FAQs for Continuity of EH&S Functions to Support Research During the COVID-19 Response

In addition to the guidance provided to research labs by the office of Research and Engagement regarding the University’s COVID-19 response, Environmental Health and Safety has prepared the following FAQ guide to answer questions about operations in EH&S that support the research community.  Please reach out to EH&S at 413-545-2682, or any of our team members, for additional questions or concerns.

Will CEMS still be delivering chemicals and lab supplies?

CEMS will be operating on a restricted basis. Please do not order hazardous materials that are not essential, and please be prepared for delays in deliveries. Following the guidance of the Office of Research and Engagement, labs are encouraged to develop plans for longer-term closures and reduced supplies (gases, cryogens, chemicals, other consumables, etc.)

Will hazardous and biohazardous waste still be collected?

Yes, please place waste pick-up requests through CEMS as usual, though please do make sure that you specify in the notes section when someone will be present in the lab to provide access to EH&S personnel.  If you plan to be away from the lab, please have all of your hazardous waste picked-up so that there is no need to inspect the area on a weekly basis.

Is there a checklist that I can use for preparations for my lab?

The Office of Research and Engagement, in conjunction with EH&S, has developed this checklist that research labs can use to guide preparations.  If you have questions about specific items, please contact EH&S at 413-545-2682.

How should I clean my lab and office?

Please see the guidance provided on the University’s COVID-19 website for cleaning labs and offices.

What if there is an emergency in the lab?

As usual, please contact the main EH&S 24/7 line at 413-545-2682 to report any health and safety issues.  Call 911 for significant injuries requiring immediate medical attention.

Are lab coats still being prepared, laundered and delivered?

Yes, for the time being, though we expect that the need for this activity will be diminished as research labs move to essential functions only per the guidance of the Office of Research and Engagement.

I need to take classroom safety training to work in the lab.  Is EH&S still providing that?

All classroom trainings have been temporarily suspended.  Lab Safety and Biosafety training can be completed online through OWL.  If you cannot access these, contact your department’s training coordinator.  If you do not know who your department’s training coordinator is or have questions about other training, please contact Kristi Ohr (kohr@umass.edu).  Safety glasses or chemical splash goggles are normally provided by EH&S to researchers as part of the classroom introductory lab safety training.  Please contact EH&S if you need eye protection.

What if I have safety questions?

As usual, please contact the main EH&S line at 413-545-2682 for any questions or concerns and one of our team members will be in touch.  You can also reach out to any of our team members individually, and they will direct your inquiry to the appropriate party.