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Health and safety

Before working in the laboratory, you must be trained in chemical safety.  If you have not done so yet, please refer to the safety information here and/or ask your lab supervisor about how to receive training. Chemical safety training is followed by a quiz (needed yearly in the fall). The quiz will be completed through Canvas. You should receive an invitation to complete the quiz at the start of each fall semester.

For other training that is needed, please click on Training in the menu.

Individual precautions

Each person should follow CDC-recommended precautions for How to Protect Yourself and Others.  These precautions include:

  1. Wash your hands frequently, especially after contacting commonly touched surfaces. Use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  2. Don't touch your face if you haven't washed your hands.
  3. Stay home if you feel sick and encourage others to do the same. If you have been exposed to the virus and you develop its common symptoms -- dry cough, fever and difficulty breathing -- seek immediate medical attention.
  4. Stay home to minimize potential exposure. Avoid any contact with sick people.

Laboratory precautions

The lab must be maintained as a safe place to work. If you cannot or will not comply with these safety standards, stay away from the lab.

  1. If you feel sick, stay home and encourage others to do the same.
  2. Wear a particle mask or face cover whenever in Ross Hall and all labs. Avoid touching your mask without first washing your hands. To avoid "mask fatigue", take a break at least once each hour.
  3. Follow the guidelines established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for the Coronavirus.
  4. Limit close contact. Be aware of where others are in the lab and keep as much distance as possible. Limit movements throughout the lab to essential trips.
  5. Institute remote working policies and stagger shifts when possible to minimize the number people in the lab at one time.
  6. Promote proper hand hygiene. Wash hands regularly and ensure that hand sanitizer is well stocked and readily available. DO NOT leave lab with used gloves on!
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as lab benches, equipment and cabinet handles, with 70% ethanol spray (meets the Environmental Protection Agency's criteria for use against the SARS-CoV-2 virus – 30 seconds). Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while cleaning. CAUTION NOTE: EtOH WILL NEGATIVELY AFFECT MANY PLASTICS! Wipe down reusable equipment afterward.
  8. If someone working in the lab contracts COVID-19, follow the protocols established by the CDC for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility. Close off and decontaminate any areas used by the sick person with an EPA-recommended disinfectant.