The University of Iowa

Laboratory Safety Rounds

Lab Safety Rounds (LSR) are unannounced walkthroughs of lab spaces by a member of the EHS Safety Advisor Team to assess safety issues. The procedure for laboratories is described below.

Questions about this topic can be directed here.


A lab can generally expect one unannounced LSR per year. The Safety Advisor Team conducts LSRs approximately at the midpoint between one annual lab safety review and the next. The advisors may conduct additional LSRs if multiple issues of concern are found or if requested to do so by the lab.

Preparation/Scheduling and the EHS Visit

No preparation by the lab is needed for Lab Safety Rounds. Lab staff members are not required to escort the Safety Advisor during the LSR. The Safety Advisor will notify a member of the lab team and PI, if available, when entering the lab and will report any safety observations to that team member before leaving the lab. Other than this contact with lab staff, lab personnel are not expected to answer questions during the LSR.

The Safety Advisor will review a checklist of items and note any concerns. Photographs may be taken of any concerns with repeat photos taken, as necessary.


A report of the Lab Safety Rounds will be sent to the PI and primary contact person on file with EHS within two days. The report will detail any safety/regulatory concerns observed at the time of the walkthrough and will provide appropriate corrective actions. Any outstanding concerns must be addressed within one month.

  • Any photographs taken during the review will be available to the laboratory.
  • The report will identify any repeat concerns that were not resolved in prior LSRs.

If no deficiencies were noted or remain following the walkthrough, no further actions are needed. If any corrective actions are required, communication will also include the scheduled 30-day follow-up meeting. If applicable, the PI/lab contact can send proof of completion to their Safety Advisor at any time during those thirty days.

  • Options for proof include photographs (e.g. eyewash that has been unblocked), invoice/receipt of a needed purchase, copy of an e-mail (e.g. cc their EHS contact on an e-mail to EHS Environmental Programs staff for peroxide testing), etc.

Thirty days later the Advisor will return to the lab, if necessary, to verify the concerns were addressed.

  • If all concerns were resolved before the follow-up meeting (by sending proof of completion to the Advisor), the follow-up meeting can be canceled.

After the follow-up meeting, the Safety Advisor will send a final report to the PI and designated lab contact, if applicable.

  • If all concerns were addressed, a Satisfactory letter will be sent and no further actions are needed.
  • If concerns remain outstanding, a Deficiency letter will be sent within one business day. The report will reiterate any safety/regulatory concerns and will provide appropriate corrective actions. The report will be copied to the EHS Director, Chemical Hygiene Officer, Biosafety Officer (if applicable), Departmental Administrator, and Departmental Executive Officer (DEO).

Annual Reporting

At the end of each calendar year, EHS will compile a report that lists the safety/regulatory concern(s) that were noted during the LSR; the report will detail each PI and associated deficiencies. The report will also note whether the deficiency was corrected or remained outstanding after the 30-day period. This report will be sent by the EHS Director to the DEOs/Directors or equivalent, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Laboratory Safety Committee. 

Annual Laboratory Review

As part of the overall safety review procedure, EHS will also conduct an in depth, annual laboratory review; click here to review the full procedure.