The Safety Operations and Support Branch (SOSB), Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) performs workplace safety surveys of NIH laboratories. The inspection process includes the following:
Hazard assessment of the laboratory, including chemical, biological and physical hazards;
Evaluation of associated work practices and procedures;
Verification on the availability of safety equipment;
Verification that laboratory staff are up-to-date with required safety training courses.
Laboratory surveys are conducted in all laboratories that are currently registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) as performing research with either recombinant DNA and/or with human pathogens. Inspections are conducted once a year in Biosafety Level 1, Biosafety Level 2, and Biosafety level 2/3 laboratories and twice a year in Biosafety Level 3 laboratories. In addition, the IC Safety and Health Specialist can be requested to perform a workplace safety survey of your office and/or non-registered laboratory. Electronic copies of the surveys are submitted to the Principal Investigator (PI) and other appropriate personnel, such as a lab manager. Deficiencies are expected to be corrected as soon as possible.
Additionally, all non-registered work sites of an Institute (i.e. office space, autoclave rooms, non-registered labs, break rooms, etc.), are annually inspected by the IC Safety Committee. In accordance with NIH Manual Issuance 1340, the IC Safety Committee performs annual workplace surveys to assure compliance with NIH and OSHA safety and health policies and standards. These surveys are conducted with the assistance of the IC's assigned Safety Specialist. A corrective action plan is prepared and implemented by the IC safety committee, addressing any deficiencies found during the survey. The IC disseminates the results of these surveys and corrective actions to the IC Scientific Director, NIH Occupational Safety and Health Committee (OSHC) and the Director of the Office of Intramural Research, as appropriate.