Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Inspections / Lab Self-Audit Checklist

General Building Safety Inspections

  • Criteria for EHS inspections are based upon federal regulations, state regulations and university safety standards, and are conducted using comprehensive checklists.
  • EHS personnel conduct general building inspections of all Virginia Tech facilities on a two- or three-year cycle, based on relative safety risks of the activities that take place in the building. In general, these inspections focus on fire safety, electrical safety, physical hazard safety, proper hazardous materials storage, etc.
  • General building inspections include offices, classrooms, laboratories, storage rooms, mechanical rooms, conference and break rooms, classrooms, hallways, stairwells, auditoriums, shops, custodial closets, electrical closets, etc.
  • Reports for general building inspections are submitted to building administrators and/or department heads; violations must be addressed in 30-45 days. Violations which fail to be addressed in that timeframe will be reported to deans and/or other responsible administrators by EHS.

Lab Safety Inspections

  • When EHS conducts a general building inspection, a lab safety inspection of each PI laboratory in the building is also performed.
  • Just as with the building inspection, the criteria for these lab inspections are based upon federal regulations, state regulations and university safety standards, and are conducted using comprehensive checklists.
  • Reports for lab safety inspections are submitted to the PIs who oversee those labs; violations must be addressed in 30-45 days.

Biosafety Lab Inspections

  • EHS Biosafety Officers perform biosafety lab inspections; these inspections are conducted using checklists that evaluate biosafety compliance according to federal, state and university requirements.
  • The results of these inspections are reported to the PI, IBC administrators, and members of the IBC. In some instances they are also reported to department heads and facility coordinators/managers.
  • Biosafety lab inspections are required:
    • As part of the initial IBC approval process for a research project.
    • As part of a 3-year renewal of IBC-approved projects.
    • When a major amendment or change is proposed for a research project.
    • When a lab moves to another physical location on campus.
  • These inspections cover many of the same safety elements as general building inspections, but focus closely on biohazard containment methods, equipment and facilities features, handling procedures of hazardous biological agents/materials, and biosafety training compliance.
  • The EHS Biosafety Office and the IBC Administrators work collaboratively with PIs and lab personnel to encourage and support the correction of inspection violations in a timely manner, and to see that biosafety compliance is maintained.
  • The IBC requires modifications of research protocols to address violations found upon inspections.
  • Principal Investigators typically are given 30 days from receipt of notification to respond to required modifications for correction of biosafety inspection violations. Violations and deficiencies must be corrected before IBC protocol approval/ renewal is granted, and research can begin or continue.

Lab Self-Audit Checklist

  • Laboratory personnel can use a self-audit checklist to conduct their own inspections as a way to prepare for an EHS inspection, and to maintain regulatory compliance as well as efficient, safe operations. This document is based on the checklists used by EHS inspectors. Comprehensive Self Audit Checklists can be found using this link, or on the IBC website; look under 'IBC Offline Documents.'

Further Information and Guidance:

EHS Biosafety Group