PSOM Laboratory Clearing Process and Procedures

Responsibility Key: EVD/CSO SPO Department Leadership Principal Investigator EHRS

  1. PSOM Laboratory Clearing Process

    1. Identification

      Weeks 1 to 2

      1. Maintenance or clearing need is identified by PI, department, Office of the EVD/CSO, SPO, EHRS, FES or other

        1. If applicable, department chair is notified of the issue and request

          1. If applicable, department chair contacts PI to initiate clearing of the lab.  As needed, department chair seeks input or assistance from EVD/CSO

            1. The PI kicks off lab clearing project

    2. Clear & De-Clutter

      Weeks 2 to 10

      1. Lab develops a project plan and timeline using the PSOM template.

        1. EHRS and SPO are engaged with the following in partnership with the lab, including integral disposal / removal activities:

    3. Walkthrough & Confirmation

      Weeks 10 to 12

      1. If applicable, EHRS close-out inspection

        1. Housekeeping services

          1. Lab space confirmed in and/or returned to PSOM inventory

PSOM Laboratory Clearing Process Print Version

Disposal/Removal of...

  • Empty all chemical fume hoods, drawers, storage cabinets, closets, cold rooms, flammable liquids cabinets, biosafety cabinets, refrigerators and freezers of all chemicals, biohazardous materials, radiological materials and equipment.
  • Determine which chemicals are usable. Transfer responsibility for these chemicals to a party willing to accept it. If a new user cannot be found, dispose of materials following Penn's Laboratory Waste Guidelines.
  • Contact EHRS for waste collection. 
  • Label all chemical containers with the proper chemical name. Close all containers securely.
  • Remove gas connections, replace cylinder caps, and return cylinders to suppliers. If cylinders are non-returnable, please contact EHRS.
  • Dispose of infectious waste sharps: Autoclave sharps container and dispose through PSOM’s infectious waste stream.  
  • Chemical contaminated sharps: Segregate from other sharps into sharps containers and label "Chemical contaminated Sharps Waste-Do Not Autoclave".  Dispose of either by placing it in a Stericycle infectious waste box or in Curtis Bay reusable sharps container. If uncertain, contact the University Biosafety Officer at 215-898-4453.
  • Carefully inspect lab area.
  • Clean and decontaminate all surfaces where hazardous materials have been used.

  • Identify an appropriate person to take responsibility for retained samples.
  • Empty cold rooms, biosafety cabinets, refrigerators and freezers of all biological materials.  Check shared facilities for materials that belong to your lab.
  • Dispose of infectious waste sharps either by: placing it in an Curtis Bay reusable sharps container or autoclave sharps container and dispose through PSOM’s infectious waste stream.  
  • Dispose of unwanted animal and human tissue.  Do not separate specimens from liquid preservative (formalin/ IPA/EtOH, etc.) Contact EHRS for waste collection.
  • If human tissue is recognizable contact Dwayne Hallman, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology (215-898-8054), to arrange for disposal. Place other human tissue specimens in a biohazard waste bag, autoclave and dispose through PSOM's infectious waste stream.
  • Discard animal tissue by placing it in a biohazard waste bag, autoclave and dispose through PSOM's infectious waste stream. Recognizable animal parts or carcasses must be disposed in a ULAR vivarium morgue.  See for ULAR contact information.
  • If appropriate tissue disposal is uncertain, contact an EHRS Biosafety Officer (215-898-4453).
  • If tissue was stored in a refrigerator or freezer, defrost, clean and disinfect the refrigerator and freezer when emptied.
  • Empty or new infectious waste items (red bags, infectious waste boxes, sharps container, boxes of new syringes) must be either transferred to a lab willing to accept these items or disposed of as infectious waste.

Amend your radioactive material license to add the new space and delete the old.  Doing so, will initiate contact with the Radiation Safety group for assistance with moving out of your space.  Please refer to the Radiation Safety User Guide for a summary of requirements.

Controlled substances are regulated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  

Detailed information relating to controlled substances can be found online at

  • Determine whether equipment can be reallocated or recycled.
  • Contact your departmental representative (BA, etc.) to update asset management documentation before disposal/relocation of any tagged scientific equipment.
  • Decontaminate scientific equipment.
  • If moving biological safety cabinets, decontaminate before moving and recertify before use in the new location.  Contact vendor to set up an appointment.
  • Remove all UPenn identifiers on equipment prior to disposal/removal from campus.
  • When discarding laboratory equipment: Contact EHRS to discuss removal of capacitors, transformers, mercury switches, mercury thermometers, radioactive sources, chemicals and biohazards before disposal.  Contact EHRS for disposal of hazardous materials.  
  • After EHRS review, deface or cover hazard labels on equipment to be moved or discarded.
  • Ensure proper Battery Disposal.
  • Contract with appropriate moving company to move equipment, or E-Force or Elemental, to arrange donation/recycling.
  • Contact PSOM Space Planning and Operations if you have questions or need assistance with movement/donation of safety equipment.

  • Electronic equipment that is broken or obsolete must be properly disposed (NOT in the regular trash) or sent for recycling or donation. 
  • Penn Computing provides recommendations for preparing equipment for recycling or disposal including the removal of sensitive data and commercial software from the machines.
  • Please contact PMACS prior to donating, recycling or disposing of any computer equipment.  PMACS will handle hard drives and other data containing equipment.
  • Donations of non-data containing equipment (monitors, keyboards, mice, etc.) may be arranged through Communitech, a Penn student organization which supplies surrounding neighborhoods with computer and technology information. 
  • Outdated equipment that cannot be donated must be recycled via E-Force or Elemental.

Best Practices

Maintenance of productive laboratory space is an ongoing activity; the most successful labs benefit from thoughtful clutter management, strategic purchasing practices, appropriate storage, disposal/renewal of lab equipment, and continual clutter management.  Please see below for tips and best practices:

 Lab Move or Close Out

 Purchasing practices

 Disposal/renewal of lab equipment