Laboratory Close-Out Procedure


Proper disposal of hazardous materials is required whenever a responsible individual leaves Louisiana State University or transfers to a different laboratory. (“Responsible individual” can include, but is not limited to: faculty, staff, post-doctoral, and graduate students.) Plan the disposal of hazardous materials carefully. Hazardous materials such as chemicals, microorganisms, tissues, and sources of radiation can injure faculty, students, staff, contractors and visitors if handled inappropriately.

The primary responsibility for the proper disposal of all hazardous materials used in laboratories lies with the principal investigator or researcher. Ultimate responsibility for hazardous materials management lies with each department.

When the proper management of hazardous materials at close-out requires the services of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), the Radiation Safety Office (RSO), or an outside contractor, the responsible department may be charged for these services. EHS or RSO is not responsible for costs incurred by individuals or departments as a result of lab close-out or transfers, or regulatory agency mandated removal of hazardous materials.  Any regulatory action or fines resulting from improper management or disposal of hazardous materials will accrue to the responsible department.

Please consult the  EH&S Web Pages for Biological Safety and Chemical Safety for guidance on University procedures regarding the transport and storage of potentially hazardous materials.  For sources of radiation (e.g., radioactive sources, X-ray devices, radio-analytical equipment, or tissues containing radioactive materials), please contact the RSO directly regarding the regulatory requirements for proper disposal.  Adhere to the following procedures when a responsible individual leaves the University or transfers to a different laboratory.

Timing Requirements

  • At least four weeks prior to vacating space, the department/division business manager is to notify representatives from EH&S(578-5640) and from RSO (578-2008) that an investigator is vacating a laboratory. 
  • At least two weeks before the anticipated collection date, the investigator will notify EH&S (578-5640) of the need for chemical waste pickup and disposal. The investigator will ensure that all sources of radiation are accounted for and transferred to either the RSO or another approved radiation principal investigator (through the RSO). 
  • Just before closure, the investigator will place properly completed hazardous chemical waste labels on all chemical containers that are to be picked up as waste by EH&S and complete Request for Pickup (RFP) forms for the disposal of waste.  The investigator and lab staff will pack, move,and/or ship all materials in the laboratory.  The investigator or a designated member of his/her staff will perform a final survey of the lab spaces to ensure that no waste, chemicals,gas cylinders, or other materials remain in the lab.  The investigator or a designated member of his/her staff will perform a final meter and/or wipe survey of the lab, as appropriate, to ensure that no radio active contamination remains.
  • When the lab has been vacated, the business manager, the investigator, or a designated member of his/her staff will notify the appropriate Biological& Chemical Safety and Radiation Safety auditors that the lab spaces have been cleared so that final inspections can be completed.

Please consult the Web Pages for Biological Safety, the Chemical Safety and Radiation Safety Office for guidance on University procedures regarding the transport and storage of potentially hazardous materials. Adhere to the following procedures when a responsible individual leaves the University or transfers to a different laboratory.

Shared Storage Areas

  • Shared facilities include storage units such as refrigerators, freezers, cold rooms, stock rooms, flammable liquids cabinets, waste collection areas, etc. They are of special concern, particularly if no one is assigned to manage the area.
  • Departing researchers must carefully inspect any shared facility in order to locate and appropriately dispose of their hazardous materials.


  • Determine which chemicals are usable. Transfer responsibility for these chemicals to a party willing to accept it. Transfer of chemicals need to be recorded in the Chemical Inventory Management System.  If a new user cannot be found, dispose of materials following LSU’s Hazardous Materials Management.
  • Contact EHS for waste collection. Do not flush hazardous chemicals or chemical mixtures down drains or discard them in the trash.
  • Label all chemical containers with the proper chemical name. Abbreviations, chemical formulas or structures are not acceptable. Close all containers securely.
  • For chemicals containing radioactive materials, contact the RSO at 578-2008.
  • Empty all beakers, flasks, evaporating dishes, etc. Remove all chemicals from refrigerators, freezers, fume hoods and bench tops as well as storage cabinets.
  • Prepare unusable chemicals for disposal following the Hazardous Materials Management Guidelines.  This process may take quite some time. Start at least one month before planned departure from the laboratory. Complete chemical waste removal before vacating the laboratory. Allow two weeks for waste collection to occur after notifying EHS that the waste is properly prepared for pickup.
  • Wash off fume hood surfaces and counter tops.
  • Notify Building Coordinator when laboratory clean-up is complete. Contact EHS to arrange a close-out inspection.

Controlled Substances

  • The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issues controlled substance permits to individual researchers. There is no central record of permit holders at the University.
  • Abandonment of a controlled substance is a violation of the DEA permit under which it was held.
  • Permission to dispose or transfer ownership of a controlled substance to another individual must be received from DEA.
  • If controlled substances are found and the licensee is unknown, contact EHS at 578-5640.

Gas Cylinders

  • Remove gas connections, replace cylinder caps, and return cylinders to Gas Supplier.
  • If cylinders are non-returnable, please contact EHS  at 578-5460.  

 Animal Tissues

  • Separate tissue from liquid preservative. Liquid preservatives may be hazardous waste. Do not assume that preservatives may be flushed down drains. Contact EHS at 578-5640 for information.
  • Discard animal tissue by placing it in a biohazard waste bag per University infectious waste procedures.
  • If tissue was stored in a refrigerator or freezer – defrost, clean and disinfect the refrigerator and freezer when emptied.
  • Locate an appropriate person to take responsibility for retained samples.
  • If appropriate tissue disposal is uncertain, contact the EHS Biosafety Manager at 578-5640.
  • For animal tissue containing radioactive materials, contact the RSO at 578-2008.

 Microorganisms and Cultures

  • If there are questions about decontamination procedures or the material cannot be decontaminated, contact the EHS Biosafety Manager at 578-5640.
  • Locate an appropriate person to take responsibility for retained samples.

Mixed Hazards

  • Occasionally it is necessary to dispose of materials that may contain more than one hazard. Contact EHS at 578-5640 for information on the disposal of any combination of biohazardous materials, and chemicals and/or radioactive materials.


  • Dispose of infectious waste sharps: Autoclave sharps container and place in black bag to discard.   Infectious waste sharps include: all needles and syringes; broken or unbroken glass and plastic ware that has contacted infectious agents or was used in animal or human patient care or treatment, including plastic pipettes and other used plastic ware that is recognizable after autoclaving or made of plastic that shatters on breakage or is considered breakable by the investigator.
  • If uncertain, contact the EHS Biosafety Officer at 578-5640.

Radioactive Material

  • Contact the Radiation Safety Office at 578-2008 regarding disposal and/or transfer of sources of radiation so that the mandatory procedures can be performed and documented to be in full compliance.


  • Clean and disinfect equipment as is appropriate before departing. Especially equipment in which biohazardous material was used or stored. Alert EHS and Facilities Services of exhaust or filtration equipment used with extremely hazardous substances or organisms.
  • If moving biological safety cabinets, decontaminate before moving and recertify before use in the new location
  • Deface or cover hazard labels on equipment to be moved or discarded.
  • When discarding laboratory equipment: remove capacitors, transformers, mercury switches, mercury thermometers, radioactive sources, chemicals and biohazards before disposal.



Questions regarding these procedures should be directed to EHS:

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety
241 Administrative Support Building
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
phone: 225-578-5640
web site:

Questions regarding procedures to sources of radiation should be directed to the RSO:

Radiation Safety Office
112 Nuclear Science Building
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803
phone: 225-578-2008
web site: