Lab Commissioning

The University of Michigan (U-M) requires that all newly assigned laboratory space receive a commissioning visit by EHS.  The purpose of a consulting visit is to foster a strong safety partnership with the research staff in order to protect individuals and the facility and to help ensure regulatory compliance. EHS will consult with the research team about the following safety topics:

  • Potential hazards
  • Methods to reduce the risk involved with potential hazards
  • Training requirements
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment and engineering controls
  • Proper waste disposal

The Pre-Commissioning Consultation Form (at the bottom of this page) is used to guide the process and enables researchers the opportunity to ask important questions about safety in their research operations. The Laboratory Commissioning Guideline provides guidance for setting up your research operation including procedures and responsibilities.

Factors to Consider When Projecting Research Start Dates

Plan for each of the commissioning tasks when setting up your laboratory.  The time needed to complete tasks can range from less than a day to weeks or even months.  Much depends on the need to coordinate approvals, reviews, acquisitions, designs, etc. through one or more U-M departments or outside agencies.   Other variables also impact the time needed to commission a lab:

  • Type and complexity of your research
  • Number of staff and students working in your laboratory
  • Type of equipment and hazardous substances or materials you are using

You may find it helpful to work with an experienced departmental safety coordinator.

To schedule a commissioning consultation, complete the following form as soon as you are assigned a laboratory space. For further information, contact:

Laboratory commissioning visits will occur as your research evolves.  Any modification that introduces a new hazardous substance, a new variable bringing different risks and precautions (e.g., high temperature, pressure), process change such as scaling up, or a change in the laboratory equipment or layout may present additional risks that should be evaluated by EHS.  EHS will verify that your lab has completed those tasks necessary to ensure safety and compliance including:

  • Obtaining approvals and licenses from regulatory agencies and University committees
  • Preparing and collecting safety-related documents and making them available to staff
  • Preparing and updating chemical inventories
  • Obtaining and installing proper laboratory equipment NOTE: If renovations are needed when installing or removing laboratory equipment, complete the Laboratory Space Modification Form prior to starting the renovation project.
  • Obtaining and installing proper storage cabinets NOTE: If renovations are needed when installing or removing cabinets, work benches, etc., complete the Laboratory Space Modification Form prior to starting the renovation project.
  • Enrolling laboratory staff in the Medical Surveillance Program when applicable
  • Verifying that all laboratory staff completes the required safety training
  • Acquiring and making available proper Personal Protective Equipment
  • Posting of proper door hazard warning signs

The time needed to receive approval depends on several factors that can vary among laboratories and research operations.  Engineered controls, lab safety equipment and supplies, developing safety protocols, staff training, and regulatory licensing needs can all be factors.  The following table provides estimates on the amount of time that is usually needed to obtain approvals for particular hazards or regulated activities.  These are approximate and will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Restricted gases Restricted Hazardous Gases Authorization form One week after all the required engineering controls for the gas requested are in place
Biological substances:


  • Infectious Agents
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Transgenic animals
  • Select Agents
  • Human derived tissues, fluid, and cells
  • Biological toxins
  • Certain animal-devived tissue, fluids, cells (i.e., from non-human primates, ruminants, swine, chickens or other fowl, or wild vertebrate animals
Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval required

Click on the Regulatory Management Login button at eRRM to start or update an IBC Application


NOTE: You MUST submit an amendment to the IBC Application if any part of the research protocol changes such as the:

  • Genes studied or host/vector system
  • Infectious agents or biological toxins
  • Work with substances from humans
  • Work with substances from certain vertebrate
  • Transgenic animal work
  • Administration of biologics to animals
  • Administration of biologics to plants
  • New or additional lab space
  • New personnel
60 – 90 days
Radionuclides and Radiation-generating machines RSS-101 Application for Authorization to Use Radioactive Material



  • Do NOT use for Human Use Approvals (eResearch and IRB submittal required—Contact EHS for information)
  • You MUST amend your application if you make substantive changes to the material approved or research protocol.  Contact EHS for assistance.
  • Typical applications involving common and routine uses:  1 to 2 weeks
  • Complex applications:  Unusual uses or those requiring Nuclear Regulatory Commission license amendments can take 3-6 mos.  Contact EHS in advance.

NOTE: In most instances, the Radiation Safety Officer can provide a temporary approval or authorization until the Radiation Policy Committee grants final approval of the protocol.

Animals eResearch Animal Management System application (eRAM)


RSS 101 Section 9

60 – 90 days
Lasers Request to Purchase a Class 3B or Class 4 Laser One week

When planning for safe research EHS recommends using proper equipment and supplies to keep individuals safe when working as part in the laboratory.  Use the following table of preferred vendors when ordering supplies and equipment for your lab.  They will help you achieve your research safety goal.

All chemicals must be entered into EHS MI Safety Portal (MISP), data management system.   In the event of a spill, emergency responders use the information in the chemical inventory to coordinate response activities.  The chemical inventory is also used to facilitate U-M’s compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards.

Pre-Commissioning Consultation Form

Pre-Commissioning Consultation Form

We look forward to working with you to promote a safe laboratory working environment.

To begin the process, we ask that you please complete the following Pre-Commissioning Consultation Form as soon as possible after assignment of laboratory space and prior to conducting research. This form will help us determine the types of hazards you may be working with and assign appropriate staff to assist you. After receiving your submittal, EHS will schedule a consulting visit to discuss university policies, safety guidelines and training requirements related to your research. You may contact us at 647-1143 or visit our website at for questions or additional information.

Please mark yes or no to each item. Will you be:

Chemical Risks

Biological Risks

You will need to fill out an IBC Registration. Click here to start the process.

Radiation / Lasers

DEA Controlled Substances

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