DECOMMISSIONING EQUIPMENT, BUILDINGS, LABORATORIES AND SHOP SPACES
Cleaning Prior to Transferring/Relocating Equipment or Vacating Laboratory and Shop Spaces
All surfaces and equipment should be cleaned and put into a safe condition prior to vacating, transferring or relocating Laboratory and shop spaces. The Laboratory’s Space Management Policy in the Regulations and Procedure Manual (§1.20) requires that laboratory and shop spaces be cleared of debris and contamination prior to transfer of ownership. This is to safeguard the health and safety of Facilities, Transportation and subcontractor personnel who work in these areas during space or building demolition, renovation, and construction activities. It also prevents delays in renovation and demolition schedules and minimizes costs to the Divisions that own the space.
Line Managers, PIs, and Supervisors of laboratory and shop spaces are the most familiar with the hazards, historical spills, contamination, etc., in their space and are therefore responsible for ensuring that chemical, physical, biological, and radiological hazards have been removed prior to releasing these spaces to Facilities or to new occupants. Contact an EH&S Industrial Hygienist if assistance if needed with identifying hazards. In some cases, a separate hazard evaluation may be necessary. For Facilities construction, renovation or building demolition projects, the Facilities Project Manager is responsible for ensuring that these hazards have been removed by line managers, PIs, and Supervisors of laboratory and shop spaces prior to turning the building or space over to the demolition/ construction subcontractor. Building managers, Division Safety Coordinators, and Facilities construction managers may be called upon to support this task. Line managers, PIs, and Supervisors of laboratory and shop spaces are responsible for removing visible residues, standing liquids, loose particulate material (whether a known or unknown material) on floors, bench tops, shelves, inside drawers, cabinets, refrigerators, surfaces of local exhaust enclosures (e.g., chemical fume hood and Biological Safety Cabinet) and any other potentially contaminated surfaces. This also applies to any equipment that is to be moved. It is recommended that surfaces be wiped down with mild detergents such as soap and water. A 10% bleach solution may be used for surfaces in labs where biological materials have been used. Use acid/alkaline neutralizers for acid or caustic spill areas. Contact EH&S if mercury spills are detected to determine the appropriate spill-response actions. Attempting to clean up mercury spills may spread the contamination throughout a location or building. Stay in one location and call EH&S for assistance, and warn others to stay out of the spill area/room.
Laboratory and shop employees who have taken CHSP Training (EH&S 348 or 345) can generally perform this work. In certain cases, the amount of work may require using the services of an outside contractor, including trained hazardous materials specialists or abatement workers. LBNL and subcontractor employees with OSHA HAZWOPER training, under the direction of an LBNL Industrial Hygienist, may also perform this work. LBNL custodians are not trained to perform this type of work; however, they may be contacted after the space has been evaluated and the room has been posted as being cleared by an EH&S Industrial Hygienist (see section below). Contact an EH&S Industrial Hygienist for assistance with this determination.
Removal of Chemicals, Wastes, and Other Materials
Equipment, supplies, products, and materials such as apparatuses, thermometers, gas cylinders, medical waste containers, sharps containers, sharps (needles and razor blades), trash, absorbent material, and other miscellaneous lab or shop material must be removed prior to vacating the space. For building demolitions, the project manager should be consulted to determine items that do not contain hazardous materials that are included in the demolition scope of work. In general, all chemicals and all chemical-related products must be removed. This includes cleaning compounds, surplus chemicals, stock solutions, experimental products, and hazardous waste located in Satellite Accumulation Areas (SAAs). A Waste Management Generator Assistance Specialist should be contacted for assistance.
EH&S Evaluation and Release of Laboratory and Shop Spaces
Following the decontamination of work surfaces and the removal of chemical, physical, biological, and radiological hazards, EH&S Industrial Hygienists and Radiological Control Technicians (RCTs), depending on the radiological use in the space, will perform a final inspection prior to the release of the space. EH&S Industrial Hygienists will evaluate the space for pH, evidence of debris, and “orphaned” chemicals and materials (as previously discussed), and will check for mercury in sink traps and floor surfaces.
The Radiological Control Technician will complete a green release tag indicating that the space has been cleared from radiological hazards PUB-3000, Chapter 21, “Release of Materials from Controlled Areas.” EH&S Industrial Hygienists will release the space by posting the entrance (and individual pieces of equipment in some cases) with a release form that indicates the date and name of the Industrial Hygienist who evaluated the space.
If individual pieces of equipment and supplies are to be moved to salvage or another building, and the owner of the equipment does not know if hazardous materials are present, an EH&S Industrial Hygienist may be contacted to evaluate these items and post them if they are safe to be handled by LBNL personnel or subcontractor employees.
Last updated: 09/23/2009