Environmental, Health and Safety Services

ACCESS TO / PRESENCE IN RESEARCH LABORATORIES FOR NON-LAB PERSONNEL (VISITORS, SERVICE PROVIDERS)

University Biosafety Manual, Section 3.7, 3.8

Visitors

  • Visitor access will be determined by the PI. (Links to Virginia Tech Policies regarding volunteers and minors are provided on the Biosafety Homepage.)
  • Prior to entry into the laboratory, all visitors must be informed of:
    • Basic emergency evacuation procedures.
    • Health hazards specific to the work occurring in the lab, as well as specific safety practices for avoiding those hazards. They must be told to avoid physical contact with all research equipment, material and working surfaces, unless invited and/or approved to do otherwise by authorized personnel, who will provide appropriate supervision.
  • Infrequent visitors (i.e., those who enter the area less than once/month) must be made aware of the above items upon each visit.
  • Frequent visitors (i.e., those who enter the area at least once/ month) can be informed initially, and updated as needed if conditions change in the lab.
    • If visitors' time spent in the lab will exceed a short stay, they will be:
    • Shown the emergency exit route from laboratory
    • Given a review of the Emergency Procedures list posted in the lab
    • Shown the locations and proper use of emergency eyewash & shower
    • Shown the locations of the nearest fire alarm and extinguisher
  • To minimize possible liability issues, it is highly recommended that documentation be kept which would record dates/times of these visits, and verify visitors' receipt of lab hazard and emergency response information (i.e., a visitor sign-in/ sign-out/ receipt-of-training log).

Housekeeping

  • Presence of housekeepers in the laboratory should be kept to a minimum.
  • PIs must coordinate with housekeeping supervisors to schedule housekeeping services that will be provided for the lab, and the frequency of service. Custodians/ housekeepers can be responsible for:
    • Emptying regular household trash
    • Regular sweeping and mopping of floors
  • PIs or their designees are responsible for informing housekeeping supervisors of any safety awareness issues for housekeepers entering their labs and performing their duties.

Service Providers (Facilities workers, movers, repair technicians, etc.)

  • When repairs or other work needs to be done in the lab by service providers:
    • Lab hazards must be secured in the service providers' work area.
    • The area should be cleared, cleaned and decontaminated (if applicable) by the date that the work is to be done.
    • The PI or designee will ensure that one or both of the following measures is provided:
      • Post a 'Clearance for Lab Access' form on main lab entry, indicating that preparations have been made for workers' safety, and documenting any hazards present about which they need to be informed.
      • Ensure that a responsible person from the lab will serve as escort for service worker entry into the lab, and convey pertinent hazard information to workers.
  • To minimize possible liability issues, it is highly recommended that documentation be kept which would record dates/times of receipt, and a brief description of any lab-specific hazard awareness training provided to housekeeping and service personnel.