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Health and Safety Guide




Facilities Project Managers or others who schedule maintenance or renovation projects often need to repair or maintain critical services in occupied buildings. In the course of this work, research or other activities may be disrupted in ways that pose a threat to the health and safety of the building occupants or to the individuals performing the work.

This procedure was developed jointly by the Facilities Department and Environmental Health and Safety. It is intended to formalize the steps necessary to ensure that project activities involving work on critical services are reviewed for their potential health and safety implications. Issues raised in this review process should be resolved prior to the commencement of work to enable projects to be completed in a safe and efficient manner.

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Scope and Application

This procedure should be initiated by the project manager or the Departmental Safety Manager when it first becomes apparent that a project may have potential impact on departmental operations. It applies to major maintenance, engineering, or renovation projects performed in science and engineering facilities by Facilities Department representatives or outside contractors. Minor projects of limited scope (e.g., individual fume hood maintenance or work affecting a small area within a building) can be handled using Section B13, University Support Staff Activities in Laboratories. Examples of specific circumstances where this procedure should be applied are listed below:

  • Shutdown of fume hood exhaust systems serving multiple hoods or laboratories
  • Interruptions in the supply of potable, deionized or chilled water to laboratory areas
  • Shutdown of the central vacuum system
  • Planned electrical power outages
  • Extended shutdowns of supply air to laboratory areas
  • Shutdowns of environmental or cold rooms
  • Work affecting drain lines serving laboratory areas
  • Steam systems
  • Compressed air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other laboratory gases

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  • Arrange a meeting to discuss the scope and length of the project and define building areas/activities potentially affected. and estimate the length of the project. Attendees should include Project Manager, Special Facilities Manager, Building Maintenance Supervisor, Department Manager (or other individual representing the occupying department’s interests), and EHS representatives as appropriate.
  • Evaluate potential impacts on building occupants (e.g., loss of exhaust ventilation, power, etc.) and any actions required by them to mitigate potential problems (e.g., required work stoppage, relocation of equipment, etc.). Be sure to include consideration of second order impacts (e.g., heating, cooling, cooling water supply, water, vacuum, pneumatics loss, etc.).
  • Prepare a list of equipment and systems to be shut down, valved off, etc. in proper sequence.
  • Determine if occupant equipment or material must be moved or the affected areas vacated, and develop a list of critical equipment and systems which must be kept operational during the project.
  • Determine if any asbestos-containing building materials will be disturbed and arrange for material testing through EHS or a full asbestos assessment through either the Plant Asbestos Coordinator or the Environmental Compliance Manager.
  • Determine if work will be performed by University personnel, outside contractors, or a combination of the two.
  • Determine if the work will be done during normal work hours, evenings, weekends, summer, or during semester or holiday breaks.
  • Perform a project hazard review (chemical, radiological, physical and biological) to determine the need for specific health and safety requirements or precautions (head, eye and face protection, gloves, protective clothing or footwear, surveys, decontamination procedures, confined space entry procedures, hot work, fire code permits, barriers or containment, lockout/tagout procedures, signage, etc.) for project personnel (University employees), as well as building occupants.
  • Determine if chemical or radiation exposure monitoring of University employees is indicated or if other EHS coverage is needed during the project.
  • Consult with legal counsel on the wording of a disclosure document for inclusion in the project request for proposal if contractor employees may be exposed to any potentially hazardous conditions created by University operations (e.g., chemical exposures from exhausts or contaminated ductwork).
  • Request copies of material safety data sheets for all chemical products brought on site by the contractor (to be included in the bid submission).
  • Notify Public Safety of the project schedule and any special needs (security, parking, special security for vacant buildings, etc.)
  • Arrange for building access (keys, etc.)
  • Assess the need for fire detection or suppression system shutdown or silencing and arrange this through the Alarm Shop and the University Fire Marshal.
  • Arrange for proper cleanup and/or disposal of tools, used materials, personal protective equipment (PPE), ductwork, equipment or other debris.
  • Notify in writing (through the departmental representative) all faculty or others occupying affected areas of date, time, estimated length of interruptions or loss of services.
  • Post all affected areas with a notice (preferably colored paper) containing only basic shutdown information and the names of individuals to contact for more details. For large scale operations, post building entrances, elevators, etc. as appropriate.
  • Confirm that all actions requested of occupants (e.g., removal of equipment or apparatus, closing of containers, shutdown of experiments, etc.) have been taken before commencing a shutdown by conducting a walkthrough of affected areas.
  • Execute shutdown of equipment and systems with proper lockout/tagout procedures from the previously prepared list.
  • Restore systems when the project is completed. Check out systems for proper operation after they are restored.
  • Notify Special Facilities Manager, Building Maintenance Supervisor, Department Manager, and EHS representative when the project is completed.
  • Remove all postings as soon as the work has been completed.

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Roles and Responsibilities

Project Manager

  • Recognize potential impacts on laboratory operations.
  • Arrange initial meeting with affected parties and EHS .
  • Ensure project hazard evaluation is conducted .
  • Prepare list of equipment to be shut down and systems that will be affected.
  • Obtain material safety data sheets for products brought on site by contractors.
  • Develop wording required for disclosure statement in consultation with EHS and Legal Counsel.
  • Arrange for contractor vehicle parking and special security with Public Safety.
  • Obtain keys for contractor use from the Lock Shop.
  • Conduct a final walk through with building maintenance and appropriate shops after project completion.
  • Provide written documentation on any newly installed equipment to appropriate maintenance shops.

Special Facilities Manager/Building Maintenance Supervisor

  • Assist Project Manager in preparation of list of equipment and systems to be shut down and critical systems that must be kept operational.
  • Coordinate and oversee system shutdowns by contractors or maintenance shop personnel (shutdowns may be by Special Facilities personnel in some
  • Provide equipment and system advice during shutdown to resolve occupant impact issues.
  • Coordinate and oversee restoration of systems.

Department Representative

  • Recognize potential impacts on laboratory operations.
  • Contact Project Manager to request initial meeting.
  • Act as liaison between Project Manager and affected Department.
  • Provide notifications to building occupants concerning disruptions in services and their potential impacts.
  • Ensure adequate warnings are posted in affected areas and removed promptly when work is complete.
  • Confirm that actions required of building occupants (e.g., experimental shutdowns) have been completed before work begins.


  • Assist Project Manager and department representative in performing initial project hazard review.
  • Determine the need for sampling or monitoring of work activities.
  • Perform sampling or monitoring of activities as appropriate.
  • Assist Project Manager in developing disclosure statement when needed.

Plant Asbestos Coordinator or Environmental Compliance Manager

  • Arrange for asbestos assessments by outside contractors
  • Coordinate abatement design development
  • Oversee abatement projects

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For More Information

Contact EHS at 258-5294

  • Health and Safety Guide for Project Managers
  • Copies of the Princeton University Buildings Resource Book - Your Guide to Service Provided by the Grounds and Buildings Maintenance Department and the Building Services Department are available through Grounds and Buildings Maintenance.

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