Working Safely in the Lab or Shop During COVID-19 Restrictions
CMU campus laboratories and shops have suspended operations (except for work approved by the Vice President of Research and Provost), and the end of the semester is nearing. As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, plans may change quickly, and preparedness is key. This page is meant to give you helpful resources as you evaluate the current status of your on-campus laboratory, current chemical inventories, hazardous waste, suspended work, and work already completed. To assist PI's with suspending their laboratory activities safely for an extended period, our office developed a checklist that may be found HERE. Spring laboratory cleanouts have been cancelled; however, the hazardous waste pick-up process is still in place. Please plan the closeout of student research projects remaining in the labs and shops if you haven't already.
For those essential workers in CMU laboratories and shops during this time, please follow all social distancing recommendations, disinfect common touch surfaces frequently, consider alternative schedules to minimize direct contact with others and always use good hygiene and frequent handwashing. Establish a virtual buddy-system when working alone in the lab by checking in at pre-determined intervals with a fellow lab worker or your supervisor via phone call or text or a virtual meeting. If you feel sick, do not come to campus and notify your supervisor.
What is COVID-19?
This 8-minute video Created by Clara Liao, a first year Neuroscience Ph.D. Student at Yale, shows the molecular and cellular biology, medicine, and epidemiology of COVID-19 succinctly: https://covid.yale.edu/media-player/4989/
PPE Shortages and Re-use
Essential lab workers must ensure there is enough PPE available to safely perform work duties. Latex and nitrile gloves remain single-use and must be disposed of properly. Follow your lab's normal protocol for lab coats/gowns/other PPE management. NOTE: Lab coats provided through the Office of Laboratory and Field Safety are currently not being picked up weekly for laundering through Cintas, so keep that in mind when managing your work.
N95 Respirators are not currently approved for re-use in CMU research or shop applications. PE re-use guidance may be found HERE.
Resources for COVID-19 pandemic information and PPE recommendations