Environmental Health and Safety is extending the message of Dr. Mladin Vouk, in support of the NC State research community and including some additional details regarding EHS support during this time of critical operation exceptions.
The resources below can help with the process:
- Workplace Safety during COVID-19 at NC State
- Research Continuity website
- COVID-19 and Your Research: How to Develop a Contingency Plan
- Laboratory Emergency Planning and Closure Checklist
- Closure Checklist Customized specifically for labs (Courtesy of Chemistry Department – COS)
NC State Environmental Health and Safety staff will remain in support of those limited research activities which continue under the exception process. While most EHS staff will be similarly operating from home, Fire and Medical responders, as well as a few other key staff will be present on site. With limited Facilities support staff on site as well and community emergency personnel delegated to other community needs, use of hazardous materials and equipment should be limited and not run unattended. The following limitations and considerations must be taken into account:
Unwanted Materials (Waste)
- Starting Monday March 23, 2020, all regulated waste pick up operations will be suspended until further notice. If your area has been granted an exception to continue operations, please contact Environmental Health and Safety Environmental Affairs for assistance – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unwanted Material should be compatible with the storage container, capped when not in use, stored in secondary containment, and secured.
- All Unwanted Material must have an EHSA label attached prior to pick up.
- Labs should continue to operate under their laboratory Safety Plan and/or approved BUA.
- Unwanted Material should continue to be submitted via EHSA. However, please email email@example.com to discuss the pickup schedule and access to your area.
- Use of hazardous materials and equipment shall be limited to excepted research and not run unattended.
- Hazardous chemicals and gas purchases shall be limited to quantities necessary for approved critical operations exempted research and received directly by the researcher. See current ordering and receiving information from Procurement Services. Liquid nitrogen deliveries will be continued as necessary for stability of stored materials (cell lines, etc) for any operations with this need, whether exempted research or not.
- You are also reminded that you should not be working alone in a lab and arrange to have at least two persons available.
Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 –
- Radiation safety will not approve any new radioactive material orders until further notice, unless directly linked to COVID-19 research. Existing orders placed before this date will be processed and the PI contacted for delivery or storage options. Note all updates from couriers on shipping (FedEx).
- All radiation safety training will be available online for access via REPORTER.
- New research protocols will be delayed in review and approval and should only be submitted for consideration as it directly relates to COVID-19 research.
- Secure all radioactive materials and radiation producing devices from unauthorized access. Lock the storage areas and remove the keys from instrumentation.
- Follow submission guidelines for new, renewal, and amendment Biological Use Authorization forms as before. The IBC will continue its current meeting schedule and submission deadlines. However, IBC approval will be contingent on having a critical operations exemption granted for the work by Research Administration.
- Biosafety Cabinets (BSC) in use for critical operation exceptions may require sufficient lead time to allow for delays in scheduling recertifications due to reduced operations. During times of reduced operations, you will need to communicate with vendors and have someone available during the service.
Ergonomics When Working Remotely
Working from home?
Whether your home setup is ideal or not, there are some steps you can take to avoid discomfort and ergonomic injury.
- Neutral posture is important Proper sitting positions at workstation
- Don’t bend over your laptop for long periods.
- Connect your laptop to a second monitor or use a second keyboard and mouse, or both. It’s impossible to be ergonomically neutral with only a laptop.
- Sit up straight.
- Keep your elbows at side, keep shoulders relaxed.
- Use a decent chair. Adjustability and fit are key. Chair Criteria and Chair Adjustments
- Take frequent stretch breaks
- 10 to 30 second stretch break every 30 minutes.
- Stretch muscles that feel sore.
- Get up and walk around every hour or so.
- Sign-up for an online ergonomic self-assessment Ergonomic Evaluation Requests
- Visit the NC State Ergonomics Webpage for more information
- Additional Safety tips for working from home from NC Office of State Human Resources
- For those with younger family members at home
As a general resource for employees of NC State, visit Working@NC State for operation and service updates that may impact your research.
- For emergencies – 911 or 919-515-3000
- For direct assistance by phone please contact:
- EHS Director – 919-515-6860
- Amy Orders – 919-515-5208
- For direct assistance by email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- For online question submission – https://ehs.ncsu.edu/ask-ehs/
We will plan to reach out to you with additional information regarding safety as we continue through this difficult period.