Issued 5/28/2020, revised 7/30/2020 with updated PSOM room sign request link (html&PDF)

This Laboratory Self-Inspection Tool is meant to assist you with maintaining your lab space as a safe workspace. These are items that would generally be reviewed during your annual lab inspection. Please work with your lab members to create and keep a safe lab environment. Speak with your inspector or reach out to EHRS with your questions or safety concerns.

A printer-friendly PDF version can be downloaded at the link below.

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Administrative Requirements

Applicable to All Labs 

Laboratory Safety Assurance & Chemical Hygiene Work Plan  

  • Log in to BioRAFT: https://penn.bioraft.com/ 

  • Scroll to the bottom of your lab profile summary page to where it says “View Laboratory Safety Assurance & Chemical Hygiene Work Plan”  

 

Room signs  

  • Doors leading into the laboratory from the corridor must be posted with current information and correct after-hours contacts.  Compliant lab room signs are provided to PSOM labs by the school and to other labs by EHRS. 

  • PSOM room sign request form: https://www.med.upenn.edu/spo/signs/placards.html

 

BioRAFT Lab Member List  

  • Check that your lab member list has been confirmed within the past year. 

  • Log in to BioRAFT: https://penn.bioraft.com/ 

  • Click on the “Members” tab at the top of your lab’s profile page. 

 

Lab Locations (Spaces) in BioRAFT 

  • Log in to BioRAFT: https://penn.bioraft.com/ 

  • Check your assigned lab spaces by clicking on the “spaces” tab at the top of your lab’s profile page. 

Applicable to Labs who use Biological Materials 

Biological Registration 

  • Look for the box that says “compliance summary” at the top of your lab profile summary page.   

  • If your lab does not work with biological materials, you will see a grey dot next to the word “Biological”.  Contact EHRS if this incorrect. 

  • If your lab does work with biological materials, you will see the status of your registration.  A green check mark means that your registration has been approved by EHRS within the past year. 

  • If you see a warning symbol, or if your work has changed since you last submitted your registration, click on the “Bio” tab at the top of your profile page to update your registration. 

 

rsNA registration (renew every 3 years), if applicable 

 

Exposure Control Plan, if applicable 

Applicable to Labs with Chemicals 

ChemTracker Chemical Inventory 

  • Log in to BioRAFT (https://penn.bioraft.com/) and click on the “ChemTracker” tab at the top of your lab’s profile to view your chemical inventory. 

  • All hazardous chemicals must be tracked in ChemTracker. 

 

Check your inventory 

General Lab Maintenance

Confirm the following:

  • Bench tops are free of clutter and well organized 

  • Eyewashes and emergency shower stations are accessible. Remove any clutter or stored items from these spaces. 

  • There is no storage within 18” of ceiling (for buildings with sprinklers) 

  • There are no fabric-upholstered or damaged chairs in the lab spaces. Ask your PI or Department to replace any fabric chairs with wipeable, non-porous chairs. 

  • There is no food or drink in any lab spaces. Remind lab staff not to consume or store food or drink in the lab.  

  • Eyewash stations are tested at least once a week (for eyewashes with plumbed drains). Use the spray to wash out the sink or other items and encourage other lab members to do that same. Flush-mounted wall units can be activated by opening the door. Do not test shower units.  

  • Electrical outlets within 5 feet of a water source have GFCI protection. (See Electrical Safety Fact Sheet)  

  • Hot plates are unplugged when not in use. (See Hot Plate Malfunctions and Misuse). 

  • Refrigerators and all types of freezers are in good order, defrosted as needed, and have clean filters. 

  • Centrifuges are maintained; rotors are in good condition. 

  • Sharps and razor blades are secured if being reused (dispose of rusty blades). 

  • Power strips and extension cords are not daisy-chained, and extension cords are not used as a long-term solution. Ask your building administrator for alternative power supply options. 

  • All lab staff have clean, undamaged, and proper-fitting PPE (lab coat, safety glasses, gloves) and they are worn while in the lab. 

  • Ensure all lab staff have access to additional PPE for hazardous work (chemically-resistant gloves, cryogen-handling gloves, splash goggles, face shields, heat-resistant gloves, etc.) 

Cold Rooms

Confirm the following:

  • Cold rooms are free of clutter and mold. Check cold rooms for mold monthly, wipe-off any growth with 70% ethanol, and report any ongoing issue to your Building Administrator. 

  • No food or drink is stored in the cold room. 

  • No gas cylinders, dry ice or hazardous chemicals are stored in the cold room. 

Equipment Corridors
  • Keep equipment corridors free of clutter 

  • No hazardous chemical storage is permitted in equipment corridors except for closed flammables and corrosive cabinets. 

