UMass Lowell (UML) Facilities Guidance

This page is designed to help UML facilities.

AccessAccessing or disrupting a space

On campus, a space may be a lab, or may be a utility room that houses hazardous materials. For labs, only the laboratory Principal Investigator (PI) or designated lab staff can act as your guide within a space. While campus first responders may have 24/7 access, this type of entry is only for life-saving or regulatory activities. It is also important to note that a Lab owner (Principal Investigator, PI) may also have crucial research that may be ruined by an unauthorized entry, in some cases something as simple as just turning on lights for nocturnal studies can have costly consequences.   EHS, Police, and certain Facilities first responders should not use, or be asked to use, their access to enter a space unless for lifesaving or first responder purposes.

  • Entering a Lab: All labs with a red card are not to be entered without approval from the lab PI, as they alone can speak to the active nature of their research. If you need access when lab staff may not be around, only the PI can provide you access, granted through keys or UCard, Access and Parking Services (UCAPS)
  • Utilities effecting Labs: Even altering power, HVAC, plumbing, etc. within a space can have safety or research consequences thus the PI (responsible party) must be included for any outages effecting their space.  

Finding the person responsible for a space

How to look up the responsible party and associated risks for a location (Lab) :

  • If a risk card is posted on the door, the QR code on the risk card can allow one to see the owners of said space as well as any potential hazards within the space. If not onsite, one can lookup the ownership of spaces through our Lab Risk Card lookup tool. If you don’t already have access contact by email:
  • If no risk card is posted on the door, It may not be a lab and/or EHS has no involvement in the space, thus ownership must be sought through the department (supervisor, chair, etc.).


All facilities workers must complete the radiation safety awareness training module prior to entry into a radiation controlled space (any lab with the “Radiation” section of the risk card filled in). This awareness training is required of any workers (external to UML as well) that will enter this space, unaccompanied by a lab representative (PI approval will still need to be given).

When does a project need RadSafety Involvement?

This section is designed to provide guidance to facilities planners and project managers working on projects, to have information to provide to external planners for construction as well as help determine if Radiation Safety needs involvement in the design of new lab or renovations of an existing lab.

If the Principal Investigator is using, or space will house, the following items:

Radiological Source:

When radioisotopes are to be used in a space, the radiation safety office must ensure the space can secure the source, adequately shield the source and public, restrict releases, licensing requirements are met, etc. The Radiation Safety Office will need to be involved in the entire design process for radioactive source uses. Examples include C-14, H-3, I-125/I-131, P-32, S-35, Gamma irradiator.

Electronic Radiation Generator:

We will need to verify wall or equipment shielding is sufficient, entryway controls in place, public dose rates are below limits, etc. Radiation Safety will be involved in the design phase. Get guidance on Analytical x-ray machines and X-ray use.

  • X-ray machine such as CT scanner, X-ray imaging, etc.,
  • Accelerator: Machine used to accelerate particles, usually requires shielded walls and active Radiation Safety involvement.
  • Analytical X-ray machine (XRF, XRD): no beam escapes, we don’t need to be involved in design unless the system will run with manufacturer shielding removed.
  • Electron microscope: no beam escapes, we don’t need to be involved unless the system will run out of the chamber.

Equipment with Embedded radioactive source:

We will need to inventory the items and track their use but not be part of the lab design phase unless the units are to be run without their enclosures.

  • Static eliminators
  • Gas chromatograph
  • Detector: LSC, fission chambers, etc.
  • Some X-ray fluorescence (XRF) devices: portable lead paint analyzer, etc.


We need to inventory and track all class 3B and class 4 lasers but some may be embedded within manufactured laser enclosures and reclassified (class 1 or class 2 lasers).

  • Cutter, Etcher, Marking laser: We will need to inventory the items and track their use but not be part of the lab design phase unless the units are run without their enclosures. These devices still can release airborne hazards as part of the cutting process thus manufacturer recommended airflow must be ensured. Get guidance document for laser cutters.
  • Class 3B + 4 lasers (>5 mW): Lasers with power greater that 5mW that are not enclosed by a manufacturers class 1 enclosure will need to be tracked and Radiation Safety will have to approve the lab design and laser usage. Get guidance document and policies for laser labs.

Radiofrequency (RF) Source:

RF sources can produce localized heating but many lab uses are fully contained and pose no harm if operated as per manufacturers specifications. Read the RadioFrequency guidance and campus policy.

  • Transmitter (cell, weather, radio, etc.) will need a RF site assessment plan from Installer.
  • Microwave generator (excluding microwave ovens) will need to be contained or in a shielded room
  • Thermal generator (Heat sealing/packaging) will need to be contained or in a shielded room


Magnets can attract ferrous objects and de-energize pacemakers. Labs with large magnets (>5 Gauss) will need a pacemaker warning, non-ferrous fixtures and construction, and a ferrous free space. See the Magnetic field guidance document and campus policy.

Examples include:

  • Electromagnets
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

UltraViolet (UV):

UV systems are typically enclosed devices. If open UV systems are to be used in a space, these systems are reviewed and guidance is given to the users but not tracked by Radiation Safety. Get guidance on Ultraviolet systems.

  • UV Sealer
  • UV Curer
  • UV Sanitizer