Equipment & Tools

Equipment and tool safety during research operations begins with lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) identifying the inherent safety risks associated with using equipment and tools.  Inherent safety risks can range from minor injuries on up to loss of life, or major facility damage based on how the equipment or tools are used, designed, 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 safety specific to the equipment and tools used in your lab.

Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) has prepared guidance to aid laboratory directors in safe operation of the following equipment and tools:

  • Commercial equipment:
    • Fume hoods
    • Biological Safety Cabinets
  • Non-Commercial equipment (field fabricated experimental equipment)
  • Tools
    • Sharps
    • Extension cords

Standard Operating Procedures, Guidelines, and Manuals

The following documents may be required for your research operation, depending on what type of research you are performing, the potential hazards you and your staff will be exposed to, and the engineering controls you are implementing.  Some of these documents are in a downloadable “Word” format so that you can print them for your operation as is, or download and modify them to meet your unique needs.  When you click the link it will automatically go to the download file.

Age of 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  After five years, most equipment requires expensive maintenance to operate; and after 10 years, most equipment is obsolete and parts are hard to find.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 Form

The Laboratory Equipment Owner Decontamination Form serves two purposes.  First, it notifies EHS that you are preparing the equipment for maintenance or to relocate the equipment.  It also confirms for:

  • Biological Safety that a BSC is ready to be authorized to be moved
  • RSS that equipment contaminated with radioactive material is ready to be surveyed for clearance
  • Personnel servicing or moving the equipment that it has been cleaned and is free of contamination

Complete the form and email or fax it to your EHS representative.  When the equipment is decontaminated and ready for maintenance or moving, attach the form to the equipment.

Equipment Maintenance

Prior to allowing maintenance staff or the manufacturer’s representative to complete maintenance on equipment, 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 program to schedule an appointment to re-certify the equipment.

Unwanted or Surplus Equipment

Prior to 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.

Contact the following departments to properly dispose of unwanted or surplus equipment:

  • Biological Safety at (734) 647-1142 or OSEHBiosafety@umich.edu to authorize biological safety cabinets for disposal
  • Radiation Safety at (734) 764-6200 OSEHRadSafety@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
  • Plant 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 Plant AC for proper management.

Training and Education