Laboratory Contingency Plan – Returning to the Laboratory
A Note on Social Distancing
In the event researchers are returning to labs following the COVID-19 Pandemic, social distancing rules
may still be in effect. Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) in this section refers to any face coverings
that people are using to protect themselves from SARS-CoV-2.
• Staffing must be kept to a minimum while still providing for the safety of personnel reopening the
• Laboratory personnel should still be observing minimum distancing from other personnel within
• Common / high-use touchpoints (countertops, equipment controls, hood sashes, door
handles/knobs) should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis
• PPE should be used according to the most recent direction from the Office of the Vice President
• PPE must be maintained as to prevent contamination with work materials (do not lay face
coverings on contaminated surfaces, do not put PPE in pockets, do not handle PPE with
potentially contaminated gloves, etc)
• Work shifts should be staggered to allow minimum occupancy at all times – use remote
workstation assignments whenever possible to limit or at least minimize contact between
The focus should be to maximize space between personnel, and minimize contact time and the potential
for cross-contamination. These guidelines are not exhaustive – each lab has its own operating
environment and laboratory-specific considerations that should always be included.
Reopening the Laboratory
During extended shutdowns there may be hazardous situations that can occur without the knowledge of
laboratory personnel. Prior to resuming laboratory operations it is advisable to conduct a walkthrough
with the Building Manager, Principal Investigator, or other member of the laboratory to check for the
following environmental hazards:
Flooding – caused by the activation of sprinklers during a smoke/fire condition, water source
accidently left open, containers which may have broken and spilled.
Hazardous odors and vapors – released from containers which may not have been sealed
properly, or due to breakage of containers
Energized equipment – any equipment that was left plugged in may be on or energized – be
cautious not to place your hands or other items within the working area of the equipment until it
has been checked
Spills or broken glass – containers under pressure may have ruptured
If you encounter any of these hazards upon return to your lab do not remain in the lab – leave the
area and call University Police at 1-631-632-3333 to report it and await assistance.