EHS routinely inspects laboratories and laboratory support spaces. Inspections are performed in accordance with regulatory requirements and funding agency stipulations, and are used to address safety issues identified in the laboratory and prepare laboratories for inspections from outside agencies.
Laboratory inspections evaluate the following aspects of laboratory safety:
- Proper storage, use, and disposal of hazardous material
- Condition and use of engineering controls present in the laboratory
- Access to emergency equipment and compliance with fire safety requirements
- Compliance with university policies and procedures as well as state and federal regulatory requirements
- Overall cleanliness and functionality of the laboratory
The Lab Inspection Checklist provides a complete list of items considered during the inspection.
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Will laboratories be notified in advance about an upcoming inspection?
EHS typically notifies Principal Investigators and Laboratory Supervisors several weeks before a scheduled inspection and invites them to be present during the inspection. However, EHS may conduct unannounced inspections at any time to evaluate safety and compliance in the laboratory.
Who can see inspection results and how to view them?
Inspection results are available on the EHS Assistant portal . Principal Investigators and Laboratory supervisors designated as the manager of a laboratory will have access to inspection results automatically. If a Principal Investigator or Lab supervisor would like other lab members to have access to inspection results, they must send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the individual’s name, user ID, and G#.
To view inspection results for your laboratory:
- Login to the EHSA portal
- Select the Safety Inspection Icon
- Select Violation Deficiency Response
- Select Edit Response for the violation you are addressing
- Enter your response in Follow-up Correction Notes in the lower table on the page
- Enter the date you corrected the deficiency
- Enter the name of the individual addressing the deficiency
How frequently are laboratories inspected?
EHS conducts laboratory inspections at least annually for laboratories with high risk procedures and highly hazardous materials or equipment; annual inspections are also required for laboratories with a history of repeated violations or noncompliance. Laboratories not meeting any of these criteria are inspected by EHS triennially; if they have successfully completed annual self-inspections during the interim. Any laboratory that qualifies to conduct self-inspections but prefers that EHS conduct them can request EHS to complete their annual inspections. EHS reserves the right to enter and inspect a laboratory at any time to evaluate safety and compliance or to change the frequency of laboratory inspections for a given laboratory at any time.
Completing a Self-Inspection
The PI/LS may complete a self-inspection of their laboratory in EHSA at any time to ensure their lab is operating in compliance.
- Select the “Safety Inspections” tab from the EHSA homepage
- Then select “Self-Inspection” from the table
- Follow instruction listed on the page
Any laboratory not involved in high risk procedures, highly hazardous materials or equipment, and with no history of repeated violations or noncompliance, may submit a self-inspection to EHS annually to be reviewed and qualified as one of their required interim inspections.
What to expect after the inspection
Principal Investigators or their Laboratory Supervisors are encouraged, and requested, to participate in EHS laboratory inspections.
- Following an inspection, the PI/LS will receive an email from EHS that confirms an inspection has been conducted, and safety issues and corresponding corrective actions can be reviewed in EHSA.
- Egregious violations of safety policies, and those immediately dangerous to life and health, must be addressed at the time of the inspection, if it is not possible to correct the issue immediately, the lab may be closed until the issue can be corrected.
- For minor deficiencies, the PI/LS will be given up to 30 days to implement the required corrective actions.
- After that period, EHS will conduct a follow-up inspection to determine if appropriate corrective actions have been taken.
Laboratory closures due to non-compliance
EHS has the authority and responsibility to stop unsafe activities or activities conducted in an unsafe environment. Should an inspector or any member of EHS come upon a situation which is unsafe, they may require that work be suspended until the situation can be adequately addressed. EHS will work with the Principal Investigator and Laboratory Supervisor to identify appropriate corrective actions to address the situation.
EHS assistance with inspections
EHS will assist all laboratories in meeting regulatory compliance and safety standards.
PI/LS may request that EHS perform an informal inspection of their laboratory to identify safety concerns and to assist them in meeting government regulations.
PI/LS interested in scheduling an inspection should contact EHS.
All tenants leasing laboratory space in George Mason University buildings must either:
- Participate in Mason’s EHS routine inspection program, and agree to comply with corrective action recommendations; or
- Provide an annual written certification to EHS confirming that they maintain internal laboratory inspection or audit programs, and that all laboratory spaces under their control fully comply with applicable Federal and State environmental, health and safety regulations or guidelines