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Establish a Clear Cell Phone Policy

Does your facility have an established policy that clearly specifies whether cell phones are permitted into the lab while conducting work?

Many people are constantly connected to their cell phones these days.  It can be hard to leave your cell phone behind and even harder to convince others to do so.  It may be necessary when working in labs with infectious or potentially infectious materials!  For the sake of this post, put aside the distraction-factor of having a cell phone in a lab.  Just consider the hazards that a cell phone placed on the bench in your lab space may pose, or if people will remember to remove their gloves and wash their hands prior to pulling their cell phone out of their pocket.

Allowing lab workers to bring personal items such as cell phones into labs should be carefully reviewed because they have the capability of becoming fomites.  Lab equipment and other lab supplies are decontaminated if they need to be removed from the lab, but personal items are often not.  If you have an established safety committee, this would be an excellent topic to discuss during your next meeting if you do not already have a policy in place.

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