McGill’s Laboratory Safety Inspection Program
In April 2005, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) launched McGill’s comprehensive laboratory safety inspection program. The goals of this program was to increase the overall laboratory safety by helping to identify potentially dangerous situations, to assist in assessing the risks associated with laboratory activities, as well as to provide recommendations on how to correct these potentially dangerous situations. The program is not intended to be a policing exercise but a collaborative effort among EHS, safety committees, Principal Investigators and Laboratory Directors with the common goal to ensure that laboratory environments are safe for staff, students and faculty.
Laboratory Directors refers to anyone who, as a function of their responsibilities, oversees a laboratory or other area where chemicals and hazardous materials are used and stored. This includes Lab Superintendents, Managers, and Supervisors.
McGill's Laboratory Safety Inspection consists of a 36 item checklist. Each item is graded as Pass, Fail or Not Applicable. Each inspection is given an overall grade (percentage) calculated as follows
[(Total Number of Passed Items) / (Total Number of Passed Items + Total Number of Failed Items)] x 100
Inspection items were weighted equally. Items graded as Not Applicable were not considered in the calculation of the overall grade. Department grades were calculated by averaging all inspection grades for the laboratories within the department and faculty grades were calculated by averaging all inspection grades for the laboratories within the faculty. The overall University grade was calculated by averaging all inspections conducted during the first inspection cycle.
Several weeks prior to the inspections, all Principal Investigators and Laboratory Directors receive an email requesting they update their laboratory information.
Inspection Notice is sent to the Chair of the Department Safety Committee 1-2 weeks prior to the inspections for circulation. Due to the nature of the inspections, it is impossible to pre-determine which laboratories will be visited at which time or how long each inspection will take.
Laboratory Safety Inspections are only conducted when someone is present in the laboratory, preferable the Principal Investigator or Laboratory Director, and if unavailable, a delegate, such as the laboratory contact.
Laboratory Safety Inspection Report
Approximately 2-3 weeks after the inspection, the Principal Investigator or Laboratory Director responsible for the laboratory receives a Laboratory Safety Inspection Report . These reports not only provide the inspection results and grade, but included instructions and recommendations as to how to address each issue of non-compliance. Laboratory Safety Inspection Reports are issued electronically.
Laboratory Safety Inspection Acknowledgement & Response
Each report has a Receipt Acknowledgement Form that must be signed and returned to EHS within 2 weeks after the report is issued; electronic signatures are accepted.
Finally, Principal Investigators and Laboratory Directors are required to respond to their inspection reports in writing within 1 month of reception of the report. An inspection report response should indicate how each item of non-compliance was corrected and for those items not yet corrected target dates are required. The response also provides an opportunity to comment on the inspection process.
In the situation where a laboratory or associated space was used by multiple researchers, the Laboratory Safety Inspection Report is submitted to one of the users.