Inspections + Maintenance

Inspection and maintenance are key elements of the Health, Safety and Environment Management System (HSEMS).

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 Maintenance

Lab Principal Investigators (PIs) should 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 the  office inspection template  to conduct a monthly or quarterly safety inspection.

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 lab on campus, complete the New PI Survey  to declare the work you plan to do. 

HSE generally schedules inspections with PIs by email several weeks in advance. To prepare for an inspection:

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

Following the inspection, HSE will send you a report with any outstanding items that may need follow-up. 

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

Top Inspection Findings + Corrective Actions

Missing + 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Incomplete + Out-of-date Inventory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 + 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.