EHS Research Lab Checklist

Pre-Start Checklist for Laboratory Operations & Safety

May 29, 2020

General Guidance

❏ Stay home when sick

❏ Wearing cloth face coverings

❏ Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth

❏ Check your health status before coming to work. It is recommended to check your temperature and any potential symptoms of COVID-19.

❏ Individuals should be cross-trained on multiple overlapping techniques that are essential for safe lab operations, so that multiple people can cover for individuals who may have to be absent for extended periods of time.

❏ Pay attention to signage for the laboratory space that specifies the required protocols that need to be followed (e.g., reminders for individuals to wear facemasks and wipe down the lab (keyboards, doorknobs, freezer doors, sink handles) before leaving).

❏ Work shifts should be staggered to reduce % occupancy in a research space at any given time. The use of an online (Google) calendar should be used to schedule times when individuals will be in specific labs/buildings, including names and contact information. Google calendars should be created and overseen by someone for each building with designated research space (Stella Maris, Pickus, MSC, Morgane, Alfond Forum and Sciences buildings, Decary in Biddeford and CoP, others? in Portland).

❏ Calendars for equipment utilized by multiple research groups should be created if they are not already in place. For example, a Google calendar has already been created and is utilized for researchers and animal facility staff in Stella Maris and Pickus. The need for calendars in other buildings should be determined.

❏ Maintain safe behavioral practices. We have all had to make significant behavioral changes to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

❏ Social distancing (specifically, staying 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space)

❏ Frequently washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available

❏ Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

❏ Mailroom deliveries. It is recommended that individual laboratories coordinate with the mailroom to pick up deliveries when notified that a package has been received.

❏ Always practice respiratory etiquette by covering your cough or sneeze. If you get the urge to sneeze or cough, cover your nose, mouth, and face covering with a towel or handkerchief.

❏ Practice situational awareness, immediately report potential exposures to supervisors

Work with your building/facilities/department representatives as needed.

❏ Assess your research space for the ability to meet physical distancing of 6 feet.

❏ Determine how many people can work safely in your research space at a single time while observing appropriate physical distancing.

❏ Review the UNE for novel coronavirus COVID-19 updates @

❏ Review the CDC’s current guidance on social distancing, and ensure that all team members have done the same.

● Each individual working in the lab must at all times have at least 6 feet clearance on all sides from others.

● No more than one person should occupy a small space/room at any time. This includes, but is not limited to, interview rooms, tissue culture rooms, microscopy rooms, or other small instrument rooms.

● Consider placing a colored tape on the ground around the workspaces indicating boundaries between workers – highly recommended for shared spaces.

❏ Ensure your department/building/facility representatives confirm your space assessment and the number of personnel you are proposing to allow in the space at a single time.

❏ For shared research space, work with the other faculty and facility representatives to establish definitive guidelines for the area.

❏ Communicate with employees via emails, texts, automated phone calls, texts, websites, and signage

Startup Checklist:

Before arriving in the research space

❏ Plan your research as much as possible beforehand and minimize the time needed to spend at the lab

❏ Any work that can be done off-site should continue to be done off-site (this includes lab


❏ Review the UNE for novel coronavirus COVID-19 updates @

Arriving to the Lab

❏ When you arrive for the first time observe the space briefly before entering to ensure everything is in safe working order.

Before You Begin Work, Evaluate Supplies

 ❏ Evaluate PPE – Do you have an appropriate lab coat, safety glasses, disposable gloves (including face coverings) on hand to perform the work you intend to do?

❏ If PPE or other supplies in your lab are low and you are unable to obtain them through normal routes, work with your department to coordinate additional supplies. 

❏ Review the EH&S COVID-19 Cleaning Procedures for Laboratories, and ensure that all team members have done the same.

❏ Review the EPA approved Chemical Disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2 matrix, ensure that all team members have done the same.

❏ Evaluate cleaning materials available to sanitize/disinfect the space.

● Do you have a sufficient quantity, quality?

● Is it compatible with the equipment and the research conducted in the space?

❏ Evaluate other supplies needed to complete your research tasks.

❏ Verify the availability of support services needed for your work:

 ● Compressed gasses

● House services (compressed air, house gas, DI water)

 ● Glass washing services

 ● Hazardous chemical or biological waste pick-up

● Supply deliveries

● Other halted services (lab coats, etc.)

❏ Walk through the space to check if there has been a chemical spill. If you are not comfortable with cleaning up the spill, call EH&S at (207) 602-2488  for assistance. ❏ Inspect hazardous waste storage and coordinate with EH&S.