines Policies. This Program is intended to promote safety in laboratory activities and aid
Principal Investigators and Faculty with laboratory safety and environmental protection
responsibilities.

This Laboratory Assessment Program identifies four processes to evaluate safety and
environmental health programs and includes:

1. Laboratory Self-Inspections
2. EHS Assessment Activities
3. Results and Corrective Measures
4. Laboratory Assessment Program Review

Laboratory Self-Inspections

Properly conducted self-inspections assure safe working conditions and compliance with
environmental regulations. Lab personnel should look at all areas and address safety and
environmental compliance concerns they identify. Individual laboratories may request assistance
with laboratory inspection procedures from EHS personnel.

Laboratory self-inspections should be conducted by Principal Investigators, Faculty or a
representative of a laboratory appointed by the Principal Investigator. At a minimum, EHS
recommends conducting inspections at the beginning of each semester. This schedule gives new
laboratory personnel an opportunity to participate in the self-inspection process and become
familiar with safety and environmental compliance issues specific to the laboratory location.

The Laboratory Assessment Checklist included in this Program in Appendix A may be followed
for self-inspections. The checklist is divided into three sections and includes:
 Environmental Health Assessment,
 Chemical Hygiene Assessment, and
 Fire/Life Safety Assessment.



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A comprehensive laboratory self-inspection must consider all sections of this checklist. The
required weekly inspection of laboratory waste storage areas addresses only the Waste Handling
Section of the Environmental Health Assessment.

Specific lab locations may have an existing checklist for specific safety or environmental
compliance issues that are not included in this checklist. These labs should work with EHS to
modify an assessment checklist that best addresses specific safety and environmental compliance
needs. Examples may include a checklist for a laboratory housing radioactive materials,
radiation producing equipment or lasers.

EHS Assessment Activities

EHS assessment activities may occur for any of the following reasons:
 As requested by a Principal Investigator, Research Faculty or lab personnel;
 Part of a routine annual inspection program;
 A mandatory investigation following a reported laboratory Safety Concern;
 Part of an accident investigation; or
 To collect information following a regulatory agency inspection.

EHS will use the Laboratory Assessment Checklist included in this Program in Appendix A to
standardize the inspection process. These completed checklists will be maintained in EHS files
so past assessment activities may be easily compared to current assessment results. The goal is
to identify and eliminate recurring environmental compliance and safety issues. EHS will also
develop a tracking program to measure the number and type of environmental compliance and
safety concerns campus wide.

During the assessment, EHS will work with the Principal Investigator, Faculty, or laboratory
personnel to address and correct safety and environmental compliance issues that can be
corrected at the time of the assessment. If safety and environmental compliance issues cannot be
adequately addressed during the lab visit, EHS will prepare a written assessment report and
recommended corrective measures for the Principal Investigator and Department Head. See the
Results and Corrective Measures section of this Program for specific notification procedures.

The Department Head will be notified in advance of the EHS laboratory visit and assessment
activities. Department Heads are encouraged to announce the schedule to their department
personnel and have them conduct self-inspections. Appendix B contains a sample of the routine
annual inspection notice.


Results and Corrective Measures
Assessment results will be communicated to the Principle Investigator and the Academic
Department Head. Results will be summarized using the following ratings.
 Requires Immediate Attention - Safety or environmental compliance issues exist that
could immediately cause injury, fire, impact the heath of laboratory personnel, or result in
a violation by a regulatory agency.
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 Requires Corrective Actions – Safety or environmental compliance issues exist but do not
pose an immediate threat, but must be repaired in a timely manner.
 Meets Expectations - Safety or environmental compliance issues identified and corrected
during inspection process.
 Excellent – No Safety or environmental compliance issues identified.

Laboratories that implement a regularly scheduled, comprehensive self-inspection program
should easily achieve an assessment summary rating of excellent or Meets Expectations.

Laboratories having safety or environmental compliance issues requiring immediate attention
will be identified to the Principal Investigator and the Academic Department Head in a memo
from EHS. The memo will identify the specific items that require immediate attention and
guidelines to eliminate or repair the safety or environmental compliance concern. The completed
Laboratory Assessment Checklist will be attached to the memo.

The cost to eliminate safety and environmental compliance issues is the responsibility of the
academic department. In some cases, EHS may assist by using available EHS funds as well as
working with vendors to obtain appropriate equipment and price quotes to repair and eliminate
the identified concerns. Requested for funding assistance may be submitted to the Senior Vice
President of Finance and Administration.

The Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration will be notified of unresolved safety
and environmental compliance issues. Reports of close calls and near miss incidents are reported
to the Mines Executive Committee.

Laboratories having safety and environmental compliance issues that require corrective actions
will be identified to the Principal Investigator by e-mail communication. A summary of the
assessment results will be provided along with recommended corrective actions and a schedule
to eliminate the safety and environmental compliance concerns.

Targeted re-inspections will be completed to ensure the lab qualifies for a meets expectations
rating. Failure to address safety or environmental compliance issues in a lab space will be
managed on a case by case basis.

