Laboratory Closures or Moves

  1. Purpose
  2. Defnitions
  3. Responsibilities
  4. Procedure
  5. Radioactive materials
  6. Closeout inspection
Laboratory Decommissioning Useful Forms and Links
Forms and Links Forms and Links
Laboratory Decommissioning Notification to OEHS Hazardous Waste Management
Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Procedures Recycling Electronic-Waste Services at Wayne State University
Equipment Decontamination Form Transportation of Research Chemicals on the WSU Campus
CHIMERA - Chemical inventory management system Office for Technology Transfer and Commercialization
Laboratory Decommissioning Checklist Chemicals not to be given away to other labs


The purpose of this decommissioning guideline is to ensure an orderly, timely and safe process for when an investigator transfers to another lab, leaves the Institution, or whenever major renovations in a laboratory are required. Decommissioning a laboratory is a multi-step process which ensures that the laboratory is free of old chemicals, equipment, waste, and chemical, radiological, or biological contamination. The mishandling or abandonment of hazardous materials, including waste, is a safety concern for WSU employees, visitors, and the community. If done incorrectly, it can result in citations, fines and/or loss of the right to use such materials. Improper management of hazardous materials by University personnel at lab closeout can also result in costly and time-consuming reliance on external hazardous waste removal services. Therefore, it is imperative that principal investigators and laboratory staff follow the procedures outlined in this guideline for properly decommissioning their laboratories.


Decommissioning: This is the process of removing and properly disposing of chemical, biological, and radioactive materials from the lab. Decommissioning also includes decontaminating laboratory space and equipment prior to vacating the location.

Laboratory: A space where research and/or teaching are conducted and where hazardous chemicals, biological materials, and/or radiological agents are used.

Hazardous Waste: Chemical, biological, or radioactive material (or a combination of any of these, also called “mixed waste”) that is spent or can no longer be used as part of an experiment or a process.


Principal Investigator, Researcher, or Department Administration – The proper management of all hazardous materials used in laboratories, identification of unknowns, and decontamination of work surfaces and equipment. Before a responsible individual leaves a laboratory or other assigned space, all unwanted chemicals, biological research samples, radioactive and chemical waste must be disposed following the hazardous material pickup request process, which can be reviewed at Hazardous Waste Management. Individual departments and their researchers are responsible for the proper handling, labeling, storage, and processing of their hazardous waste prior to collection and disposal by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) – Verifying proper labeling and storage of waste. Verifying appropriate transportation of hazardous materials (e.g., chemicals, biologicals, radioactive materials, controlled substances, etc.) across campus. Ensuring appropriate collection and disposal of hazardous waste and unwanted equipment.


The Chair or Director of the administrative unit responsible for the laboratory must ensure that researchers are aware of and follow the procedures contained in this guideline, and that OEHS has been notified, as soon as possible, when an investigator plans to vacate a laboratory.

The Principal Investigator, lab director/lab manager or other responsible person vacating the laboratory must complete the following steps:

  1. Notify OEHS at least 30 days in advance of leaving the university or relocating by completing the Laboratory Decommissioning Notification form.
  2. Make arrangements before leaving or moving for the transportation, transfer or disposal of chemical, radioactive, electronic and biological materials.
    1. Chemical, radioactive, electronic and biological materials, including gas cylinders, that will be transported on public roads to other areas of campus must be packaged, labeled, and documented according to the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Review the Transportation of Research Chemicals on the WSU Campus for more information and consult with OEHS to ensure appropriate transport of these materials.
    2. Consult OEHS if chemicals and/or biological materials will be transported to another institution. 313-577-1200.
    3. Chemical, radioactive, electronic and biological materials that are not going to be moved to the new location need to be processed for appropriate waste disposal. See Hazardous Waste Management for more information.
    4. Unknown containers of materials (liquid or solid) cannot be disposed of until the contents are identified. The PI is responsible for identifying all materials and the cost associated with disposal.
    5. For materials created at WSU (such as cell lines, plasmids, synthetic chemicals, etc.) that will be transferred to another institution, contact the Office for Technology Transfer and Commercialization to understand the process, requirements, and restrictions.
  3. Ensure that all labs, storage areas, equipment and work surfaces within these spaces are thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated before vacating the space(s). This includes centrifuges, incubators, refrigerators, and freezers, prior to removal from the lab. See Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Procedures for more information.
  4. Attach completed/signed Equipment Decontamination Form to non-fixed equipment that is to be moved or disposed.
    1. For disposal of electronic equipment (anything with a cord or battery), review Recycling Electronic-Waste Services at Wayne State University for any additional requirements.
  5. If moving to a different WSU campus location:
    • Update your chemical inventory with your new lab location in CHIMERA (if you have an account) or by using the WSU Chemical Inventory template (if you do not have a CHIMERA account). Completed WSU Chemical Inventory templates must be submitted to OEHS ( as soon as possible after you complete your move.
    • Update the new lab location(s) with appropriate oversight committees by submitting amendments (e.g., Institutional Biosafety Committee, Radiaton Safety Committee, Chemical Safety Committee, IACUC).
  6. Correct all deficiencies that remain after a decommissioning inspection by OEHS.

Radioactive materials

If radioactive materials were used in the laboratory, the following actions must be completed:

  1. Survey and decontaminate all areas and equipment in which radioactive materials were used or stored. The surveys shall be documented in the laboratory logbook.
  2. Contact Radiation Safety at 313-577-1200 regarding moving radioactive materials, to transfer the remaining radioactive materials to another permit holder, or to have Radiation Safety dispose of any remaining radioactive materials. Arrangements can be made through Radiation Safety to ship radioactive materials.
  3. Reconcile the radioactive materials inventory.
  4. Terminate or transfer the dosimeter badges, if appropriate.

Closeout Inspection

Once the PI or Department has completed the decommissioning procedures outlined above, then OEHS must be contacted to schedule a decommissioning inspection. OEHS must verify that the following activities have occurred prior to the lab being vacated:

  1. All chemical, radioactive, electronic, biological materials, and sharps (i.e. razor blades, broken glass and needles) have been properly removed, disposed and/or stored.
  2. All non-fixed equipment has been removed; drawers/cabinets have been emptied; fume hoods cleaned.
  3. All work surfaces have been properly cleaned and decontaminated.
  4. Remove and destroy all labels indicating the presence of radioactivity and biohazard.

OEHS will complete a Laboratory Decommissioning Checklist and notify the PI and appropriate administrative unit of the decommissioning inspection results. The appropriate follow-up will be completed by OEHS depending upon the type of hazards present in the lab. When all decommissioning processes are satisfactorily met, OEHS will certify this in writing to the administrative unit.

Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) will verify that all equipment to be moved or repaired is tagged with an Equipment Decontamination Form. FP&M will also verify that the Laboratory Decommission Checklist is completed before any scheduled renovations begin.