Inspections and maintenance

Inspection and maintenance is one element of the Health, Safety, and Environment Management System (HSEMS), which is a framework of policy, procedure and program-level documents in support of safe working and learning activities at the University of Alberta. 

U of A senior administrators, supervisors, staff and students have legislated and university-mandated roles and responsibilities related to inspection and maintenance. Review the Inspection and Maintenance Assignment of Accountability and Procedure to learn more.

Regular inspections

Annual inspections

Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) conducts annual inspections of laboratories (including shared spaces, storage rooms, cold rooms and autoclave rooms) to verify safe work practices and answer questions. If you are a new researcher or have a new laboratory on campus, complete the New PI Survey to declare the work that you plan to do. 

HSE generally schedules inspections several weeks in advance. You will receive an email notification of the laboratory inspection and a link to the inspection checklist. To prepare for the inspection:

  1. Review the inspection checklist and address any outstanding issues.
  2. Check your laboratory registry on ARISE to ensure that it is up-to-date.
  3. As the PI, be prepared to accompany the HSE representative during the inspection (approximately 60 minutes on average). If you are unavailable, assign another member of the research group who is familiar with all elements of the laboratory and is able to register the laboratory in ARISE (or make updates to the registry).
  4. Assemble documentation that is part of the inspection process.
  5. Write down any questions you (or your research group) have for HSE.

Following the inspection, HSE will send you an electronic report with any outstanding items that may need follow-up. If you have questions regarding the report, contact

In addition to annual inspections, HSE also conducts inspections related to the use of biohazardous materials, nuclear substances, and lasers or x-ray equipment.

On a regular basis

In between annual inspections, complete the laboratory safety checklist on a monthly basis and conduct eyewash testing weekly to maintain safe, healthy and environmentally-responsible practices in the workplace.

For office or administrative areas, use this template to conduct a monthly or quarterly safety inspection. 

Laboratory repairs or maintenance

Complete the Facilities and Operations work requisition form, including information about hazards in the space. Attach a hazard assessment as necessary.

Moving equipment

Thinking of moving or surplussing equipment? Equipment MUST be decontaminated before it's moved. Follow the steps below:

  • For biological safety cabinets: contact HSE at for assistance.
  • For any other equipment: complete and submit an equipment decontamination form.

Top Inspection Findings & Corrective Actions

Missing or incomplete documentation, labeling & signage
Complete a hazard assessment, update safety documentation, and verify that safety signage is posted and that hazardous substances are labeled according to WHMIS guidelines.
Poor housekeeping
Keep aisles, exits and access to emergency equipment clear, and remove clutter from benchtops and fumehoods.
Incomplete/out-of-date inventory
Review your chemicals and biological materials on a regular basis to ensure they are stored safely and are in good condition. Dispose of chemical or biological waste via Chematix.
Improperly stored gas cylinders
Store compressed gas cylinders in an upright position and secure them with a chain, strap or cylinder stand.
Missing or incomplete spill kit
Ensure that the contents of your spill kit(s) match the hazards you are working with and store kits in a location that is easy to access.
Lack of emergency planning
Prepare an emergency response plan with instructions for what to do in case of emergency scenarios (including those related to the hazards in your workplace, such as spills). Include instructions for how to access emergency equipment such as eyewashes, showers, fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

Found a mystery chemical?

Broken fumehood, eyewash or emergency shower?

Facilities & Operations (F&O) tests and maintains fumehoods, plumbed eyewash stations and emergency showers.

Contact F&O at 780-492-4833.