  • Keep a 44-inch-wide path open for egress 

General Chemical Storage

Confirm the following:

  • Flammable, toxic and oxidizing gases are listed in your ChemTracker chemical inventory. 

  • Chemicals are properly stored and segregated, such as acid and bases. 

  • Hazardous liquids are not stored above eye level. 

  • Bottles are not stacked and containers of liquid are stored upright. 

  • Damaged chemical containers/lids are disposed of and illegible or missing labels are replaced. 

  • Secondary/intermediate containers are labeled with full chemical names and hazard statements. 

  • Gas cylinders are well secured, either to the wall or by floor anchors. 

  • Spaces are labeled with “designated area” for use of ethidium bromide or other carcinogens, mutagens, or toxins unless the entire room has been labeled as a designated area on the door sign. 

Flammable Liquids Storage Cabinets

For information about Flammable Liquids Storage Cabinet specifications see https://ehrs.upenn.edu/health-safety/lab-safety/lab-design-equipment/flammable-liquids-storage-cabinets-specification 

Fume Hoods

Confirm the following:

  • Fume hoods are free of clutter and well organized; equipment does not block airflow or back baffle. 

  • The hood has an EHRS ID# sticker and green sticker indicating the maximum allowable sash height.  (Contact EHRS if either of these is missing). 

  • The fume hood sashes are not broken and operate easily.  Request a work order if repairs are needed.  

  • Alarm is not sounding and has not been deactivated/muted. Request a work order if repairs are needed.  Do not use a hood that is in alarm or does not seem to be functioning properly. 

  • Hood has not been placed in “emergency/purge” mode.  The hood is not designed to be used while in this mode.  Contact EHRS if you have questions about this. 

  • Hood sashes are closed when not in use.  

  • There are no flammable materials, large waste carboys, or excessive chemicals stored in the hood. 

Tissue Culture Rooms

For general information about Biosafety Cabinets see EHRS website (https://ehrs.upenn.edu/health-safety/biosafety/biosafety-cabinets

  • Biosafety Cabinets must be certified annually (check sticker on cabinet) 

  • Keep Biosafety Cabinets clutter-free: only materials used during procedures should be stored in the cabinet. Keep front and rear grilles clear of materials at all times. 

  • A hydrophobic filter must be installed on the vacuum line before the vacuum turret. 

  • Use of continuous flame Bunsen burners inside the cabinet is prohibited (See:  Alternatives to Use of Flames inside a Biosafety Cabinet). 

  • UV must not be used as primary decontamination method. Speak with a Biosafety Officer for more information about proper disinfectants.  

  • Soap and paper towels must be available at the sink in the tissue culture room and used by lab staff. 

Infectious Waste and Sharps

Confirm the following:

  • Infectious waste is kept neat and orderly and removed from the lab space regularly.  

  • Razor blades, scalpel blades, needles, and syringes (with or without needles) are disposed of in an Infectious Waste Sharps Container. 

  • Sharps containers are only filled to 2/3 capacity, and lid is in place while in use. 

  • Non-sharps “Red-Bag” Waste is removed regularly and is not overfilled. 

  • Red bag is supported by hard-sided waste bin or frame (not an open bag on the floor).  Cardboard boxes cannot be used for infectious waste collection. 

  • No sharps containers, glass boxes or trash cans are lined with red bags. 

Satellite Waste Accumulation Area

If lab has any chemicals in use or in storage, confirm there is chemical waste collection and check the following: 

  • All chemical waste is tagged with yellow chemical waste tag and all sections of the tag are filled out. 

  • Contents of waste container listed on the tag as soon as anything is added to the container. 

  • All chemical waste containers are closed when not in use and are kept in secondary containment bins. 

  • Line box with heavy poly bags. 

  • Do not overfill these boxes!  

  • Do not put syringes, syringe barrels, razors, or blades in these boxes! 

Resources

Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC certification and repair, Vacuum system protection, use of open flames in BSCs, Use of UV lights in BSCs): https://ehrs.upenn.edu/health-safety/biosafety/biosafety-cabinets 

Position paper on the use of UV lights in BSCs: https://ehrs.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/inline-files/absauvlightpositionpaper-2.pdf 

Laboratory Inspection Program https://ehrs.upenn.edu/health-safety/lab-safety/laboratory-inspection-program  

Chemical Inventory Program https://ehrs.upenn.edu/health-safety/lab-safety/chemical-inventory-program 

Chemical Hygiene Plan https://ehrs.upenn.edu/policies-resources/chemical-hygiene-plan 

Chemical Waste https://ehrs.upenn.edu/health-safety/regulated-waste/chemical-waste