Template for SOPs for Lab-based Research

General Safety Procedures 

  1. Safety precautions while working 
    1.  Workers will wear gloves and face masks in laboratories, and masks in all common areas including hallways, bathrooms, etc. 
      Note: Face masks are not currently provided by the university so workers must supply their own. 

    2. Workers will maintain 6 feet distance from all other workers for all tasks.

      1. To aid in this, establish electronic signups for all shared instruments.
      2. Occupancy at instruments will be strictly limited to one researcher at a time. 
      3. Researchers should not be directly across from each other at lab benches. 
      4. Whenever possible, workers who need help with procedures will share images, screenshots, or similar to get the help they need. When close proximity for giving help is unavoidable, workers will limit the time in proximity to the absolute minimum necessary. 
      5. It is not feasible to have signups for many high contact areas. If you arrive at one of these areas and it is occupied, you must either wait outside the room or maintain >6 feet distance from the other occupants while waiting for access. 
      6. Some shared instruments are in spaces assigned to PIs. Special arrangements including instrument signups will be made to ensure that workers using these instruments can maintain a safe distance and not exceed total occupancy of the lab space determined in #1 above.

    3. Except where clearly indicated, workers will disinfect surfaces that are touched – bench tops, lab carts and handles, computer keyboards and computer mice, instrument control surfaces, refrigerator handles, etc. – with appropriate disinfecting materials, depending on the touch surface, both before and after use of the instrument or work surface. 

      1. Disinfecting materials will be kept available in all common areas. If for some reason disinfecting materials are not available, it is still the staff's responsibility to find some and perform the disinfection. 
      2. Some instrument touch points have specific requirements for disinfectants that should, or in some cases should not, be used; for example, ammonia-based wipes will destroy touch screens. Some instruments should not be disinfected with any liquid whatsoever. Proper disinfection materials and/or procedures for each instrument will be clearly posted.

    4. Researchers should not share safety equipment, including safety glasses. 

    5. Researchers will wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after leaving the lab for breaks, or for the day.

    6. Researchers should avoid working alone. Ideally at least one other person should be in the lab area; when that is impossible, at least one other person should be on the same floor of the building. Signups will be instituted so that researchers will know who else is working. 

  2. Safety precautions while taking breaks/eating 

    1. The safest place to take a break, eat, and/or drink, is outside; whenever possible, staff will take breaks and/or eat outside. Staff will maintain >6 feet distance outside. 

    2. If weather does not permit being outside, staff will maintain >6 feet distance from other workers while resting and/or eating. 

    3. If eating inside, researchers will sanitize tables and chairs at their eating place with cleansing wipes or 70% ethanol before and after eating. 

  3. All research team members will use the ‘see something, say something’ rule – if you see someone not following the safety procedures outlined here, it is your responsibility to speak up, either directly to the offenders or to a PI. 

  4. Research team members must be alert to their own health, and by agreeing to work in campus laboratories workers agree: 

    1. to immediately seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 (Use the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).

    2. to immediately report such symptoms, date of onset, and any diagnosis to an applicable supervisor, who must immediately report this result to Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) https://ehs.kennesaw.edu/index.php.

    3. not to come to campus while experiencing symptoms or, if diagnosed with COVID-19.

*Developed based on Science Laboratory Safe Work Plan by Susan M.E. Smith, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology*