Equipment & Tools

Equipment and tool safety during research operations begins with lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) identifying the potential hazards and risks.  A great resource is the manufacturer’s equipment manual which will typically provide safety and health information as well as preventative maintenance tasks.  The risk of injury, illness or facility damage related to any equipment is more likely when equipment and tools are not properly designed, used, maintained, or assembled.

As a lab director you are required to adopt or write, and implement the guidelines for each piece of equipment or tool, and where necessary, write standard operating procedures for safe use of the equipment. To assist you with this, EHS has prepared guidance to aid in the safe operation of the following equipment:

Aging Equipment and Tools

Older pieces of equipment and tools may not contain features that reduce or eliminate the potential for accidental exposure and injury to the user.  After five years, most equipment requires expensive maintenance to operate; and after 10 years, most equipment is obsolete and parts are hard to find.  Planning for maintenance costs and eventual replacement costs for critical equipment and specialty facility infrastructure is another way to ensure safety during research operations.

Laboratory Equipment Owner Decommissioning

The Laboratory Equipment Owner Decontamination Form indicates to personnel servicing or moving your equipment that the equipment has been cleaned and is free of contamination.  If the equipment is not a biological safety cabinet or has not been exposed to radioactive material, then complete the form, sign it, and attach it to the equipment.

If the equipment is a biological safety cabinet or has been exposed to radioactive material, you will be required to complete the appropriate sections of the form and obtain authorization or clearance before the equipment can be serviced or moved.

Equipment Maintenance or Disposing of Surplus Equipment

Prior to allowing maintenance staff or the manufacturer’s representative to complete maintenance on equipment; or selling, scrapping, or transferring equipment to another research laboratory, you must decontaminate the equipment and document it using the Laboratory Equipment Owner Decontamination Form.  Attach a copy of the form to the equipment.

After the equipment maintenance is completed, contact the appropriate EHS program to schedule an appointment to re-certify the equipment for use in your laboratory.

Contact the following departments for proper disposal of unwanted or surplus equipment:

  • Biological Safety at (734) 647-1142 or EHSBiosafety@umich.edu to authorize biological safety cabinets for disposal
  • Radiation Safety at (734) 764-6200 EHSRadSafety@umich.edu to authorize equipment and apparatus (refrigerators, freezers, centrifuges, etc) used to store or analyze radioactive materials for disposal
  • Property Disposition at (734) 764-2470 to collect unwanted/surplus equipment
  • Facilities Maintenance, Air Conditioning (AC) Shop at (734) 647-2059 to remove refrigerant from unwanted refrigerators
    NOTE: The Refrigerants page lists the refrigerators that must go to Facilities Maintenance, AC Shop for proper management.