University at Buffalo Crest.

Policy Information

Date Established: 4/22/2002
Date Last Updated: 7/1/2014
Facilities, Health and Safety
Responsible Office:
Environment, Health & Safety
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

Lab Equipment Release Policy

This policy is in effect even though it has not gone through the policy review process.


This policy prescribes the procedures to be followed to safely and legally release for unrestricted use, laboratory equipment which may potentially be contaminated by hazardous chemical, radiological, or biological materials. Adherence to this procedure will ensure that employees, students, and members of the public are not needlessly exposed to potentially dangerous materials, and that no materials are inappropriately released to the environment.

Policy Statement

Material Removal

All hazardous chemical, radiological, or bio-hazardous materials must be removed from equipment, placed in appropriate packaging, and placed in an appropriate storage facility or disposed of in accordance with established procedures before release of equipment.

Chemicals designated for disposal must be disposed of in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Management Guidebook.

Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) staff, in accordance with established procedures, will pick up radiological materials designated for disposal.

Bio-hazardous materials will be disposed of as regulated medical waste in accordance with established procedures. These materials may first be treated by chemical or high temperature methods to reduce risk prior to disposal as regulated waste.

Some materials require support by trained specialists, such as the removal of internal radioactive sources from liquid scintillation counters. The department or principal investigator will make arrangements with the counter manufacturer for the proper removal and disposal of the sources. All such work must be documented.


All hazardous chemical, radiological, or bio-hazardous materials will be removed from facility surfaces before release of the facilities. Decontamination will be performed as outlined herein.

Radiological Materials

Radioactive contamination will be removed by standard radiological decontamination methods. The maximum level of residual radioactivity will be as determined by EHS policy, or by Chapter I, Part 16 of the State Sanitary Code, whichever is more limiting. A documented close-out survey shall be conducted by EHS. Surveys will be performed by the principal investigator to demonstrate that decontamination limit has been achieved. These surveys must be documented, and records must be available for review by EHS or by the Department of Health. The principal investigator must notify EHS of the impending close out. The area will then be posted in accordance with EHS policies. All waste generated in the course of decontamination must be disposed of as radioactive waste. After the close out survey is completed, radioactive labels and stickers will be removed or defaced.

Chemical Residues

Chemical residues will be removed, neutralized, or otherwise rendered non-hazardous using an appropriate method determined by the chemical and physical characteristics of the contaminant(s), and the physical nature of the facilities surfaces. Hazard labels will be removed or defaced as appropriate. The decontamination method must be documented, and records must be available for inspection by EHS. Any incidental wastes must be disposed of properly.

Bio-hazardous Contaminants

Bio-hazardous contaminants must be removed or rendered non-pathological. Typically this will be accomplished using a bleach solution or other chemical means. Hazard labels must be removed or defaced, as appropriate. The decontamination method must be documented and records must be available for inspection by EHS. Any incidental wastes must be disposed of properly as regulated medical waste.

Certification and Labeling

Once material removal and decontamination have been completed, the principal investigator (or other authorized individual as designated in writing), must affix a copy of the Equipment Release Certification form to the equipment. All sections of the form must be completed, with the relevant information or “NA” as appropriate. A copy of the form must be retained, and must be available for inspection by EHS.

Equipment with No Potential for Contamination

Some equipment within laboratories has essentially no potential for contamination. This includes computers and office equipment, audio-visual equipment, cameras, optical equipment, food storage refrigerators, etc. No decontamination of this equipment is required and the “No potential for Contamination” box shall be checked on the release form. In addition to this check off, the name and date section should be completed, and the other sections may be left blank.

Equipment Release

Once the equipment release/certification form has been affixed to the equipment it may be discarded, stored, or transferred. University Facilities Operations will not pick up or transport any equipment, which has not been tagged.

Special Problems

All special or unusual problems will be referred to EHS for resolution. Any deviation from the requirements of this procedure must be approved in writing by EHS.


This policy applies to all potentially contaminated equipment originating from any laboratory where radiological, hazardous chemical or biologically hazardous materials are used, created, or stored. This may include but is not limited to fume hoods, benches, autoclaves, centrifuges, refrigerators, freezers, incubators, BioSafety cabinets, and analytical equipment (hereinafter “the equipment”).

This procedure applies to equipment originating from campus facilities as well as off-campus locations.



University at Buffalo Facilities employees.


Any laboratory equipment used for research or storage of research materials, including but not limited to fume hoods, autoclaves, centrifuges, refrigerators, freezers, incubators.


Hazardous, radiological, or biological materials.

Safe or Safety

Having no exposure to potentially dangerous concentrations of materials.


Deans, Directors, and Department Chairs

  • Ensure that all faculty and principal investigators receive a copy of this policy, are instructed that it is necessary to comply with the terms of this policy, and ensure that this policy is followed.

Faculty and Principal Investigators

  • Ensure that all laboratory personnel have access to a copy of this policy, that the policy is followed, that any unusual problems are referred to EHS for discussion and resolution.

Laboratory Staff and Students

  • Comply with this policy.
  • Refer any problems or questions to their supervisor.

Environment, Health & Safety

  • Provide consultative support and assist in managing unusual or special problems.
  • Authorize any necessary deviations from this policy.

Contact Information

Contact An Expert
Contact Phone Email
Environment, Health & Safety 716-829-3301

Related Information

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July 2014
Updated the Responsible Executive to reflect the current organizational structure.