Safety Oversight Committee
Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Faculty, Principal Investigators, Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts
Principal Investigators (PIs) of research laboratories that are ending their supervision of the laboratories, for example due to retirement or new employment, have an obligation to ensure that they do not leave hazardous materials (biologics, chemicals, gas cylinders, equipment, radioisotopes) in their laboratories and that they do not abandon their animals in the vivarium following their lab shutdown. If this does happen, it presents a number of logistical issues and challenges for Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM), and the PI’s former department staff, who often are not aware of all potential hazardous materials in the PI’s laboratory. It also raises potentially serious safety concerns.
We urge department chairs to meet with the PI upon notification of the need for a lab shutdown to review the Lab Closeout Checklist (DOC). This is a list of PI responsibilities for disposing or transferring of all hazardous materials and animals.
We highly recommend that the PI contact EH&S at LabPortal@ehs.ucla.edu and HazardousMaterials@ehs.ucla.edu, as well as DLAM Operations Assistant Director Joel Cintron at (310) 794-7928 or JoelCintron@mednet.ucla.edu to arrange for assistance as needed, at least eight weeks prior to lab shutdown or as soon as the departure date is known, whichever comes later.
In addition, the department chair is encouraged to contact EH&S and/or DLAM if potential issues are expected.
The Lab Closeout Checklist (DOC) must be completed and signed by both the chair and PI prior to laboratory supervision termination to make sure that their responsibilities are understood and fulfilled. Departments should feel free to add to this list — this is a minimum responsibility. Note that this checklist focuses on hazardous materials with safety concerns and does not include additional PI responsibilities for items such as office space, financial accounts, electronic equipment and electronic/stored data files.
Additional information about lab cleanout, including forms for documenting hazardous material removal, can be found on the EH&S Laboratory Moves and Close-Outs at UCLA web page.
Failure to properly transfer or dispose of hazardous materials and animals will incur a cost to the PI’s department. Continuing an existing protocol, departments are charged for these services.
Roger M. Wakimoto
Vice Chancellor for Research & Creative Activities
Craig A. Merlic
Professor of Chemistry
Faculty Chair, Safety Oversight Committee