EHS Laboratory Inspection Preparation Guidelines

Follow the guidelines below to prepare your area for responsibility for the EH&S annual inspection.

Posted Information

Required Documentation

The following documents should be available at the time of EH&S annual inspection:

  • A current copy of the ECU Chemical Hygiene Plan.
    Record of current CHP training of all authorized lab users. A complete list of individuals who have completed training is available on the EH&S website under Lab Safety.
  • Record of Lab Specific Training Documentation Form for each authorized lab user.
  • Records of weekly, one per semester, and annual self-inspections. Forms are located on lab safety website and should be maintained in the lab for 1 year and available during annual inspections and for external auditors.
  • Each lab must complete a chemical inventory using the chemical inventory format located on the EH&S website and forward the most current version to each year.
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each material listed on the chemical inventory.
  • Lab safety plans that coincide with all lab protocols and chemicals. Here is a Lab Safety Plan Library. Email copies of each original lab safety plan to


  • Label all refrigerators and microwaves with “NO FOOD OR DRINK”.
  • Label ice machine and any food products “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION”.
  • Freezer defrosted if necessary.

Fume Hood

  • Hood has been certified within the last 12 months.
  • Hood is clean (no spills), sash height is at the correct height (sticker) and access is not blocked.
  • Do not use fume hoods for storage.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Lab users (including students) wear long pants, closed-toed/closed heeled shoes. Arms are covered as well, no shorts. Lab coats, compatible gloves (no latex), safety glasses/goggles are available.

Eyewash Station and Safety Shower

  • Access to eyewash and safety shower is not blocked. Eyewash station is working, caps are in place.

Electrical Safety

  • Equipment is plugged into wall outlets (no daisy-chaining). No cords across floor or through ceiling.
  • Cords show no sign of fraying.

Compressed Gases

  • Compressed gas cylinders are secured with 2 sets of chains (or a combination of chains/stands) attached with eyebolts at 1/3 top and 1/3 bottom of the cylinder to a fixed surface. Segregate incompatible classes.
  • Cap cylinders when not in use.
  • Label cylinders with status and content.

Chemical Storage

  • Dispose of old/expired chemicals through EH&S.
  • Store chemicals in secure areas, preferably closed cabinet (open shelves must have a 1/4 inch lip). All containers must have a secure screw top cap. Single stack chemical containers. Store chemicals in the upright position.
  • Ensure storage areas and chemical containers are clean (free of rust, leaks…).
  • Store chemicals according to compatibility. Here is a chart of incompatible chemicals.
  • Limit amount of flammable liquids stored outside a flammable storage cabinet to 10 gallons. 25 gallons allowed if in safety cans.
  • Carcinogens, highly toxic and reproductive toxins are stored and used in a designated and labeled area. No open bench use. Ensure lab safety plans are available.

Chemical Labeling

  • Ensure integrity of the manufacturer label an replace damaged labels. Label all secondary containers with chemical name (no formulas or abbreviations) and hazard identity, including non-hazardous substances, the name of responsible party and date of preparation. Include expiration date if applicable.
  • Label vacuum flasks as “Used” with contents. Do not label as “waste”.


  • Maintain clear work surfaces, aisles and egress. No spills on counters or floors. No tripping hazards.
  • Organize and store supplies away from chemicals. Store heavy supplies on lower shelves and more than 18″ from sprinklers if on high shelves.


  • Do not store sharps or blades on benches or loose in drawers.
  • Clearly label sharp disposal containers. Do not recap needles.
  • Use sturdy cardboard box to dispose of broken glass. Label clearly.

Chemical Waste Management

  • Use secondary containment to store waste containers and label storage site “Satellite Accumulation Area”.
  • Use EH&S hazardous waste tag and include accumulation start date, contents (with %), hazard class and generator’s signature.
  • Keep containers closed at all times when not adding waste.
  • Request waste pick-up through EH&S when container is 3/4 full and/or before 1 year past accumulation start date.

Building Condition

  • Ensure no ceiling or floor tiles are loose, damaged or missing.
  • Ensure there are not unsealed holes through floor, ceilings, or walls.

Additional Guidance

  • Safety should be incorporated into employee work plans and student grade structures and enforced as any other key responsibility/dimension.
  • All laboratory doors must be kept locked when not occupied by lab staff. Measures must be taken to secure hazardous material and recognize/respond to security threats.

Lab Inspection Prep Checklist (printable)