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4.19.1 Self Inspections

An important part of any research safety program is implementation of self inspections. Self inspections provide a number of useful benefits and further help to create a culture of safety within the lab. Benefits of self inspections include: 

  • Raising the level of awareness of laboratory personnel and determining the level of compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • Identifying and addressing any potential issues before an inspection by a state or federal regulatory agency.
  • Providing an opportunity for lab specific training by identifying potential issues within the lab and then training lab personnel to look for these issues.
  • Serving as a regular health and safety check of laboratory facilities.
  • Serving as an outlet for faculty, staff, and student concerns.
  • EHS recommends the following frequency for self inspections:
  • On a daily basis lab personnel should maintain good housekeeping within their lab.
  • Informal weekly lab walkthroughs or “Friday afternoon cleanups”.
  • Ideally, self inspections should occur once per month. These could include participation of research staff, DSRs, and/or safety committee members, and use of an inspection checklist.
  • At least once per semester research personnel should perform a formal self inspection utilizing the EHS self-inspection checklist and explanation key.

The benefits of conducting inspections of laboratories on a regular basis cannot be overstated. In addition to providing for a healthier and safer work environment, lab inspections can reduce legal liability by identifying potential issues, and training lab personnel to look for and correct potential issues.