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.

Inspection Procedure

Inspection Checklist

McGill's Laboratory Safety Inspection consists of 4 sections (General, Chemical Safety, Biosafety and Radiation Safety), depending on the type of work and hazards in the lab. 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.

Inspection Notice

An Inspection Notice is sent to the Chair of the Department Safety Committee several weeks prior to the inspections for circulation and asking them to update their laboratory information. 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 in myLab

After the inspection, the Principal Investigator or Laboratory Director responsible for the laboratory receives an email notifying that the Laboratory Safety Inspection Report  is available to be viewed in myLab. These reports not only provide the inspection results and grade, but include instructions and recommendations on how to address each issue of non-compliance. 

Laboratory Safety Inspection Response

Principal Investigators and Laboratory Directors are required to respond to their inspection reports in myLab within 6 weeks of receiving the report notification. 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.

EHS Lab Inspection Communication Protocol

EHS has prepared a communication protocol to address lab inspections in Faculties (primarily: Science, Medicine, Engineering, and Agricultural & Environmental Sciences) that have laboratory facilities in their buildings. The protocol explains how the Faculties are communicated with, how the work is deployed on the field, how the inspections reports are prepared and sent out, how responses from Principle Investigators are managed, and lastly the stakeholders being informed regarding the progress. For details, click on the link below:


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