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Laboratory Inspections

As required by state and federal law, the Safety and Risk Management Office will conduct laboratory inspections to determine individual laboratory compliance with WCU’s Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) and other relevant safety policies.  These surveys are comprehensive and address record keeping, fire safety, egress, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, work practices, and where appropriate, chemical, biological, and radiation safety.  At least one annual inspection will be announced in order to work directly with the PI or laboratory supervisor to address specific items, such as inventories of particularly hazardous materials or processes, biosafety compliance, and any other safety concerns that arise.  Other inspections may be unannounced in order to provide a snapshot of laboratory safety and help to continually improve the safety program.

Inspection Reports

An inspection report identifying deficiencies and areas for corrective action will be directed to the laboratory’s principal investigator or supervisor.  These items must be corrected within 30 days of receipt of the laboratory inspection report.  If the items cannot be corrected in that timeframe, the principal investigator must submit a written corrective action plan detailing the expected corrections and estimated date of completion within the same 30 days.  Any inspection finding deemed an imminent danger (likely to cause a serious hazard, injury, disability, or death) must be corrected immediately. 

Lab Inspection Follow-up Process

  • If no response is received within 30 days of the initial report, then the Safety Office as a courtesy will contact the Principal Investigator of the laboratory with a reminder.  If the laboratory conducts research, additional department designees may also be notified. 
  • If no response is received and/or corrective actions are not completed after 60 days from receipt of the initial inspection report, the laboratory will be deemed noncompliant and information will be forwarded to the Dean’s Office. 

Previous inspection reports are a good measure for addressing safety issues and eliminating laboratory risks.  To help prepare for future inspections, please review the Laboratory Inspection Checklist and perform self-inspections on a regular basis.  PIs operating at BSL 2 designation should perform their own laboratory self-inspections using the BSL-2 Inspection Checklist.  The self-inspection process is an excellent learning tool for students and other lab personnel, and should be documented as part of the lab specific safety training requirement.

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