Lab Commissioning

The University of Michigan requires that all newly assigned laboratory space receive a commissioning visit by EHS.  The purpose of a consulting visit is to foster a strong safety partnership with the research staff in order to protect individuals and the facility and to help ensure regulatory compliance. EHS will consult with the research team about the following safety topics:

  • Potential hazards
  • Methods to reduce the risk involved with potential hazards
  • Training requirements
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment and engineering controls
  • Proper waste disposal

The Pre-Commissioning Consultation Form is used to guide the process and enables researchers the opportunity to ask important questions about safety in their research operations. The Laboratory Commissioning Guideline provides guidance for setting up your research operation including procedures and responsibilities.

Factors to Consider When Projecting Research Start Dates

Plan for each of the commissioning tasks when setting up your laboratory.  The time needed to complete tasks can range from less than a day to weeks or even months.  Much depends on the need to coordinate approvals, reviews, acquisitions, designs, etc. through one or more U-M departments or outside agencies.   Other variables also impact the time needed to commission a lab:

  • Type and complexity of your research
  • Number of staff and students working in your laboratory
  • Type of equipment and hazardous substances or materials you are using

You may find it helpful to work with an experienced departmental safety coordinator.

Commissioning Tasks

Laboratory commissioning visits will occur as your research evolves.  Any modification that introduces a new hazardous substance, a new variable bringing different risks and precautions (e.g., high temperature, pressure), process change such as scaling up, or a change in the laboratory equipment or layout may present additional risks that should be evaluated by EHS.  EHS will verify that your lab has completed those tasks necessary to ensure safety and compliance including:

  • Obtaining approvals and licenses from regulatory agencies and University committees.
  • Preparing and collecting safety-related documents and making them available to staff.
  • Preparing and updating chemical inventories.
  • Obtaining and installing proper laboratory equipment.
  • Enrolling laboratory staff in the Medical Surveillance Program when applicable
  • Verifying that all laboratory staff completes the required safety training
  • Acquiring and making available proper Personal Protective Equipment
  • Posting of proper door hazard warning signs

Chemical Inventory

For all new laboratory commissioning projects, as well as, any laboratory renovation projects, all chemicals must be entered into EHS MI Safety Portal (MISP), data management system.   In the event of a spill, emergency responders use the information in the chemical inventory to coordinate response activities.  The chemical inventory is also used to facilitate U-M’s compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards

Environmental Health and Safety

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