Preparing Research Laboratories for Winter Recess

During this season of family and friends, it is easy to be distracted by holiday preparations.  We must remember that laboratories requires constant attention to operate safely and effectively.  By taking a few precautions and preparations, labs can remain safe for researchers and service personnel, as well as safeguard experiments.  Laboratory buildings are remarkably complex and require intense oversight by the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO), Campus Services, as well as laboratory research personnel.

Please consider the following when preparing for the Winter Recess:

  • Isotope deliveries – When the University is on Winter Recess, some couriers may have limited deliveries. Isotopes are expensive and will decay. Please consider delaying purchases until after the Winter Recess.
  • Laboratory deliveries – Plan ahead to ensure that chemical and biological deliveries, especially those that are temperature sensitive, can be received by responsible personnel and stored appropriately. The holiday surge in gifts and deliveries, at times, require couriers to hire seasonal staff. These seasonal employees may not have the same understanding of the building, the occupants, and the sensitive nature of our work as the typical route drivers would. Consider placing signs where you would like packages to be delivered with the name of the recipients in the area.
  • Be mindful of power sources – Be sure that equipment with power sources is turned off as appropriate, including equipment not connected to emergency back-up power. Examples include water baths, heating blocks, and centrifuges. Consider assigning a lab member with the task of a final walk through of the lab space before leaving for Winter Recess.
  • Working alone – If you need to perform experiment-related activities during the Winter Recess, please do not work alone. A buddy system is highly recommended.
  • Consumables (LN2 and other gases) – Make sure that devices that consume gases or LN2 are adequately filled and plan for replenishment of those gases as needed.
  • Point of Contact – Ensure that emergency contact information is up to date, clearly visible, and posted on freezers and other critical equipment.
  • Waste disposal – Plan ahead and contact EHSO to remove chemical and radioactive waste before the Winter Recess.
  • HVAC – Selected buildings may reduce temperature during Winter Recess. Please note that ventilation is not impacted, but rather the temperature may be outside the normal range of the Emory temperature control policy.
  • Access Control – Doors and elevators may be locked during normal business hours. Be sure to always carry your Emory badge and be mindful of piggybacking or allowing unknown personnel entry into buildings or lab space. Please ensure that buildings/doors are secured. If you find an unsecured location, please report it to the Emory Police non-emergency number.
  • Emergencies – Only EHSO critical services will be operating during Winter Recess.  If you need immediate assistance from EHSO, please contact us at (404) 727-2888. If it is a non-EHSO emergency, please contact the Emory police at (404) 727-6111 or dial 911. Please add the Emory non-emergency phone number to your contact list in your phone. If you need Occupational Health Services during the Winter Recess, please call (404) 686-8587 or visit their website for more information.

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