Reboot your Bench – practical safety tips for your laboratory

We will help you to return to the laboratory!

Are you preparing to return to the lab? We are happy to help you with this and have put together some practical tips for you:

Before returning to the lab

  • Identify a co-worker responsible for coordinating and enforcing your new policies.
    Review and understand any required protocols for health monitoring.
    Be sure there is adequate stock of PPE available.
    Pre-plan your day so you can work efficiently while in the lab. Consider performing any non-lab work at home.
    Stagger worktimes and shifts, including lunch time and breaks.
    Develop a floorplan that limits the number of people per space, being at least 1.5 m apart, and consider 1-way corridors.
    Develop a scheduling system and clean-up strategy for shared equipment, including freezers and refrigerators.
    Check with delivery rooms for policies on pick-up and drop-off of packages and mail –
    non-perishable items may need to be quarantined.
    Develop a plan for visitors, including vendors; discourage in-person visits, unless critical.
    Develop training materials and protocols for all new procedures; consider making training mandatory.
    Review and understand travel and commuting policies.
    Check in with any conferences or tradeshows you were planning to attend.
    Consider replacing live seminars or trainings with virtual events.

Things to consider once back in lab

Personal safety

  • Practice proper hygiene – wash your hands frequently.
    Practice social distancing.
    Refrain from touching your face.
    Wear protective masks and gloves.
    Launder lab coats more frequently.
    Consider adding additional hand sanitizing areas.

Equipment and reagents

  • Be sure that equipment is calibrated and ready to use – contact manufacturer, if needed.
    Update software, as needed.
    Move frequently-used equipment to new locations to allow for social distancing.
    Consider a deep clean of the lab periodically.
    Flush water lines out, if necessary.
    Ensure that safety devices, such as fire extinguishers, shower and eye washing stations are checked, clean and working.

Five “reminders” as practical signs for your laboratory

Download PDF and print at home!

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Download the checklist!

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Your time in the laboratory has probably never been so short and so valuable as it is today. Accelerate your research career with faster workflows and kits from NEB.