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Answer by labsupport on question Decommissioning a science area

Submitted by sat on 20 February 2019

It is important that all stakeholders are involved in the overall planning of a new facility. The stakeholders comprise those who will use or maintain the new facility, those who are affected during the process of construction, and the various contractors engaged to undertake the work. The overall success of the project depends on effective consultation from the beginning with all these groups.


We recommend that you consider the Science ASSIST GUIDELINES for the design and planning of secondary school science facilities in Australian schools and a previous Q&A: Dust at workplace as part of your consultation process.


When a laboratory is decommissioned, it should be cleared of all hazards and left in a safe, clean and decontaminated state for new occupants or construction workers involved in any refurbishment or renovation. Laboratory staff with experience in handling chemicals and scientific equipment should conduct the packing and unpacking (upon relocation). Extra staffing hours should be allocated to facilitate these extra duties.


Some aspects to consider include, but are not limited to:


We have found several checklists from universities that are used to assist in this decontamination procedure. See links below.


References and links:


Science ASSIST. 2017. GUIDELINES for the design and planning of secondary school science facilities in Australian schools, Science ASSIST website, https://assist.asta.edu.au/resource/4175/guidelines-design-and-planning-...


Science ASSIST. 2015. Q&A: Dust at workplace. Science ASSIST website, https://assist.asta.edu.au/question/3355/dust-workplace


University of New South Wales. 2015. HS723 Laboratory and equipment decommissioning project - Project Cessation Procedure, UNSW Sydney Governance website, https://www.gs.unsw.edu.au/policy/documents/HS723.pdf


University of Queensland. 2016. 2.30.15 Laboratory Decontamination and Decommissioning – Guidelines, UQ Policy and Procedures Library website, https://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/2.30.15-laboratory-decontamination-and...


University of Sydney. nd. Laboratory Decommissioning Checklist, USYD Safety, Health & Wellbeing website, https://sydney.edu.au/whs/docs/forms/SHW_WHS_TOOL_1_003_Laboratory%20Dec... (Accessed February 2019)


University of Western Australia. 2012. Project-Cessation-Laboratory-Decommissioning-Checklist, University of WA website, www.safety.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/rtf_file/0009/2125908/Project-Cessat...


University of Wollongong, WHS Unit. 2016. Laboratory decommissioning checklist, UOW website, https://staff.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@ohs/documents/doc/uow017003.pdf


Some overseas links


Healthy Schools Network Inc. 2012. School Renovation and Construction: What you need to know to protect child and adult environmental health, Healthy Schools Network website, http://www.healthyschools.org/data/files/Renovation_and_Construction_Gui...


‘Lab decommissioning’, University of Victoria (Canada) Occupational Health, Safety & Environment website,  https://www.uvic.ca/ohse/research/laboratory/decommissioning/index.php (Accessed February 2019)