Safety Inspection Program


The mission of the SJSU College of Science Safety Committee is to ensure a safe work environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors through the creation and implementation of safety programs. It is the responsibility of the Committee to recommend to the Dean department-appropriate safety policies in accordance with federal, state and University guidelines that cover workplace safety.  The College of Science Safety Committee has created a Laboratory Inspection Program to comply with this policy.


The Safety Committee has identified laboratory and other spaces within the College of Science that house potentially hazardous activities, materials and/or equipment. If a space in the College of Science is to be used with any of the potentially hazardous materials/activities below, then that space is considered “inspectable” by the Committee and subject to safety inspections each semester.


Individual departments must identify three people for each space in which potentially hazardous activities occur:

  1. Responsible Person: the person who is responsible for assuring safe conditions in the space (often the PI for a research laboratory and the department chair for other spaces).
  2. Departmental Safety Representative: whose role is to participate in inspections and serve as a liaison between the department and the CoS Safety Committee (often the departmental representative on the CoS Safety Committee).
  3. Safety Contact: who also will participate in the inspections and is the person designated by the responsible person to correct any deficiencies identified during an inspection (often the PI or designee in a research lab and the faculty or staff member most involved in a teaching lab).

Hazardous Activity Categories

Chemical Hazards – use of highly flammable, toxic, explosive, highly reactive, corrosive, or environmentally hazardous materials

Controlled Substances use of substances controlled by the DEA or other government agency or appearing on their watch lists

Ionizing Radiation – use of radioactive materials or x-ray or gamma ray sources

Other Radiation Sources – Use of lasers, ultraviolet, microwave, and other high intensity sources with potential to be harmful

Compressed Gases or Vacuum Pumps – flammable or non-flammable gas cylinders and any vacuum system where the potential exists for explosion, implosion, or catastrophic gas release

Cryogens – use of liquid nitrogen, liquid helium, dry ice, or other materials dangerous because of their low temperature or potential to displace oxygen

Electrical Hazards – use of any use of voltages higher than 240V and/or current higher than 20A, or potentially hazardous use of lower currents/potentials

Power Tools – use of any potentially hazardous power tools or other tools that are potentially hazardous; appropriate safety mechanisms (guards, lockouts, etc.) must be in place.

Biohazards – use of use of any animal blood or tissue, or work in biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) or biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) facilities

Safety Inspections

Inspections will be scheduled, with at least one week’s notice, by the CoS safety inspector (generally a student assistant hired and trained for this purpose) and will be conducted by a team of three people comprised of the CoS safety inspector, the departmental safety representative, and the safety contact for the space being inspected.

The specific items to be reviewed during the inspections may be found at this link. Note that the items may be revised as we transition to a new inspection system supported by the CSU system.

Documentation and Follow Up

The CoS safety inspector, in cooperation with department representatives conducting the inspection, will create an inspection report, that will be forwarded to department representatives (responsible person, safety contact, and chair) and other safety personnel (chair of CoS Safety Committee, CoS Chemical Safety Coordinator, and EH&S director). A copy of inspection reports will also be kept on a shared drive that allows them to be viewed by the Dean, the Safety Committee members, and other college and university safety personnel.

In most cases, the Responsible Person of the area is accountable for ensuring correction of any hazards identified in the inspection. The College of Science Safety Staff and SJSU Environmental Health and Safety will assist departments when necessary. Corrective action time frames will be determined based on the severity of the risk. Imminent hazards will always take priority and must be corrected immediately or operations must be stopped until the hazard is mitigated. Follow up inspections will be conducted if necessary to assure corrective action is completed.


Documentation of inspections and corrective actions will be kept for at least 3 years.

This policy was approved by CoS Safety Committee and CoS Dean in December 2018.