Research Ramp-Up Sample Checklist

The following is one example of a template that research space managers might consider using as they develop their own ramp-up plans. 

Establish personnel safety:

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Create a lab personnel work schedule and adhere to it. This schedule should minimize the number of people in each laboratory room at any one time and maintain social distancing. A shared google calendar or other online tool may be helpful.

Survey the laboratory for unsafe conditions:

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Survey for any leaks, spills, or releases and mitigate as appropriate.

Ensure chemical containers are in good condition. Mitigate any bulging or imploded containers.

Manage any expired, outdated, peroxide-forming, self-reactive, or other reagents with a limited lifespan.

Cleanup/put away chemicals, supplies equipment, glassware, and other items that may have been left out during the ramp down.

Walk spaces and manage any unusual physical conditions.

Check levels of gas remaining in gas cylinders, low levels may indicate a leak.

Prepare for supply chain disruptions and limited availability:

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Recognize that order placement may be slower as the volume of requests increases.

Plan for limited sales of high demand items in stockroom inventory.

Plan for limited personal protective equipment availability (including N95s, face shields, and gloves).

Plan for some reagents and consumables having limited availability.

Equipment

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Review equipment manuals for safe startup instructions.

Review equipment state and safely release or mitigate any stored-up energy sources.

Confirm the fume hood is operating properly.

Confirm the biosafety cabinet is operating properly and has an up-to-date certification (within the last year)

Check for any equipment calibration requirements.

Flush all eyewashes.

Check the fire extinguisher pressure gauge to make sure the indicator is in operating range.

Decontamination

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Check cell culture aspirators and incubators for mold growth and clean, if necessary.

Develop enhanced cleaning procedures. Recommendations are included at the end of this document.

Waste Management

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Secure and correctly label any hazardous waste. Place a Request for waste pick-up from EHS.

Manage any medical or biological waste appropriately.

Ensure you have hazardous waste containers available before beginning work.

Collect radioactive material into the appropriate waste containers

and Request a Radioactive Waste Pick up for full waste containers from EHS.

Research

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Review start-up procedures for any compressed gas cylinders, gas generation station, and/or gas distribution systems.

Review any Core Facilities restrictions or delays due to start-up procedures. Facilities may have restricted schedules to accommodate social distancing.

Verify radiation survey meters are operational and have current calibration.

Perform a radioactive survey if this was not completed as part of the ramp-down procedures.

Ensure adequate supplies of PPE are on hand before beginning any procedures.

Ensure appropriate disinfectants are available and have not expired.

Security

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Confirm DEA controlled substance inventory and document results.  Dispose of any expired drugs, as appropriate.

Confirm select toxin inventory amounts and document results.  Contact EHS’s Biosafety Officer if any toxins are missing.

Ensure that radioactive material always remains secured against unauthorized removal.

General Area

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Pour water down dry traps/floor drains to mitigate sewer gas smells that are often confused with natural gas leaks.

Documentation

ITEM

Complete

N/A

Notes

Review required training. Are lab members up to date on training?  Recurring training includes: BBP, Shipping Training, Respirator, and Radiation Safety Training.

Review and amend registration protocols, as needed, including Animal Protocols and Recombinant DNA.

Review and update annual documentation, including Chemical Hygiene Plan, PPE Hazard Assessment and lab-specific written procedures, as needed.

ENHANCED CLEANING PROCEDURES:

The efficacy of disinfectants is evaluated on pre-cleaned surfaces. Thus, surfaces that are visibly dirty should be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. Disinfection of work and common areas can be achieved with an EPA approved disinfectant. EPA List N covers disinfectants approved for coronavirus. Follow disinfectant label instructions for adequate contact time to disinfect. If possible, wet towels or wipes with disinfectant rather than spraying; spraying may aerosolize anything that is on surfaces. Do not mix different types of disinfectants and/or cleaning solutions; some may react with each other and may produce dangerous fumes.

General Guidance

  1. Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, focusing on high-touch surfaces.
  2. Practice good hand hygiene after cleaning (and always):
    • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) should only be used if soap and water are not available.

Safety guidelines during cleaning and disinfection:

  1. Cleaning chemicals should only be used by staff trained on the hazards of those cleaning chemicals.
  2. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting. Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  3. Wear eye protection when there is a potential for splash or splatter to the face.
  4. Lab coats are recommended to protect personal clothing.
  5. Store chemicals in labeled, closed containers. Store them in a manner that prevents tipping or spilling.

Cleaning and disinfection of surfaces:

Examples of Work Areas (labs, shared core areas, etc.):

  • Benchtops, fume hood and biosafety cabinet sashes and work surfaces, centrifuge lids and bucket caps, waste container lids and handles, etc.
  • Handheld devices (pipettors, pipetman, etc.) and other commonly used items.
  • Shared PPE (laser goggles, safety glasses, etc.).

  • Frequently touched surfaces, such as light switches, door handles, knobs and push plates, refrigerator and freezer handles, equipment touch screens, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Clean electronics according to manufacturer instructions.

Examples of Common areas (lunchrooms, offices, etc.):

  • Refrigerator/freezer handles and shelves.
  • Microwave keypad and handle.
  • Sink faucets and surrounding surfaces.
  • Tables and chairs
  • Door handles, knobs, and push plates.
  • Clean electronics according to manufacturer instructions.

Information on Facilities Management’s COVID-19 operational response and custodial services can be found here: https://www.facilities.uiowa.edu/coronavirus

Plans should be submitted to the Principal Investigator's Associate Dean for Research for approval.

Please contact your EHS Safety Advisor or EHS with questions.