Getting ready to return to the laboratory? We want to help you quickly get back to the important science that you do! Consider these suggestions as you prepare for your return.


Before returning to the lab

  • Check and comply with your institutional and local requirements
  • Identify a co-worker responsible for coordinating and enforcing your new policies
  • Review and understand any required protocols for health monitoring
  • Be sure there is adequate stock of PPE available – if not, place an order (avoiding items critical for health care workers)
  • Pre-plan your day so you can work efficiently while in the lab. Consider performing any non-lab work at home (e.g., writing papers, conference calls, ordering/researching reagent/equipment purchases, etc.)
  • Stagger worktimes and shifts, including lunch time and breaks
  • Develop a floorplan that limits the number of people per space, being at least six feet (2 meters) apart, and consider 1-way corridors
  • Consider break and meeting rooms, as well as lab space
  • Develop a scheduling system and clean-up strategy for shared equipment, including freezers and refrigerators
  • Check with delivery rooms for policies on pick-up and drop-off of packages and mail – non-perishable items may need to be quarantined
  • Develop a plan for visitors, including vendors; discourage in-person visits, unless critical
  • Develop training materials and protocols for all new procedures; consider making training mandatory
  • Review and understand travel and commuting policies
  • Check in with any conferences or tradeshows you were planning to attend
  • Consider replacing live seminars or trainings with virtual events
  • Understand the accountability for non-compliance of any safety protocols


Things to consider once back in lab

  • Personal safety
    • Practice proper hygiene – wash your hands frequently
    • Practice social distancing
    • Refrain from touching your face
    • Wear protective masks and gloves
    • Launder lab coats more frequently
    • Consider adding additional hand sanitizing areas
    • Limit touching computers and phones – consider downloading myNEB®, an Alexa cloud-based voice service designed to help with basic scientific calculations and other lab information
  • Equipment and reagents
    • Be sure that equipment is calibrated and ready to use – contact manufacturer, if needed
    • Update software, as needed
    • Move frequently-used equipment to new locations to allow for social distancing
    • Take stock of reagents and pay attention to expiration dates – reorder, as needed
    • Consider a deep clean of the lab periodically
    • Contact your EHS team for disposal of any hazardous materials
    • Flush water lines out, if necessary
    • Ensure that safety devices, such as fire extinguishers, shower and eye washing stations are checked, clean and working


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If there is anything we can do to help your research, please let us know!

Is this checklist missing anything?
Contact NEB at so we can learn from each other and share best practices in today’s “new normal”.


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