Laboratory Ramp-Up Checklist

Use this checklist to start up research on campus.  This checklist may not address every consideration for your lab.

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Lab Ramp-Up Checklist
PREPARING
(     ) Maintain a distance of 6 feet from another person.
(     ) Wear a well-secured paper (e.g. dust mask) or cloth (bandana, scarf) mask that covers your nose and mouth.  
(     ) Ensure your laboratory emergency plan (emergency contact numbers, location of emergency equipment in the lab e.g. fire extinguisher, spill kit, safety showers, etc.) is up to date. All personnel should be familiar with it and its location.
(     ) Ensure EH&S safety training (e.g. Chemical, Radiation, Bloodborne, Laser, etc.) is up to date.
(     ) Be sure there are Standard Operating Procedures for your experiments.  Ensure all participants are familiar with them.
(     ) Be sure there are Standard Operating Procedures for your equipment.   Ensure all participants are familiar with them

(     ) Ensure all participants are familiar with the Safety Data Sheets and their location.

(     ) Assign tasks to limit the number of people in common areas (e.g. balance room, clean room).

(     ) Ensure that individuals performing critical activities have been adequately trained and understand whom to contact with technical or safety questions.

(     ) Cross-train research staff to fill in for others who may be out sick or unable to come to work and ensure these staff have appropriate training. 

EQUIPMENT USE

(     ) Only ONE user per instrument or equipment at any time and social distancing guidelines must be followed.

(     ) Initiate a calendar reservation system to enforce a fixed time between equipment reservations to create a time and space separation between consecutive users
(     ) Prohibit any activities which could result in aerosolization of potentially contaminated materials
(     ) Users must wear face coverings while working with other personnel in the lab.

(     ) Flow Cytometers:

  • Wipe down the cytometer controls with ethanol wetted wipes before starting session
  • Lay pieces of plastic film across the keyboard and mouse
  • After your session, wipe down the instrument again and discard the plastic film
  • Dispose of wipes in red biohazard bag
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

(     ) Microscopes:

  • Wipe down the microscopy controls with ethanol wetted wipes before starting your session
  • Use pieces of plastic film to cover the microscope eyepieces, computer keyboard and mouse
  • After your session, wipe down the instrument again and discard the plastic film
  • Dispose of wipes in red biohazard bag
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

(     ) Other Equipment (e.g. balance, dry bath, orbital shaker, etc.):

  • Wipe down the instrument surfaces and controls with ethanol wetted wipes before using
  • Lay pieces of plastic film across the keyboard, touchpad or buttons if applicable
  • After your session, wipe down the instrument again and discard the plastic film
  • Dispose of wipes in red biohazard bag
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
COMMUNICATIONS
(     ) Maintain a contact list of lab personnel, principal investigator, lab administrative director, research operations manager, and building manager or Facilities Planning Management Officer (FPMO).
(     ) Ensure the contact list is saved where it can be remotely accessed by everyone in the lab. Include home and cell phone numbers.

(     ) Periodically test your phone tree or email group to facilitate emergency communication amongst lab researchers and staff in the event of another shutdown.

SHIPPING/RECEIVING

(     ) Plan for possible short delays in delivery time if ordering reagent chemicals from stockrooms and delivery is required. EH&S delivery services may be running on a limited schedule due to increased demand and available staff.

(     ) Contact loading dock/mail services personnel to notify them of any expected incoming shipment if you will not be available.      
RESEARCH MATERIALS
(     ) Inspect agar plates for unwanted growth.  Do not discard in the trash.  Dispose of as regulated medical waste.
(     ) Inspect cell cultures and aspirators for debris and signs of mold growth. 

(     ) Inspect Dewar flasks for cracks, chips or scratches. Is the flask upright, and secured with a loose fitting cap or plug?

(     ) Visually inspect peroxide forming chemicals for crystallization.  Do not move or touch them.  Contact EH&S immediately if crystals are present.

