Policy Information

Date Established: 4/17/2002
Date Last Revised: 7/1/2014
Category:
Facilities
Responsible Office:
Environment, Health & Safey
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

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Lab Equipment Service Policy

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

Summary

All laboratory equipment which may potentially be contaminated by hazardous, radiological, or biological materials  must be safely and properly prepared for service or repair by University Facilities Operations, or by commercial service vendors.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo will make every effort to safely and properly prepare laboratory equipment which may be potentially contaminated by hazardous, radiological, or geological materials, for service or repair by University Facilities Operations or by commercial service vendors. Adherence to these procedures is necessary to ensure that service employees are not needlessly exposed to potentially dangerous materials and that no materials are inappropriately released to the environment.

Applicability

This procedure applies to all potentially contaminated equipment located within 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, autoclaves, centrifuges, refrigerators, freezers, and incubators (hereafter equipment).

This procedure applies to equipment located within both campus facilities and off-campus facilities.

Definitions

Employees  

University at Buffalo Facilities.

Equipment 

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

Materials

Hazardous, radiological, or biological materials.

Safe or Safety  

Having no exposure to potentially dangerous concentrations of materials.

Vendor  

Commercial service/repair vendors or contractors.

Responsibility

Deans, Directors, and Department Chairs

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

Faculty and Principal Investigators

  • Ensure that all laboratory personnel have access to a copy of this procedure, that the procedure is followed, and that any unusual problems are referred to Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) for discussion and resolution.
  • Provide a copy of this policy to commercial service vendors.

Laboratory Staff and Students

  • Follow this procedure and 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 procedure.

University Facilities Operations

  • Refrain from servicing or coming in contact with equipment that has not been cleared as outlined in this procedure.
  • Provide a copy of this procedure to any commercial service vendors.
  • Review and update this procedure as necessary every two years, or as changes are required.

Procedure

Complete the Checklist for “OK to Service” Certification of Equipment Containing Hazardous Chemicals and Biological Agents and the Checklist for “OK to Service” and Unrestricted Release of Equipment Used with Radioisotopes forms.

Material Removal

In general, before servicing, all hazardous chemical, radiological, or bio-hazardous materials must be removed from equipment and stored or disposed of in accordance with established procedures. However, materials may remain within equipment if there will be no direct contact with the materials in the course of servicing the equipment. For example, materials may remain within a refrigerator or freezer while it is being serviced as long as service providers need not work inside the refrigerator, the materials are isolated inside the refrigerator to prevent contact, and there is no dripping or leakage from the interior. This presumes that there is no need to tip or invert the equipment.

Decontamination

In general, all hazardous chemicals, radiological, or bio-hazardous materials must be removed from equipment surfaces (both internal and external) before the equipment is serviced. However, as outlined in Material Removal above, it may be appropriate to only partially decontaminate the equipment in consideration of the nature of the service to be performed, and which surfaces workers are expected to come in contact with.

It is strongly recommended that service workers and lab personnel discuss the proposed service in advance to mutually determine the required level of decontamination.

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 determined by EHS policy or by Chapter I, Part 16 of the State Sanitary Code, whichever is more limiting. Surveys will be performed to demonstrate that the decontamination limit has been achieved. These surveys will be documented, and records will be available for inspection by EHS or by the Department of Health. All waste generated in the course of decontamination will be disposed of as radioactive waste. After decontamination, radioactive labels and stickers will be removed, defaced, or temporarily covered.

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 equipment. Hazard labels will be removed, defaced, or temporarily covered as appropriate. The decontamination method will be documented, and records will be available for inspection by EHS. Any incidental wastes will be disposed of properly.

Bio-hazardous Contaminants

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

If decontamination cannot be achieved, it may be appropriate to cover contaminated surfaces with impermeable materials, such as  polyethylene sheet. If this is done, any contamination, which has been temporarily covered over, must be clearly labeled and explained to service personnel. The covered material will be disposed of as appropriate for the contaminant hazard.

Certification and Labeling

Once materials removal and decontamination have been completed, the principal investigator (or other authorized individual as designated in writing), will affix a copy of the Equipment “OK to Service" Certification form to the equipment. All sections of the form shall be completed with the relevant information or “NA” as appropriate. A copy of the form will be retained, and will 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 will be checked on the release form. In addition to this check off, the name and date section should be completed, however, the other sections may be left blank.

Equipment Service

Once the equipment release/certification form has been affixed to the equipment it may be serviced. University Facilities Operations will not service any equipment, which has not been tagged. Laboratory personnel should be readily available to answer questions, and should explain any special considerations to service personnel.

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.

Contact Information

University Facilities
Environment, Health & Safety
220 Winspear Avenue
Buffalo, NY  14215
Phone:  716-829-3301
Fax:  716-829-2704

Related Information

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History

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