General Lab Information

Preparing Your Lab or Research Workspace

As you ready your team and workspace to return to normal on site operations, consider the following.

Conduct a Safety Walkthrough

  • Walk through the area where tasks will be performed, locating emergency equipment and emergency exits.
  • Evaluate general conditions for signs of water intrusion, unusual odors, material storage, housekeeping, etc.
  • Consider changes over the last year, i.e., ensure area postings are still present and valid.
  • Check safety exits and walkways to ensure: Illuminated signs are working; Paths are free from obstruction; Alternate exits are available; Fire doors are not blocked or wedged open; Doors are not locked
  • Know where the fire extinguishers are, that they’re the right kind, and how to use them.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Check existing stock of PPE to make sure materials have not deteriorated with time.
  • Ensure lab coats are stored properly and are in good condition.
  • Remove any shared PPE and check expiration date on applicable PPE (e.g., electrical gloves, fall protection) and replace as needed.
  • Check electrical safety gloves to ensure that they are within the date range. They must be tested every six months.
  • Contact your Environment, Safety & Health Representative (ESHR) if out of date. You can find your ESHR in the “My BNL Representatives” tab on the intranet home page.

Hazard Control and Emergency Equipment

  • Check eye wash and shower stations for proper functionality, that water is clear, and they are current on their required inspections.
  • Check fume hood and biological safety cabinet functionality by verifying that the annual hood inspection is current and within specifications. If not within specifications, contact your ESH manager: Ginger Blanda (, Linda Bowerman (, Francis Craner (, Raymond Fliller (, Achim Franz (, Robert Lee (, and Wai-Lin Ng (
  • Perform glovebox inspections (e.g., gloves, indicator gauges, appropriate atmosphere, doors, gaskets, clamps, etc.).
  • Perform function tests, verify calibration, and re-calibrate monitoring devices, as needed.
  • Perform function tests on interlocks and other safety equipment.
  • Review procedures and manuals for the equipment prior to operation.

Laboratory Equipment

  • Work with the Laboratory Electrical Safety Officer (LESO) or your department’s Electrical Safety Advisor to follow manufacturers’ instructions or laboratory procedures for reenergizing equipment.
  • Power up equipment slowly and one at a time to avoid overloading electrical circuits.
  • Schedule any service or maintenance needed for equipment.
  • Perform function tests, verify calibration, and re-calibrate laboratory equipment, as needed.
  • Check all laboratory equipment (tubing, cords, etc.) for signs of degradation.
  • If you identify any needs for equipment calibration, contact the Lab’s Electrical Safety Officer at Ext. 7760.

Hazardous Materials/Storage/Waste

  • Check compressed gas cylinders and in-house gases to ensure securement, fittings, tubing, and lines are tight and in good condition.
  • Check chemical storage areas: Verify quantities of hazardous and radioactive materials and update inventory; Ensure container integrity, labeling, and dates.
  • Perform satellite accumulation area inspections.
  • Inspect secondary containers for integrity and labeling.
  • Test peroxide-forming chemicals.


  • Prepare for radiological work by contacting your department’s Facility Support Representative, which you can find in the “My BNL Representatives” tab on the intranet home page.
  • Discuss performing routine surveys with Radiological Control. Contact the Facility Support Manager at Ext. 5212 with questions.

Take Time to Review Your Work Activities

  • Is the work within the scope of the Experimental Safety Review (ESR)?
  • Is the laboratory equipped with the proper supplies to do the work (including implementing current COVID-19 protocols)?
  • Is the laboratory staffed appropriately to do the work, while also implementing any COVID-19 protocols required?
  • If needed: rotate staff, coordinate shared spaces

Perform a Pre-Task Brief with Employees/Team Members

  • Discuss the hazards and controls.
  • Ask questions.
  • Pause or stop work if any uncertainty arises (e.g., a conflict is found between the COVID-19 controls and the controls associated with the work being performed).

Communicate Regularly

  • Conduct regular meetings to discuss work activities, COVID-19 controls, and potential issues.
  • Conduct post-task review and incorporate improvements and lessons learned.

You are required to stop any activity you see which would result in imminent danger (serious injury or death). There are 4 steps for issuing a Stop Work order:

  1. State “Stop work! You are in imminent danger because…”
  2. The person receiving a stop-work order must stop work immediately, if that can be done safely, or at the first opportunity to stop safely. The person issuing a stop work order must not verbally or physically interfere, whether or not the recipient(s) of the stopwork order continues to work. Immediately contact your supervisor, safety representative, BNL Inspector or BNL Point of Contact.
  3. The person initiating a stop-work order should identify him/herself, and contact his/her supervisor
  4. After work is stopped, the worker receiving the stop-work order may not resume work until his/her supervisor grants approval.