(     ) Check that water reactive chemicals are stored in a flammable cabinet.
(     ) Check the expiration date of your long term solvents.
(     ) Visually inspect materials and their containers.  Check for cloudiness, change in color, change in physical state, and puddling of material outside the container. 
PHYSICAL HAZARDS
(     ) Inspect chemical reagent containers for damage or deterioration (e.g. cracks in the bottle or cap, bulging, bending, leakage).  Contact EH&S immediately If any of the above conditions exist.
(     ) Are the compressed gas cylinders upright, restrained with chains or straps, capped or valves are moved to the closed position?
(     ) Check pressure hazards of Cryostats.  Inspect for accidental air venting of insulation vacuum. Is there condensation on surfaces?  
SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT
(     ) Check expiration dates on supplies, culture media, peroxide formers, polymerizers, reagents, etc. Determine what needs to be remade or reordered. 
(     ) Check equipment (e.g. incubators, balances, shakers, stability chambers, etc.) to see if it needs to be calibrated.
(     ) Inspect vacuum system. Is the aspirator bottle or suction cracked, scratched or compromised? Is the HEPA filter clean and in place?  
(     ) Check equipment to see if it needs to be certified (e.g. Biosafety cabinets, Laminar flow hood, etc.).  It is recommended that the vendor notify you prior to their arrival on campus.
(     ) Start-up/test computer controlled scientific equipment prior to initiating runs.
(     ) Check the operation of refrigerators and -80 lab freezers.  If they were turned off, verify they are operating properly.  
(     ) Is the biosafety cabinet working properly?  Check the blower switch. Is it in the “on” position? If yes, check the plug. Is the cabinet plugged in? If yes, turn on the light switch. Do the lights come on?
(     ) Check the operation of your incubators. If they were turned off, verify they are operating properly.  Is the unit able to heat or cool?  Is the fan working?  Visually inspect for mold. 

(     ) Is the fume hood working properly?  Does the light turn on?  Do you hear the fume hood running? Open the sash and attach a Kim-wipe.  Is the Kim-wipe moving? Is the exterior performance indicator functioning?  

(     ) Ensure lab personnel are properly trained prior to using the autoclave.  Inspect the autoclave door gasket for cracks and bulges.  Clean drain screen of debris.  Inspect glassware for cracks before autoclaving.  Maintain the log book.

(     ) Visually inspect the glove box.  Do the gloves have holes, discoloration or a compromised connection to the exterior? Is the window in good condition (not cracked)? Are the HEPA filters attached to the box?  Are the vacuum pump lines connected to the box and are in good condition? Are the pressure gauges and indicators functioning and within acceptable ranges?  Are the seals in the airlock doors damaged or dirty?  
(     ) Visually check eye wash stations by running the water and checking the flow.  The water stream should be about six inches long with both streams crossing at the center of the eyewash nozzle.  Clean off both covers and the outlets.  
(     ) Visually inspect the safety shower for leaks or pipe damage.  Is the safety shower free of obstructions? Is the inspection date on the tag expired?  
(     ) Inspect the first aid kit for missing, damaged, soiled and partially used or expired products.  Replace or restock if necessary.  Ensure staff is familiar with its location. 

(     ) Inspect specialty Hydrofluoric acid (HF) and Hyperpolarization-activated and cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) first aid kits for missing, damaged, soiled and partially used or expired products.  Replace or restock if necessary. Ensure staff is familiar with its location. 

(     ) Inspect your laboratory’s emergency spill control kit for missing, damaged, soiled, partially used or expired products. Replace or restock if necessary.  Ensure staff is familiar with its location. Contact EH&S if you need assistance.
EXPERIMENTATION
(     ) Decide on your first planned experiment.
(     ) Will the research be easily halted if another step-down is necessary? 
(     ) Can the research be performed with limited staff and/or rotating teams?
DECONTAMINATION
(     ) Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, focusing on high-touch surfaces and shared items (equipment, tools, telephone, keyboards, etc.) before each use. Lab personnel should use disposable wipes or paper towels sprayed with ethanol or isopropanol.
(     ) Lab occupants should do frequent handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds throughout the day after you have touched your eyes, nose, mouth and frequently touched items or surfaces (e.g. door handles, telephone, computer, desks, faucets, lab equipment and tools, etc).
(     ) Perform radioactive contamination surveys and submit all required survey reports to EH&S.
WASTE MANAGEMENT
(     ) Inspect all hazardous chemical waste containers for rust, swelling, bulging, leaking. Contact EH&S immediately If any of the above conditions exist.
(     ) Collect and label all hazardous chemical waste in satellite accumulation areas (SAAs). Segregate incompatible chemicals (e.g., in plastic secondary bins or trays).  Ensure adequate stocks of containers are available,  While EH&S expects and plans to continue hazardous waste pick up, it may be adjusted, based on increased demand and staffing.
(     ) Collect all solid biological waste in appropriate containers. Request a pick-up with AdvoWaste if necessary.  Due to a high demand, anticipate delays in service.
(     ) Collect radioactive waste in appropriate waste containers. Request removal and/or empty containers if necessary.  While EH&S expects and plans to continue radiological waste services, it may be adjusted, based on increase demand and staffing.
(     ) Discard unwanted, non-hazardous chemicals. Refer to guidance for drain and trash disposal on the EH&S website.
FIRE SAFETY
(     ) Confirm the fire extinguisher is unobstructed.  If the extinguisher is located in a fire extinguisher cabinet, make sure the cabinet is not blocked or locked.
SECURITY
(     ) Consider securing the lab to control outside access
(     ) Secure PPE if necessary to prevent theft.
Updated 5/22/2020