Equipment safety during research or teaching operations begins with lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) identifying the potential hazards and risks. A great resource is the manufacturer’s equipment manual which will typically provide safety and health information as well as preventative maintenance tasks. The risk of injury, illness or facility damage related to any equipment is more likely when equipment and tools are not properly designed, used, maintained, or assembled.
A lab manager should prepare and implement the guidelines for each piece of equipment or tool, and where necessary, write standard operating procedures for safe use of the equipment.
Aging Equipment and Tools
Older pieces of equipment and tools may not contain features that reduce or eliminate the potential for accidental exposure and injury to the user. After five years, most equipment requires expensive maintenance to operate; and after 10 years, most equipment is obsolete and parts are hard to find. Planning for maintenance costs and eventual replacement costs for critical equipment is another way to ensure safety during research operations.
Laboratory Equipment Decontamination
The Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Form (PDF) indicates to personnel servicing or moving your equipment that the equipment has been cleaned and is free of contamination.
If the equipment is a biological safety cabinet or has been exposed to radioactive material, you should contact EHS for further instructions before the equipment can be serviced or moved. The Instructions for Completing the Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Form (PDF) gives further instructions for cleaning.
Equipment Maintenance or Disposing of Surplus Equipment
Prior to allowing maintenance staff or the manufacturer’s representative to perform maintenance on equipment; or selling, scrapping, or transferring equipment to another research laboratory, you must decontaminate the equipment and document it using the Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Form (PDF).
Review the information to the left of this page for specific types of equipment, such as chemical fume hoods, biological safety cabinets, pressure vessels, and others.