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Tier 1 Inspection Results for FY 2010

by Bob Colichio

The chart below reflects the “Top 7” categories for most of the findings discovered during Tier 1 Safety Inspections for the Biology and Medical Departments over the past 3 years.

To further break it down, I’ve listed several examples of the types of deficiencies we’ve discovered in each of the categories:

The majority of these findings were associated with open/unattended sharps containers. Although not a regulatory requirement, we find it a good practice to keep the sharps container “wheel” in a closed (not locked) position, especially if it’s on the floor, to prevent used sharps from falling out if accidentally knocked over. We’ve also discovered several incidents of open empty chemical bottles in fume hoods. Another deficiency also noted in large numbers were overflowing sharps containers and glassware recycling containers.

Work Environment – Dept
Deficiencies noted in this group were refrigerators/freezers not labeled “For Chemicals Only – No Food”, obstructed eyewashes or safety showers and trip hazards caused by equipment and electrical cords.

Chemical – Labeling
We still find this problem quite a bit where chemical bottles are labeled with a chemical formula instead of the name (ie; ETOH instead of Ethyl Alcohol or Ethanol).

A large number of these findings have to do with equipment and supply storage in the labs and general cleanliness and clutter throughout. Always keep benches, chemical hoods, floors, aisles, and other work surfaces clear of all material not being used.

Chemical Storage
Chemicals not stored within secondary containment in case of leakage. Incompatible chemicals being stored together (ie; acetic acid and nitric acid) and corrosives being stored on shelves above eye level.

Industrial Hygiene
Mercury thermometers being used where they could be replaced by alcohol or other spirit filled thermometers. (An event that happened here at BNL several years ago where a mercury thermometer was knocked off a table and broke on the floor resulted in approximately $10K in manpower, monitoring and cleanup costs). Un-encapsulated lead being used as weights or doorstops.

Compressed Gases/Cryogens
Unsecured gas cylinders, missing safety caps and incorrect “Empty/In Use/Full” tags. Liquid Nitrogen Dewars missing Cryogen Safety Postings.

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Last Modified: December 22, 2010
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DOE, Office of Science One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE's Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

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