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Laboratory Decommissioning

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Laboratory Decommissioning

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Decommissioning Checklist

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A Guide to Laboratory Decommissioning

For use by

  • Professor/Faculty
  • Laboratory Personnel
  • Graduate Students
  • Retiring Faculty

1.0  Policy and Purpose

This guide provides a generic process to aid in the proper management of laboratory related hazardous materials, facilities and equipment during the transition of personnel and facilities.  Transition of personnel may include: individuals separating entirely from the University and/or individuals vacating a laboratory space, but remaining at the University.  The term departing personnel, or derivations of, have been used to describe either of the above cases in this document.

Personnel departing a Murray State laboratory facility in which they have used, handled or stored hazardous materials must ensure the following:  all research samples, solutions and/or hazardous materials under their control must be properly disposed of or transferred to trained personnel prior to departure.  The Environmental Safety & Health (ESH) Office defines trained personnel as individuals that have knowledge of the MSU Lab Safety Program and Hazardous Waste Disposal Policy.  Additionally, departing personnel must ensure that any equipment and/or facilities used in conjunction with hazardous materials have been appropriately decontaminated.

This guide will help minimize the risks encountered when a hazardous materials laboratory is decommissioned or when personnel are in transition.

Additionally, this guide is intended to aid departing laboratory personnel and their respective departments in complying with the existing MSU Hazardous Waste & Disposal Policy.  Special attention is warranted for departing graduate level personnel since a greater potential exists for unlabeled or unwanted materials otherwise known as "Unknown" or "Orphaned" chemicals to be left behind and unattended.

Upon request, the ESH Office is available to provide assistance and guidance in the decommissioning of laboratory spaces.

2.0  Decommissioning Procedure for Departing Professors/Faculty and/or Supervisors

2.1  At least one month prior to departure, the Professor/Faculty should review the necessary laboratory decommissioning tasks and requirements and perform an initial walk-through of the laboratory to identify issues that require action.  This may be documented using the Laboratory Decommissioning Checklist provided.  Since the provided checklist may not be all encompassing, additional items should be noted on the checklist, as necessary, to ensure proper decommissioning.

2.2  Following the walk-through, the Professor should submit a copy of the checklist to the respective department chairperson and a copy to ESH (the checklist will indicate what actions by the Professor are required prior to departure).

2.3  As identified in the initial walk-through, the Professor must ensure that all tasks related to the proper disposition of research materials, equipment, facilities and supplies, including the identification and labeling of research samples and disposal or transfer of hazardous materials to authorized personnel have been completed.

2.4  The completion of any follow-up action(s) should be noted in the second column of the checklist.  It is recommended that the Professor perform a final walk-through to ensure that all actions have been completed and documented.  It is also recommended that the department chairperson walk through the laboratory being vacated to ensure decommissioning has been completed.

2.5  Following the final walk-through, the Professor should sign and submit the finalized checklist to the respective department chairperson and a copy to ESH at least one week before final departure.

In summary, the Professor should ensure complete laboratory decommissioning prior to departure from the University.  At a minimum, this should include the items listed in the Laboratory Decommissioning Checklist.  If the Professor fails to complete a proper laboratory decommissioning, the responsibility will revert to the respective department.  It is recommended that each department develop a plan to ensure the complete laboratory decommissioning by a departing Faculty member.

3.0  Decommissioning Procedure for Departing Laboratory Personnel

3.1  In instances where the Professor will continue laboratory operations, but personnel under his or her supervision are departing (i.e. graduate students, post-doctorates), the guidance and checklist is recommended to be used to assist in compliance with the MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan.

3.2  At least one month prior to departure, the lab individual should meet with the Professor to review the necessary laboratory decommissioning tasks.  The individual should perform an initial walk-through of the lab area to identify issues that require action.  This may be documented using the Laboratory Decommissioning Checklist provided.  Since the provided checklist may not be all encompassing, additional items should be noted on the checklists necessary to ensure proper decommissioning.

3.3  As identified in the initial walk-through, the individual must ensure that all tasks related to the proper disposition of research materials, equipment, facilities and supplies, including the identification and labeling of research samples and disposal or transfer of hazardous materials to authorized personnel have been completed.

3.4  The completion of any follow-up action (s) should be noted in the second column of the checklist.  Upon completion, the checklist should be submitted by the departing individual to the department chairperson for review.  The department chairperson should walk through the area being vacated to ensure decommissioning has been completed and sign the finalized checklist.

3.5  The department should submit the signed and finalized checklist to the ESH Office at least one week before final departure of the individual.

NOTE:  The department chairperson will assume responsibility, care and custody of all samples, chemicals, and unidentified materials that were not properly disposed of or transferred by the laboratory personnel departing the University.

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