2.E.2.2 Inspection Checklists

Inspection checklists take a variety of formats and vary in length depending on the type and focus of the inspection. Although most inspection forms are paper, some are computer based. Make each inspection item a YES or NO question. Pose the issue so that a positive outcome is a YES, making it easy to spot problems. Always leave room for comments.

There are a number of commercial products on the market offering Web-based applications that work on a laptop or notebook computer. Checklist programs are available for handheld digital devices. Some may download into spreadsheets or word-processing programs. Others automatically create reports that can be e-mailed to recipients. All are intended to streamline the record-keeping and reporting process.

2.E.2.3 Conducting the Inspection

When conducting an inspection, interacting with the individuals in the laboratory is important. Even if inspectors are mainly looking at equipment and conditions, laboratory personnel can provide a great deal of information and the conversation itself may foster positive relationships between laboratory personnel and the group conducting the inspection. Speaking with laboratory personnel also helps gauge how well training programs are working and provides feedback for possible improvements to the laboratory safety program.

Take notes and make comments on the inspection form to be able to recall the details and describe any problems in the report. Where possible, take photographs of issues that need particular attention.

Point out problems as they are found and show laboratory personnel how to fix them. If the problem is corrected during the inspection, make a note that it was resolved.

2.E.2.4 Inspection Report

As soon as possible after an inspection, prepare a report for the laboratory supervisor and others, as appropriate. This may include the CHO, the chair or manager of the department, line supervisors, and directors. Depending on the type and focus of the inspection, it may be helpful to hold a meeting with the key individuals to review the findings.

The report should include all problems noted during the inspection, along with the criteria for correcting them. If photographs were taken, include them in the report. The report should also note any best practices and any improvements since the last inspection.

Include a reasonable time line for corrective actions. Be sure to follow up with the laboratory to ensure that recommended corrections are made.

2.E.2.5 Corrective Actions

In most cases, laboratory personnel will take the appropriate corrective actions once they have been made aware of an issue. If the laboratory supervisor is not supportive and the necessary changes are not made, the inspectors and EHS and other appropriate individuals in the organization will have to decide whether the infractions are serious enough to put either the health or safety of laboratory personnel at risk or the institution at risk for violation of a regulation or code.

The organization must decide what steps to take for those individuals or laboratory groups that are using unsafe work practices or are not in compliance with institutional policies or external regulations.

2.E.3 Items to Include in an Inspection Program

The following list is representative, not exhaustive:

   Required PPE is available and used consistently and correctly (e.g., laboratory coat, gloves, safety glasses, chemical splash goggles, face shield).

   Compressed gas cylinders are secured correctly, cylinders are capped if not connected for use, and proper regulators are used.

   Limitations on where food and drink storage and eating and drinking are allowed are observed.

   Electrical cords are off surfaces where spills of flammable materials are likely, and cords are in good condition, not displaying signs of excessive wear (fraying, cords are not pinched). Equipment not meeting National Electrical Safety Code Division 1, Group C and D explosion-resistance specifications are electrically inspected prior to use in the laboratory. (See Chapter 7, section 7.C.)

   Laboratory chemical hoods have been tested and are operated with inspection information visible, hoods are used properly, work is conducted inside 6 in. from hood face, airflow is not significantly impeded by large pieces of equipment.

   Vacuum glassware is inspected and maintained in good condition, pressure reaction vessels with pressure relief and temperature/pressure measuring capability are used for high-pressure reactions.

   Health classification of materials is conducted (particularly for unknown compounds), and associated work practices and containment based on hazard/risk classification of the material are followed (e.g., low hazard, hazardous, particularly

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