Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Maintenance/Construction Activities in Labs

Maintenance / Construction Activities in Laboratories

Maintenance / construction personnel perform many services in laboratories. Installation and/or modification of ventilation systems, or equipment requiring plumbing, electrical, or gas service may involve Facilities Operations or other contractor shop personnel. Occasionally, floors, walls, lab benches, or other structures which may be contaminated by chemical, biological and radioactive hazards in the laboratory must be removed, remodeled, or repaired by carpentry or other shop personnel. These personnel must be protected from exposure to hazardous substances when they are working in laboratories.

Facilities Operations or other contractor shop personnel may use chemical or other hazardous substances in their work in laboratories. Paints and lacquers, adhesives, sealants, and other volatile chemicals may be used by shop or contract workers. Laboratory workers must be protected from exposure to chemicals which are used by maintenance / construction personnel.

The performance of maintenance and construction activities in laboratory facilities creates special safety and research considerations; therefore, operating procedures have been developed to coordinate construction and maintenance work occurring in WSU laboratories. In general, the purpose of the procedures is to assure construction and maintenance work conducted in laboratories is performed in a safe and timely manner with minimal interruption of research. Specifically, the goals of the procedures are as follows:

  1. Protect research during construction or maintenance activities (e.g., utility interruptions);
  2. Promote safer and more efficient maintenance and construction activities in laboratories;
  3. Protect maintenance and construction personnel from the chemical, biological, and radiological hazards found in laboratories; and
  4. Protect laboratory personnel from the potential hazards associated with maintenance and construction activities

The detailed procedures are located in Appendix N. The “Work Permit” is located in Appendix O.

These procedures are to be followed when laboratory personnel request Facilities Operations perform maintenance and construction activities in laboratories. The procedures do not have to be followed when routine custodial services are being conducted in WSU laboratories or in dry laboratories (e.g., computer labs).