Lab Equipment Decommissioning Guidelines


It is the policy of Baylor University to handle materials in a safe and compliant manner. Lab equipment and apparatuses, including refrigerators, instruments, pumps, and baths, pose a special hazard because of material used or stored, in or near, these articles and because of other possible hazards involved. This policy was developed to ensure that lab equipment and devices are removed from service, whether for disposal or servicing, in a safe and compliant manner.


This policy covers all lab or research facilities and support offices that use mechanical or electronic equipment and devices. This policy does not include computers and computer related devices like printers, keyboards and monitors.


It is the responsibility of each lab or lab support work space to manage the decommissioning of equipment in its care in a safe and compliant manner. This includes presenting equipment for disposal, transport or service.


Baylor University is subject to various local, state, and federal laws and regulations under the authority of local, state, and federal regulatory entities such as OSHA, TCEQ, EPA, City of Waco, and others. It is the policy of Baylor University to comply with all such regulatory directives and ensure compliance with all laws, orders, and other enforceable regulations.

Because of the hazards to the environment posed by improperly managed equipment, the process of removing lab devices is being closely supervised by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). The list of hazards associated with the lab device varies with the article. Most are electrically powered; others bear chemicals as storage apparatuses or come in contact with hazardous materials due to their location in a lab setting. The actual hazards are apparent to staff that employ the articles, can be derived from consulting the user's manual, or can be determined from contacting the manufacturer. Other personnel, Baylor or contractors, will not be familiar with these hazards; these hazards need to be removed to allow these personnel to safely move or service the article, and so as not to pose environmental risk, as well.

The order presented here is a recommended order and is the order on the Equipment Release Form, but each step must be completed. EHS will ultimately approve the Equipment Release Form to ensure that no hazards are presented to personnel or the environment in moving the article to its final destination whether disposal, service, transport, or storage. Articles being removed from commission are to remain in place until removed by Baylor Facility Services or taken by vendor or service representative. In no case are these articles to be stored in hallways, loading docks or storage areas.

A. De-energized

Each article needs to be de-energized. In the case of most devices this will simply mean unplugging the apparatus from a wall outlet. In other cases it could mean removing pressure from a pneumatic device or gas storage unit, or removing charge from a stored capacitor. The lab manager and lab staff are responsible to ensure that all energy is removed and should consult the user's manual or the manufacturer to identify any potential energy stored.

B. Removal of Chemicals

All chemical or radioactive substances will be removed by lab staff and placed in the appropriate compliant storage or disposed. In the latter case the EHS must be contacted for disposal. In the case of a refrigerator or freezer, this scope does not include refrigerant which will be removed by Baylor Facility Services in the event that the refrigerator or freezer is removed from service. In no circumstance, beyond refrigerant in refrigerator type devices, will liquids or chemicals be permitted in apparatuses removed from commission.

C. Decontamination

Apparatuses will need to be decontaminated by appropriately trained and certified personnel. The work and environment in the lab will dictate what sort of decontamination is needed. In the event that only chemicals were used in the environment, a simple wiping will suffice if there are no heavy residues or major spills. The lab personnel should consult the EHS Hazardous Waste Specialist in the case of heavy spillage.

If the article was in the environs of radioactive materials, special decontamination protocols will be in place for radioactive contaminated articles. These procedures should be adhered to strictly. The Radiation Safety Officer may be consulted to determine the exact needs. In the event that radiological and non-radiological materials are present both decontaminations will need to be followed.

Following decontamination, lab personnel will contact the EHS Hazardous Waste Specialist, and or Radiation Safety Officer (or RSO) to verify decontamination. These parties, or another health safety designee, will indicate on the Equipment Release Form that the equipment is or is not contaminated. If the material is contaminated, the group submitting the device for removal from service will need to follow recommended procedures and recall the safety person in charge to verify that contamination is removed.

In the event EHS deems that the apparatus does not require decontamination, EHS or therequesting department's Health Safety Officer, may mark “Not Applicable” on the contamination signature/initial lines.

D. Removal from Service

EHS personnel verifying decontamination will determine that protocols have been followed and permit the removal from service. EHS personnel and lab personnel will initial and the responsible person will sign that the steps have been taken to remove the lab apparatus from service. EHS will then sign and date the release of the equipment. Baylor Facility Services will be contacted by work order and the article will be removed for service, disposal, storage, or transport. An outside vendor will be permitted to take the apparatus at this stage. Please note: If an outside vendor is to take the article, these steps must be completed well in advance to ensure that all aspects of the policy are fulfilled. The apparatus is to remain in place until picked up by Baylor Facility Services or other vendor or contractor. No apparatus may be stored in hallways, storage areas, corridors, or areas not part of the origin lab without the permission of the Building Director or the Department of Environmental Health and Safety

E. Storage

Instruments and apparatuses that are removed from service because they are obsolete or surplus to a lab's or department's purposes, which need to be stored while finding a buyer or awaiting transport to another work site, may be stored with Baylor Facility Services. Because there is limited storage space on campus, storage for these articles will be for 30 days. Additional time may be granted, if requested in advance, by Baylor Facility Services and Hazardous Materials & Lab Safety Specialist. Articles stored over 30 days, or other arranged time with Baylor Facility Services and the Hazardous Materials & Lab Safety Specialist, become discards and will be disposed of with all charges reverting back to the lab and or department of origin.

All articles stored must have a complete letter of intent including the Equipment Release Form. This letter will state the intended purpose of storage and duration; and it will include the approval signature of the lab manager, the lab's department head, Baylor Facility Services Manager, and the Hazardous Materials & Lab Safety Specialist. This letter will be stored in the offices of the signers and with the article in a plastic sleeve affixed to the article, along with the Equipment Release Form.

F. Costs

All additional costs incurred in the operation of this protocol are to be borne by the lab, office, or department seeking to decommission the apparatus. Sufficient time should be made to meet whatever time constraints arise. The principal investigator/lab manager and/or his designee should contact the EHS to receive assistance in whatever aspects of the policy he/she deems necessary.