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Inspection Communication Process

Cornell’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety works with college, department, and facility staff to perform inspections of campus research areas. Inspections are provided as a service for various stakeholders to recommend improvements relating to issues that could pose a risk to laboratory personnel, students, support staff, the public, or the University itself. Research areas are subject to various safety standards, regulations, and codes. Accreditation and granting agencies require compliance with state and federal laws.

The process used to communicate recommended improvements is described below, although a University Safety Officer has discretion to take immediate action in unusual circumstances. At each step in the process, efforts will be made to work with the various stakeholders to identify issues that may prevent recommended improvements from being implemented. In the case of infrastructure or facilities-related issues, it is generally enough for a lab to submit a facilities ticket request and provide the request number in the improvement certification. Requests for deadline extensions may be submitted at any time, for example through inspection software, correspondence with the inspector, or an email to askEHS@cornell.edu.

Assistance may be obtained at any time by contacting askEHS@cornell.edu. Please consider EHS a partner and resource.

Initial Notification and Grace Period

Recommended improvements will be documented in an inspection report delivered to the individual overseeing the lab or their designee. A deadline to complete improvements and submit the certification will be specified, which will vary depending on the severity of the risk, but generally could be up to 30 days. A follow-up inspection may be required after improvements have been implemented.

Tier 1 Notifications

Communications concerning unaddressed recommendations may include the Department Safety Representative. A follow-up date will be established.

Tier 2 Notifications

Communications concerning unaddressed recommendations may include College Safety Representatives and a department or administrative manager.

Tier 3 Notifications

Communications concerning unaddressed recommendations may include the Department Chair or Unit Leader and University boards or committees that have authority over the relevant research activities (e.g. IBC, IACUC, IRB, RSC).

Tier 4 Notifications

Unaddressed recommendations at Tier 4 may be included in reports submitted periodically to college or division administration. Continuity of research, permits, grant certifications, etc., may be impacted.