EHS Coronavirus / COVID-19 Guidance and Updates


Environmental Health and Safety collaboration to help prevent spread of COVID-19

A team of EHS staff members strives to prevent coronavirus transmission within the campus community while keeping campus operating. EHS works in close partnership with the Occupational Health Program (OHP) regarding employees. OHP notifies EHS when a member of the campus community tests positive for COVID-19, providing key information that launches EHS’s process to assess if any action needs to be taken, such as whether to deep clean for disinfection or close spaces. OHP follows privacy guidelines in its reporting to EHS that allow the university to keep the workplace and co-workers safe while still protecting individual privacy as much as possible. (Download the poster “The Process for Reporting COVID-19" (PDF) for a summary of the process that occurs when an employee has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been tested for COVID-19, regardless of test results.) Read more about EHS collaborative efforts.

Personnel Guidance

Pandemic: COVID-19 and Shared Work Spaces

This standard operating procedure (SOP) outlines required hygiene methods to be used by essential personnel working around others in shared work spaces during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. These practices and procedures are intended to provide a safe working environment, promote a culture of forward-thinking risk mitigation, and to promote compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

Pandemic: COVID-19 Essential Maintenance / Utilities Guidance

This document outlines methods to be used by essential maintenance and utilities personnel working around others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Respirator Purchasing Guidance

Laboratory Operations Shut Down Requirements

If you have been instructed by UT Austin to shut down laboratory operations, the following is a list of requirements to ensure campus remains safe during your absence.

  • Empty incubators.
  • Identify essential personnel who are already trained on filling and maintaining dewars for required cell line cooling.
  • Ensure all chemical containers inside glove boxes are closed and lids secured.
  • Ensure freezers and refrigerators are closed and if needed, plugged into an emergency power (red outlet) outlet (where available).
  • Shut off all toxic, flammable, and oxidizer gas cylinders/source bottles. Ensure all cylinders are labeled with contents.
  • Completely close all fume hoods. Removal all cords, wires, tubes or other items that prevent complete closure of sash. Remove all hazardous material from fume hood and store in compatible storage cabinet.
  • Empty refrigerators/cold rooms of material that is considered perishable within the next 8 weeks.
  • Discontinue use of active running water, single pass or recirculating cooling systems.
  • Consolidate biohazard waste into as few containers as possible and place in hallway for pickup with the completed Biological Waste Disposal form taped to the top.
  • Properly shut down all equipment especially those which continuously use consumables in standby mode, unless being utilized by an exemption (example HPLC, lasers, X-ray, MRI, etc.).
  • Submit for hazardous waste pickup if your lab has greater than 55 gallons of hazardous waste, unknown chemical waste, damaged chemical bottles/lids, aqua regia, piranha solution or peroxide formers which are already expired or will expire in the next 8 weeks. Ensure containers have a completed waste tag attached to each container.
  • Hazardous waste laboratory storage must be in a compatible container, tagged/labeled properly, sealed and placed in secondary containment. If secondary containment is not available for liquid hazardous waste, submit container(s) for a hazardous waste pickup.
  • Ensure all chemical containers are labeled with contents (not with molecular structure or chemical abbreviations), closed, and lid is on secured.
  • Ensure all hazardous materials are placed in proper storage (example flammables placed inside flammable cabinets).

Campus Hazmat Users and Purchasers

*The following DOES NOT APPLY to Dell Medical School*

Due to the partial campus closure caused by the ongoing COVID-19 situation, a change is required for where specific materials are delivered. This change is directed at FedEx and UPS shipments. This change will affect all shipments of hazardous materials, including chemicals, radioactive materials, biologicals, materials that are temperature sensitive and materials that are perishable. This change does not affect bulk chemical deliveries, such as those ordered by Utilities, etc., which are not delivered by FedEx or UPS.

All of the above materials must be shipped to: 100 East 24th street, room 1.512. Austin, TX 78712

This is the address for NHB. Personnel at NHB will receive all packages. You will be contacted once the package is received at NHB, and you must send a lab or staff member to retrieve the package. Please do not go over to NHB until you have been notified that your package is ready for pick-up. Protocols will be in place in order to maintain social distancing during the package delivery and pick-up process. If the lab or staff member will be using transportation, that vehicle must be owned by UT-Austin. Transportation in public or private vehicles is against university policy. Please note that EHS personnel will retrieve all radioactive material packages from NHB, perform the required regulatory checks, and then deliver the package to the intended recipient.

This information is being communicated to appropriate Colleges, Departments, Business Officers, Purchasing groups, etc.

For the above materials, the use of any other delivery address will result in a delay in delivery and/or rejection of the shipment.

This change is taking place to help ensure that vital research materials can be delivered, received, and provided to the requestor in a timely fashion.

If you have any questions, please contact EHS at or CNS at

Back to Top
Back to Top