Return to Work

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ASC and CBC Department Information

Most Recent Updates:

  • February 18, 2021-

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Updated Guidelines for Conducting Research in CBC During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Updated 2021-02-09

Students, faculty and staff have done a commendable job in persevering with their studies and the university’s mission under trying conditions. While broad vaccination is on the horizon, it is essential that we continue to implement best practices to ensure that we can continue with our research and studies. To that end, this document updates departmental requirements based on updated standards, and clarifies best practices to facilitate adherence to safety protocols.

These guidelines apply to all laboratory personnel (postdoctoral researchers, students, faculty, staff, and any authorized visitors such as service technicians), regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 illness.

1. Daily Health Check. A daily health check to report body temperature and health status through the Ohio State mobile app or compass.osu.edu is required for all students, faculty and staff each day they come to campus.

2. Flexible work accommodations. The department supports maximum flexibility to help our faculty, staff and student employees balance the demands of work and home life during this COVID-19 pandemic. To minimize the spread of illness, remote work options are supported whenever feasible. https://hr.osu.edu/coronavirus/working/

3. Wear a mask. Wearing a mask is the most effective means of halting the spread of COVID-19. Face masks must be worn properly (over nose, mouth and chin) everywhere on campus. The university has compiled guidance on how to respectfully encourage compliance with face mask guidelines on campus. Exceptions include (1) when in a private office with the door closed; (2) for momentary (< 30 sec) breaks to change or adjust a mask, drink a beverage, or consume a snack, while spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart; (3) when dining in a suitable space; (4) when washing one’s face in a public bathroom; or (5) when a prohibitive medical condition exists. The time duration for non-mask usage should always be as short as possible. Disposable surgical or N95 masks are required in laboratory spaces; reusable masks are permissible in all other spaces. Face shields may be used in addition to disposable surgical or N95 masks, but everyone must wear a mask.

4. Personal Safety Practices. Everyone is expected to follow the safe and healthy personal safety practices, including face masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene. High-touch surfaces (door handles, benches, hoods, desks, keyboards, equipment) should be cleaned with a suitable disinfectant (e.g., 70% ethanol or 10% bleach, and soap, as needed) before and after use.

5. Lab density. To comply with social distancing guidelines, personnel must schedule laboratory and office access times. Simultaneously-used work spaces must allow researchers to remain a minimum of 6 feet apart.

6. Use of shared spaces. Online sign-up and logs are required for all common research areas and equipment rooms. Coordinate with adjacent groups or personnel, as needed, in order to minimize cross-contamination.

7. Limiting on-site time. To facilitate social distancing requirements, and to allow other laboratory members access to the lab, personnel should limit time in the laboratory to that required for experimental work.

8. Exchanges of samples or other materials: When possible, exchanges should avoid unnecessary social contact, preserving a 6-foot or greater separation, and disinfected upon receipt.

9. Training and collaborative activities: Video conferencing is encouraged, including use of a webcam to demonstrate techniques where possible. For in-person training, the trainee and trainee should strive to remain at least 6 feet apart when possible; training periods within a 6-foot distance should be as short as possible and may not extend beyond 15 minutes within a two-hour period. Disposable surgical or N95 masks must be worn at all times (i.e., no drinking or eating) while within a 6 ft distance.

10. Reporting unsafe conditions: If unsafe behavior is observed, the following sequence of actions is recommended to address it, escalating only if the problem is not addressed: (1) respectfully ask the person to self-correct; (2) alert the PI/Director; (3) inform the local Building Coordinator; (4) alert Department Chair. For BI, BRT and RF, the building coordinator is Carol Barnes (.829). For all other CBC buildings, the building coordinators are Walter Williams (.5141) and Kevin Dill (.3). An anonymous reporting form is also available if the steps above cannot be reasonably taken.

11. Corrective actions: Disregard for these policies will not be tolerated. Researchers that refuse to abide by safety guidelines will be denied access to research laboratories and other shared spaces. Safety violations will be warned only once and expected to follow the guidelines. The seriousness of the potential health risks to others requires that the second offense by the same individual will result in immediate action.

