Physical Sciences Safety Protocol in the Time of COVID-19

Dear Physical Sciences Researchers,

Please institute relevant safety practices below for all persons entering research spaces and associated common spaces. All participants (i.e. lab supervisors, PIs, graduate students, postdocs, project scientists, researchers, specialists, etc.) will please sign their understanding here before or at next research space entry. A copy of your submission will be sent to you via email. Please place the completed agreement copy in research lab safety files when next entering lab.  Registering and signing this safety protocol does NOT give permission to undertake research in Physical Sciences buildings, permission for research must be approved in writing via Physical Sciences in advance.

Best practices for safety in performing approved research in the School of Physical Sciences

  • Graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and all other researchers may volunteer to participate, this cannot be mandated if they do not feel comfortable. There will be no negative repercussions for non-participation.

  • Anyone experiencing cold/flu symptoms or coming in contact with a sick person must not come to lab, must inform their PI, and must self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days. Each researcher will measure their temperature at home every day – fever is considered a symptom of COVID-19. Many otherwise asymptomatic people who tested positive experienced temporary loss of the sense of smell. Stay away from lab if smell sense is lost.

  • Researchers must be at least 6 feet apart at all times.

  • To avoid accidental contact, only one person at a time may occupy a bench, hood, or bay.

  • Only one person at a time may occupy any enclosed space, e.g. cold room, restroom, stairwell, or elevator. Cold room visits require a mask/scarf and fresh gloves.

  • Contact with other labs should be made via phone or electronic means. Transfer of items should be arranged by leaving items in the hallway rather than handing them over in person. Use of other labs’ equipment should be pre-arranged in order to avoid accidental contact.

  • Researchers wash their hands with soap entering, before leaving, and frequently in, the lab.

  • All people will wear gloves and safety glasses at all times when in the lab and when opening delivered packages.

  • Each researcher will have their own set of any tools that are used frequently, including pipets, frequently-used reagent bottles, laboratory notebooks, and pens.

  • Gloves will be worn to handle common reagent bottles, laboratory equipment, and cabinet handles. Door handles will be wiped or sprayed with ethanol after use.

  • All surfaces will be wiped with at least 70% ethanol or isopropanol before and after use.

  • Orders of the Orange County Health Officer must be followed. For example, please see health orders at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/article/oc-health-officers-orders-recommendations, with special attention to face covering minimum legal requirements. Individual research labs may have more stringent conditions.

Thank you to all our Physical Sciences lab researchers for producing and adhering to, or exceeding, these evolving safety practices. If you are concerned about personnel not respecting these guidelines or have suggestions for improvements, please send your suggestions, concerns, and improvement ideas to Associate Deans Roger McWilliams (mcw@uci.edu) and Isabella Velicogna (isabella@uci.edu). All reported concerns will be treated with confidentiality procedures by default.

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