Laboratories that achieve a rating of Excellent or Meets Expectations will be reviewed by the
Campus Safety Committee and recommendations will be made to the Provost to recognize the
Principal Investigator and the laboratory personnel.

Laboratory Assessment Program Review

The Laboratory Assessment Checklist will need to be revised as problem areas are identified or
as changes in regulations occur. The records of EHS assessment reports and completed
assessment checklists will be maintained electronically and in a dedicated file. These records
should be maintained so trends and program improvements may be implemented.
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Appendix A

Environmental Health and Safety
Laboratory Assessment Checklist






Environmental Health and Safety
Environmental Health Laboratory Assessment

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Lab Contact: ___________________________________ Lab Phone: _________________________________
Building: ______________________________________ Room: _____________________________________
Inspected By: _________________________________
Date: ______________________________________

Inspection Finding Categories:
A. No items of safety or environmental concerns were identified.
B. Items of safety or environmental concerns were identified.
C. Uncorrected repeated safety or environmental items were identified.


Signs and Labels
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Lab refrigerators/freezers/microwaves labeled:
“No Food”
“No Flammables” (unless a flammable
rated refrigerator is present)

Restricted areas are identified and secure.


Emergency contact information sign is posted

on outside of lab door.

Hazardous Materials Emergency Information

poster from EHS posted.

Appropriate Signs on lab entrance:

Caution – Radioactive Materials
Biohazard Symbols
Lasers

There are no signs present indicating hazards

that no longer exist.








Training
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Persons handling and generating hazardous
List of personnel:
waste are current on annual training.






Persons working with BBP are current on
List of personnel:
annual training.






On-the-job training completed (lab specific

training).

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Proper PPE available and matched to hazards:

Gloves

Lab Coates
Safety Glasses/Goggles
Face Shields
Respirators

Proper lab attire (no open toed shoes etc.).


Proper respirator use (if applicable).


Laboratory Work Practices
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Gloves are removed before exiting lab.


Smoking and consumption of food and

beverage in the lab are prohibited.

Food and beverages are not stored in

laboratory areas.

Mouth pipetting prohibited.


Used needles/sharps are stored in appropriate
sharps containers.

Fume hood or glove box is used for handling

hazardous materials.

Vision panel in door to lab is free from

obstruction.







Waste Handling
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

No waste is disposed in the trash, sinks, or by

evaporation.

Pink waste tags are affixed to each waste

container when waste first introduced.

Wastes submitted to EHS, within 6 months

after date of first filling of container.

Waste containers are in good condition and:

Free of leaks
Labeled
Closed
Segregated

Satellite Accumulation Area Requirements:

Labels Complete
Identify Constituents and Concentrations
Use Chemical Names
Weekly Inspection Form Complete
Segregation for incompatibles

Any special waste (biological, radioactive) is

properly marked with special labeling.

Incompatibles not mixed together.


Generator does not treat chemical waste in

lab.

Biosafety
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
C
omments (description, location, etc.)

Point of use containers available for biomedical

wastes at the benches.

Sharps containers available and not overfilled.


Sharps are handled appropriately:

no re-capping needles
no bending or breaking needles

Proper decontamination methods used (10%

bleach or other EPA approved decontamination
solution.

Biomedical waste containers do not contain

non-biomed waste (trash chemicals, etc.).







Radiation Safety
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
C
omments (description, location, etc.)

Radioactive materials are properly labeled and

stored.

For ongoing projects, containers of radioactive

materials are:
properly labeled
sealed
with secondary containment (as needed)

Personal dosimeters and area dosimeter are

current

Copy of lab safety procedures for handling

radioactive materials is available in the lab.

Users of radiation have been properly trained

on radiation safety.

For analytical X-ray equipment, the state

inspection is current (the blue sticker

For analytical X-ray equipment, the

interlock and warning devices are in
working condition.

Additional Comments / Recommend Items




















Environmental Health and Safety
Chemical Hygiene Laboratory Assessment

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Lab Contact: ___________________________________ Lab Phone: _________________________________
Building: ______________________________________ Room: _____________________________________
Inspected By: _________________________________
Date: ______________________________________

Inspection Finding Categories:
A. No items of safety or environmental concerns were identified.
B. Items of safety or environmental concerns were identified.
C. Uncorrected repeated safety or environmental items were identified


Compressed Gas Cylinders / Distribution Systems
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Unsecured cylinder


Cylinder cap in place when not in use or when

being moved.

Regulator mounted on cylinder not in use


Cylinders in use or storage are secured in

upright position

Incompatibles separated.


Hoses, tubing and regulators are in good

working condition:
Cracks, leaks, damage
plastic tubing for flammable gases
Proper and intact labels.

Transportation in cylinder cart.


Excessive amount of flammable gases


Excessive amount of oxidizing gases


Excessive amount of toxic gases













General Appearances / Housekeeping
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Unobstructed Egress.


Empty chemical containers.


Workspace clutter and free of

contamination.

Trash bins.


Chemical Fume Hoods / Exhaust Points
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Over-crowded.


Low flow or airflow blocked or restricted.


Performance check within last 12 months.

Sash open during use or unattended.


Reagent and Sample Storage
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Secondary containment used properly.


Incompatibles stored together:

Acids and bases
Acids and cyanides, sulfides or bleach
Oxidizers and flammables
Waster reactive and aqueous
Organic and Concentrated acids
Bleach and ammonium hydroxide

Degraded and expired containers.


Containers properly labeled and intact.


Flammable Liquid Storage:

5 gal. or larger stored in flammable liquid
storage cabinet
No more than 10 gal. stored outside of
flammable liquid storage cabinet

Chemical spills (unattended)


Refrigerators:

Flammable materials
Cluttered

Safety Data Sheets
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Hardcopies not available


No access to Internet / MSDS’s






Additional Comments / Recommend Items





















Environmental Health and Safety
Fire and Life Safety Laboratory Assessment

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Lab Contact: ___________________________________ Lab Phone: _________________________________
Building: ______________________________________ Room: _____________________________________
Inspected By: _________________________________
Date: ______________________________________

Inspection Finding Categories:
A. No items of safety or environmental concerns were identified.
B. Items of safety or environmental concerns were identified.
C. Uncorrected repeated safety or environmental items were identified.

Safety Equipment
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

Fire extinguishers are clearly visible and have

unobstructed access.

Emergency eyewashes and showers are in

good condition, clearly visible and have

unobstructed access.

Emergency shower sprays will not contact

electrical wiring or equipment.

Machine guards for hazards such as chain

drives, belt drives, rotating shafts and pinch
points are in place.

Emergency telephones are clearly visible and

have unobstructed access.

Emergency shut-offs (ventilation, electrical

and gas) are clearly visible and have
unobstructed access.

First aid kits are clearly visible, unobstructed

and well stocked.







Electrical Safety
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

All power cords and plugs are undamaged and

in good condition

All extension cords and power strips are

plugged directly into building electrical outlets.

Only extension cords with 3-prong plugs

(grounded) are in use.

Extension cords are only used to power a

single piece of equipment (unless
manufactured with multiple outlets).

The current rating of all extension cords

exceeds the combined maximum current draw
of the equipment powered by them.

Extension cords are only used on a short-term

basis and not as an alternative to installing
additional building power outlets. (Cords
attached to walls, benches, ceilings, etc. are
evidence of long-term usage.)

All electrical equipment is properly grounded.


Manufactured electrical equipment (including

extension cords) has not been modified from
its original condition and is only being used in
a manner intended by the manufacturer.

All power cords on the floor in travel paths are
covered in a manner to protect them from
damage.

No power cords are routed through doorways,
above ceilings under floor coverings, through
holes in walls or in any other manner that
might expose them to damage.

Power supply or other high voltage

connections are made using wire nuts and
enclosed in junction boxes.

There is at least 36 in. (wide and deep) of clear
floor space in front of all electrical panels.

There are no exposed energized elements

(excluding data or other low voltage wiring).








Fire Safety / Life Safety
# Compliance Items:
Category Item
Comments (description, location, etc.)

All aisles are unobstructed and at least 30 in.

in width.


Both primary and secondary exits are

unobstructed.

There is no combustible storage within 24 in.

of the ceiling (18 in. if fire sprinklers are
present.

Fire rated doors (self-closing, solid core or

metal doors with no window or wired glass
window, and no vents) are not propped open.

Fire sprinkler spray patterns are not blocked

by equipment or furnishings.

Emergency shut-down procedures are posted

for any equipment that cannot safely be left in
operation, unattended.

Space heaters are not located near

combustible materials and are unplugged
when not attended.

There are no unprotected pointed, sharp, hot

or otherwise hazardous objects next to travel
paths that might be accidently contacted by
personnel.

Signage or warning lights for emergency

equipment is clearly visible (including exit
signs)

Additional Comments / Recommend Items




















Appendix B

Routine Annual Laboratory Assessment Notification








ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY DEPARTMENT

Date:
To: [Insert Department Head]
From: [Insert Assessment Supervisor’s name], Coordinator
Subject: Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health Assessment
The Environmental Health and Safety Department will be assessing safety and compliance with
environmental health programs in campus research and teaching laboratories. The assessment activities
will include the following:
 A review of current laboratory conditions,
 Identification of potential safety issues,
 Identification of environmental health program compliance issues, and
 A report to the Principal Investigator and the Department Head identifying safety and
environmental compliance issues.

The goals of these assessment activities are to promote safety in laboratory activities and aid Principal
Investigators with laboratory safety and environmental health program responsibilities.

A copy of the Laboratory Safety and Environmental Health Assessment Program is available on the
EHS Web Page. Appendix A of this Program contains the checklist EHS personnel will use during the
laboratory visit. Departments and individual laboratories are encouraged to implement a self-inspection
process described in this Program.


Department Heads are free to notify their department of the scheduled assessment activities. Please
pass this notification along to Principal Investigators, Research Faculty and laboratory personnel.

[insert department name and location] laboratory assessments will begin on [insert date and time.] Feel
free to contact me with any questions that you may have about the Laboratory Safety and Environmental
Health Assessment Program.