Lab Closeouts

Lab Closeouts

June 12, 2014

Laboratory cleanouts of areas where biological materials (including recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid materials, Select Toxins, animal or human tissues, cells or fluids) are used and/or stored require additional considerations beyond the general Lab Cleanout instructions.   

The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for the stewardship of all biological materials brought in his/her laboratory areas and only those personnel who are authorized by the IBC to handle these are permitted to have potential contact with these materials.  These arrangements must be made with sufficient lead-time to accomplish the required tasks.  Failure to properly transfer or dispose hazardous materials by the PI may incur significant costs to the department.  

These are summarized in the following Fact Sheets:

Lab Clearance of Hazardous Chemical Materials

Lab Clearance of Biological Materials

Keep in mind, the end goal at the end of Biological Lab clean out is that all biological agents have been either:

  • Destroyed (as per the lab's approved SOPs for decontamination/destruction)
  • Disposed properly as Medical/Biohazardous Waste (in accordance with CDPH Medical Waste Act), or
  • Transferred out of the laboratory to another laboratory authorized for these materials (either transfer to another PI or to the PI's new location/institution).  

At the end of the process, all work surfaces and equipment (including internal contaminated plenums or parts) must be decontaminated and be free of hazardous materials.

Lastly, all organizations who monitor compliance (IBC, ARC) must be notified to ensure the decommissioning of the lab and personnel have been noted.  

Additional Considerations: 

Transport of Biological/Recombinant Materials, Dry Ice, LN2, and/or Small Amounts of Fixatives on Public Roads or Shipping:

  • Biological materials (cells, cell lines, tissues, biological fluid specimens, cultures)

  • Genetically-modified organisms

  • Biological toxins

  • Dry ice

  • Liquid Nitrogen

  • Fixatives (e.g., Formalin, ethanol)

must meet specific requirements for proper shipping, since they are considered hazardous materials by the federal government.

In addition, if transporting etiological agents to humans, animals or plants (including recombinant plants), you may require a special permit to transport these from the CDC and/or USDA.

  • If the laboratory intends to ship/transport these materials themselves, they should obtain the special packages, labels, and training to do this.  Shipping Biological Materials training may be required.  All classifying, packing, labeling and transport must be done in compliance with DOT/IATA regulations and must  be done by laboratory staff who have been authorized by the IBC to handle and ship the materials in the laboratory.  It is not appropriate to delegate this task to personnel from other laboratories or to an administrative assistant without sufficient knowledge of the hazards, training and precautionary measures (e.g., vaccination). 

  • Alternatively, if seeking to transport larger amounts (e.g., transferring freezers of materials), the laboratory may wish to contract a certified scientific shipper (e.g., The Cryoguys to perform this move.   Please ensure that all  breakable containers (e.g., glass tubes) have been removed and secure other items in closed boxes.  Pack open spaces with packing materials to prevent shifting during transit.  Secure freezers shut (locked door or using multiple tape strips).  Decontaminated the exterior of the equipment prior to shippers’ arrival.

  • If the lab is  planning to transfer these materials to another UCLA laboratory, they will need to ensure the destination laboratory has an IBC-authorized protocol that "covers" the material in question.  In addition, the PI of that laboratory will need to confirm that they agree to assume responsibility for the material.

  • If transferring to a location outside the university, they will need to follow the proper shipping/transport procedures as mentioned in above.

Any equipment should be fully decontaminated (interior and exterior) with a disinfectant appropriate for the agents in the laboratory prior to allowing contact with unauthorized personnel and before leaving the laboratory.  The decontamination should be dictated in the laboratory’s SOPs (e.g., freshly diluted 10% bleach for 10 minute contact time).    Some equipment may require additional decontamination methods for interior parts prior to transfer or disposal (e.g., Biosafety cabinets require decontamination of the internal HEPA filter by TSS prior to moving out of the laboratory or disposal).