Common Lab Violations

Example #1:
Clearance shall be maintained around electrical equipment (width: 30", depth: 36", height: 78").
Electrical panels (where circuit breakers are located) were blocked with lab equipment.
Corrective Action:
  • Do not block electric panels with any equipment.
  • Equipment must be no closer than 30" on either side or 36" in front of the panels.
  • These panels must be accessible in an emergency or for general maintenance.
Example #2:
Compressed gas containers not stored in an upright position and compressed gas cylinders not properly secured.
All compressed gas cylinders must be stored with the valve up. All compressed gas cylinders must be secured to prevent them from tipping over.
Corrective Action:
  • All compressed gas cylinders secured in upright position.
  • Cylinders (all sizes, including lecture bottles) must be transported, stored and used upright (with the valve up), and must be securely fastened to prevent them from falling or being knocked over.
  • Suitable racks, straps, chains or stands are required to support cylinders.
  • See also: EH&S Policy 1-5 (Compressed Gas and Cryogenic Fluid Handling, Storage and Disposal Compressed Gas Safety Handout).
Example #3:
Electrical wiring, devices modified or damaged or constitutes an electrical shock hazard.
Electric cords were found running under doors or through walls.
Corrective Action:
Do not allow electric cords to run under, over or through doorways or walls. (Not listed in FAQ).
Example #4:
Exit, exit access or exit discharge is obstructed.
Exit doors and hallways that are exit paths were blocked with equipment.
Corrective Action:
  • Access to exits, eyewashes, showers and fire extinguishers unrestricted.
  • Do not block the path to the exit doors.
  • Do not block the eyewash with glassware or other items.
  • Do not block the emergency shower with equipment or use it to hang lab coats, etc.
  • The fire extinguisher must be kept mounted on the hook.
  • Do not block the fire extinguisher with equipment or cover it with lab coats, etc.
Example #5:
Extension cords and flexible cords used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
Extension cords were used on multi outlet power strips and on equipment that was not temporary.
Corrective Action:
  • Extension cords are approved for temporary use only (they will be unplugged at the end of the day).
  • If extended use is required, hard wiring such as a new outlet should be installed.
  • Extension cords are easily frayed, a condition which may expose bare wires.
  • If not properly placed, extension cords may also become a trip hazard.
Example #6:
Fire doors or smoke barrier doors are blocked or obstructed or otherwise inoperable.
Fire and smoke doors in hallways were blocked with equipment.
Corrective Action:
All doors in the hallways must be able to close freely when the fire alarm is activated (Not specifically included in FAQ).
Example #7:
Hazardous materials not properly stored.
This was multiple items:
  • Chemicals stored on floor.
  • Vent caps were removed from flammable storage cabinet.
  • More than the allowed amount of flammable chemicals stored in lab.
  • Unlabeled chemical containers.
  • Leaking containers.
  • Chemicals left in vacated lab.
Corrective Action:
  • Do not store chemicals on the floor!
  • All chemical containers must be stored in an appropriate location to avoid breakage, mixing of incompatible materials and accidental release into a drain.
  • Shelves and containers in good condition.
  • Shelves and containers must be inspected weekly to confirm that no containers are leaking, bulging or have labels falling off and that the shelves are not rusted or have spilled materials on them.
  • Store materials and equipment in cabinets and on shelving provided for such storage.
  • Avoid storing materials and equipment on top of cabinets where they will be hard to see or reach.
  • Avoid storing chemical containers and heavy materials above eye level. Maintain a clearance of at least 18" from the sprinkler heads to allow proper functioning of the sprinkler system.
  • Shelving and other storage units should be secured to the wall to prevent them from falling over.
  • Shelving should contain a front-edge lip to prevent containers from falling.
  • Containers of liquids should be placed on a plastic tray that could hold the liquid if the container broke while on the shelf.
  • Flammable liquid storage limited to 25 gallons per room.
  • The total amount of flammable liquids (new, in use and waste) cannot exceed 25 gallons. If additional flammable liquids must be kept in the room, an approved flammable storage cabinet must be used.
  • Place appropriate labels on all containers.
  • All contents of all containers must be identified with the product name and the appropriate hazard warning.
  • Containers that come from the manufacturer (primary container) are labeled by the manufacturer.
  • Any secondary container (rinse bottles, etc) that will not be under the control of the lab worker at all times must be labeled or marked by the lab worker.

Note: Corrective Actions are from the Lab Inspection FAQ Sheet (in Adobe PDF format).

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