Laboratory Contingency Plan
How to prepare for, and return from, a Temporary Laboratory Closure
Laboratory equipment, materials and research can be protected from loss during temporary closures by taking steps
to prepare the laboratory before a closure, ramping down operations, and planning for bringing the laboratory back up
to operational status. Each lab should prepare a laboratory contingency plan that meets your specific needs. This
plan should be shared with your lab, your Department (Chair and Director of Labs), and your building manager for
inclusion in the building emergency plan. The plan should be implemented whenever a situation occurs that may
require a temporary suspension of operations.
Use the attached template to help prepare your lab for a temporary closure.
Preparation
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Keep an updated list of emergency contacts on lab door and share
with department.
Develop a plan for communicating with lab personnel during a
closure. Ensure contact information is up to date.
Identify critical research materials (notebooks, hard drives, files) that
need to be protected and secured and who is responsible to do so.
Identify methods that may allow work to continue remotely. Certain
software may only be accessible via VPN - check with DoIT and
ensure personnel have access to Stony Brook’s Virtual Private
Network, as needed.
The PI must approve the removal of any notebooks, data, storage
devices, or computer equipment before they may be removed from
the lab.
Identify emergency equipment (first aid kit, flashlight, spill kit, etc.),
who is responsible for maintaining them, and where they are to be
stored.
Identify critical functions and/or equipment that require active
monitoring (magnets, compressed gasses for cell cultures, animal
husbandry, glove boxes, etc.) and who will perform those tasks and
when.
Confirm critical equipment that needs emergency power (computers,
fridges/freezers, incubators, glove box, etc.) are hooked up to the
proper power source. Draft detailed maintenance procedures and
consider installing remote / smart monitoring devices.
Prepare a list of, and procedures for, equipment that must be reset
or restarted if the power is lost.
Ensure procedures are in place and PPE is available for obtaining
dry ice / liquid nitrogen for critical samples if fridges/freezers fail.
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Identify non-critical experiments that may be quickly and safely
suspended, as needed, to prioritize essential personnel, materials,
and functions.
Reinforce basic Laboratory Security principals with all staff:
Close and lock the lab when not in use
Prevent entry to the lab to any unauthorized personnel
Secure sensitive equipment, materials, and data at the end of
each day
Evaluate open orders for supplies and materials, and consider
temporarily suspending new non-critical orders.
Criticality Descriptions
High
Impacts continuity of high-value, strategic and/or multi-stakeholder research having substantial sunk
costs or prior investment. Cannot be paused without causing significant disruption to research or
business operations, upstream and downstream dependent organizations or units, revenue and
finances, or other core mission services.
Medium
Impacts continuity of long-term research which may be reduced for a month or more. May cause
disruption to research or business operations, upstream and downstream dependent organizations
or units, revenue and finances, or other core mission services.
Low
Impacts continuity of research which may be paused for a month or more. May cause some
disruption to research or business operations, upstream and downstream dependent organizations
or units, revenue and finances, or other core mission services.
Deferred
May pause and resume when conditions permit. May cause negligible disruption to research or
business operations, upstream and downstream dependent organizations or units, revenue and
finances, or other core mission services.
Other considerations
During situations where staffing may be disrupted, essential services (Core Facilities, external vendors, etc.) may
also experience disruptions in operations. Maintain contact with those services on a regular basis during any
disruptions. You may need to update your plan multiple times during an event. Make sure to communicate those
updates to affected laboratory personnel.
Ramping down laboratory operations
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Secure all non-critical experiments and equipment
Turn off gasses and secure cylinders
Close containers and store (chemical, biological, radioactive)
Close sashes on fume hoods
Turn off hot-plates, stir-plates, and heat-generating equipment
Unplug non-essential equipment
Secure highly hazardous or regulated materials (water-reactive,
radioactive, controlled substances, temperature-sensitive, etc.) and
store appropriately.
Suspend unattended operations as soon as possible.
Remove all hazardous wastes and regulated medical wastes (“red
bag” / sharps) from the lab. Utilize routine hazardous waste pickups in
your building, or schedule with EH&S via HazWaste@stonybrook.edu.
Returning to the Laboratory
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Certain situations may restrict access to laboratory buildings – only
return to buildings and laboratories when you are instructed it is safe
to do so.
Be cautious of hazards that may have been caused during the closure
of the laboratory (utility interruptions, severe weather) like hazardous
vapor build up or loss of containment. If you suspect any such
circumstance has occurred – DO NOT ENTER THE LAB – contact
University Police (631-632-3333) for assistance.
If you laboratory has chemical fume hoods or biosafety cabinets, make
sure they are operating before starting work with hazardous materials.
Check all equipment for hazardous conditions before plugging in,
energizing, or turning on.
If you have any questions, or could use further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us!
LabSafety@stonybrook.edu
This Laboratory Contingency Plan was last updated on _______ / ________ / ________
Principal Investigator ________________________________ Signature ___________________________
Use this page to include additional items that need to be addressed specifically for this laboratory.
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