Resources: ·

Some of you may have received the message from Senior Vice President Morley Stone in the Office of Research.  I did check the compass.osu.edu URL and the Ohio State app, and the health monitoring feature is not available today – perhaps it will be available on Monday.  If you have been invited to be in the pilot program or you are willing to submit your information on the OSU app, then go ahead and do so.  However, research team coordinators will not necessarily be able to monitor other researchers in their respective groups, so please continue to follow your SOP and to track your group’s information using your Google or MS Teams or whatever procedure that you had created for monitoring temperatures and other activities in the labs.  Thanks, Christopher

Action Steps for Re-Opening Your Labs

Here are the steps that you and your research group to be able to access your research labs in Stage 3 of the re-opening process.  Please remember that our department is trying to ensure social distancing and ensuring safety. Exercise judgment in all situations to ensure safety. There are 4 steps: 

  1. The department has developed general guidelines for the operation of our buildings and the use of your laboratory space.  Your laboratory’s standard operation procedure (SOP) outlines who are the members of your research team and how they will operate safely in your laboratory spaces. This SOP must be approved by the departmental committee and the College of Arts and Sciences.
  2. On-line training must be completed by each member of your research team
  3. Each member of your research team must complete the DocuSign procedure for the on-line attestation form.
  4. Your research laboratory must have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to operate as stipulated in your group’s SOP.

If these four (4) criteria are met, then you and your research group can access your labs as early as Wednesday, June 10, 2020. 

Be aware that some facilities, such as our Research Support Services (RSS) and our departmental shops may have later start dates. Updated information will be available at:  https://chemistry.osu.edu/inresources/safety/chem/return-work

  1. Each of your labs must have an approved standard operating procedure (SOP). All of the SOPs that were submitted as of Thursday, June 4, 2020 were approved by the Chemistry & Biochemistry re-opening committee at our meeting today, but a few faculty have to fix some minor issues.  The SOPs for the RSS and instrumentation shops were also approved by our CBC committee. 
  2. These SOPs still need to be approved by the College of Arts and Sciences, and that review is in process
  3. If your SOP discussed creating a group calendar for scheduling, then it is the responsibility of the PI and their lab coordinators to ensure that happens. The PI is responsible for the review of that calendar and ensuring that the SOP is being followed.
  4. After the SOP is approved, each member of your research team that is listed on your SOP must complete the health on-line training at:  https://go.osu.edu/returningtocampus

Each researcher in your laboratory must complete the on-line training in order to access your laboratory spaces.

Please refer to this URL as updated information will be presented there about SOPs and procedures.

  • You will need to purchase PPE for your research team. These purchasing requests should use research funds from the Office of Sponsored Programs and the vendor should be the internal eStores. When you submit your orders, please remember that PIs who normally approve of orders should be entering “Approve” in the comments field so that the accounting staff can function as a Level 1 approver – otherwise, the purchases will be delayed.

Central Purchasing has created a stock for common PPE, and for your convenience, here are some items you might be interested in purchasing.

Item Number

Description

Price ($)

81458

Earloop Face Mask ASTM Level 1 Blue 50Bx

33.00

28621

Gloves, Small, Nitrile Examination, PK 200

7.30

28622

Gloves, Medium, Nitrile Examination, PK 200

7.30

28623

Gloves, Large, Nitrile Examination, PK 200

7.30

90721

Ethyl Alcohol, Absolute USP, 200 Proof, 5gal, Ethanol

50.55

77140

Shield, Face Full Length 9.5

 

3.00

41102

Spray Bottles, 32 Oz, Plastic, No Trigger, No Logo

0.46

10609

Hand Sanitizer, 8-12 oz bottle

5.50

54890

Oxivir TB disinfectant sanitizing wipes, 160 per container

9.24

50400

Infrared Thermometer

85.00

 

The CBC Re-Opening committee reminds you of some additional information:

  • If anyone becomes ill, they should not report to work, but should quarantine themselves. The researcher should inform their PI and Prof. Claudia Turro as soon as possible.  Be aware that there could be ramifications for a building or a population if there are COVID-19 cases in our spaces.
  • Always exercise good judgement about social distancing and safety. Follow the department’s general guidelines as well as your specific SOP.
  • If you use shared spaces between multiple groups, please coordinate the usage and calendars for those spaces with your neighbors.
  • All researchers should be cautious with the disposal of masks.
  • If you intend to have any undergraduate researchers work in your laboratory space during summer 2020, please contact Prof. Turro with the approval request(s).
  • If you have questions about safety in our buildings, please contact Carol Barnes (.829) or John Herrington (.5). If you have a question about how the building’s signs and operations are functioning or have a suggestion for improvement, please contact the building coordinators: Carol Barnes (.829) for BioSci, Riffe and BRT and Walter Williams (.5141) for all of the other CBC buildings.  If you have questions about any other aspect about the re-opening of your lab, please contact Christopher Hadad (.1)

Links/Resources