Author Archive for: Terry Jo Gile

Lab accreditor changes CJD-related guidelines

July 29th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

I want to make readers aware of a change involving labs and the safe handling of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens when Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD) is suspected.

CJD is a fatal and degenerative brain disease and because CJD prions resist routine sterilization and decontamination procedures, the Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP) of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) requires special handling procedures for autopsies in suspect cases of CJD.

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Safe lab work practices: Cosmetics and personal property

June 3rd, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

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Sources of chemical hygiene regulations

May 27th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

OSHA: Establishing a plan

You can find OSHA’s final rule for occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories at 29 CFR 1910.1450. It requires each lab to prepare a written chemical hygiene plan and update it at least annually. The rule also mandates environmental monitoring if chemical exposure exceeds the permissible exposure limits (PEL) for any chemical used in the laboratory. It requires lab managers to keep employees well informed and trained on how to handle chemicals in their work area. Employees must receive training at the time of their initial assignment to a work area where hazardous chemicals are present. Training and ongoing reminders must ensure that all employees understand the hazards associated with working with these chemicals and how to protect themselves through the use of engineering controls, work practice controls, and proper personal protective equipment (PPE). For an overview of PPE used in labs and a table showing what PPE is required for key lab tasks, see Chapter 4 in Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety – Third Edition published by HCPro. Lab management must maintain an up-to-date chemical inventory, as explained later in this chapter, and have a material safety data sheet (MSDS) on hand for reference for each hazardous chemical stored and used at the facility. For more details on what each MSDS contains and how to obtain them from chemical manufacturers, see Chapter 7.

The standard also

  • mandates a medical examination when an employee is overexposed to a chemical
  • dictates requirements for proper labeling
  • imposes recordkeeping duties to document completion of training, to update the lab’s chemical inventory, and to record information about accidents or injuries

Overview of OSHA bloodborne pathogen rule

May 20th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

OSHA published its Bloodborne Pathogen Standard December 6, 1991, setting rules for minimizing occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. The risk of exposure from this type of material is common to all laboratories, although different tasks present a wide range of risks. Therefore, instruct staff to assume that all specimens are potentially infectious and are to be handled accordingly. It is also good practice to have a printed copy of the standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) available in the lab for reference and to require new employees to read it carefully as part of their initial training. There are several routes of infection that need to be considered.

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Safe work practices for the autopsy suite

May 13th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Consider all autopsies infectious, and follow standard Standard Precautions. Designate the autopsy suite a biohazard area, and post appropriate signs regarding biohazards and required precautions.

PPE is essential during an autopsy. Use caps or hoods that completely cover the hair. A face shield is preferred; however, safety goggles with a cushion seal and a personal respirator are acceptable. Do not use safety glasses or ordinary prescription glasses alone because they do not offer adequate protection. Do not manipulate contact lenses in the autopsy room.

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Special Safety Requirements for Anatomic Pathology Laboratories: AP equipment

May 6th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Ventilation

When designing an AP laboratory or autopsy suite, ventilation is one of the biggest considerations. Most AP laboratories are set apart from the clinical laboratory, located near surgical suites to facilitate preparation of requested frozen sections. Regardless of the location, the gross room and frozen section areas of AP laboratories and autopsy suites may need an air exchange of up to 16 times per hour due to the high concentration of chemicals used.

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Fire Safety (Part III): Keeping staff informed

April 21st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Although not common in laboratories, fire risks do exist within a laboratory’s walls. Fires can occur due to electrical malfunctions, hot surfaces, compressed gases, and flammable chemicals. Proper maintenance and continuing surveillance of the laboratory through a safety program can reduce these hazards. A complete and balanced approach to fire prevention and rapid response addresses the following topics:

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Fire Safety (Part II): Quick guide to fire protection systems

April 7th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Several fire protection systems are on the market today, which include the following:

  • Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide gives fast, safe, and effective protection for fires involving electrical equipment and flammable liquids. They are generally suited for use indoors, making them ideal for office environments. They are highly effective, easy to use, and eave no messy residue to clean up. CO2 extinguishers are suitable for Class B and C fires.
  • FE-36 agent. The FE-36 agent is effective on fires because it discharges as a liquid and provides a discharge range up to 16 feet. FE-36 replaces Halon 1211 as the agent of choice for applications where the agent must be clean, electrically nonconductive, environment-friendly, extremely low in toxicity, and exceptionally effective. FE-36 can be used on Class A, B, or C fires.
  • Haltron 1. Haltron 1 is a Halon alternative that has Environmental Protection Agency approval and comes in a portable extinguisher. It is ideal for protecting office computer areas, data storage, telecommunications, and high-tech clean rooms. Halotron 1 can be used on Class A, B, or C fires.
  • Multipurpose dry chemical. Multipurpose dry chemical is an extremely versatile agent since it will defend against the majority of fire risks found in a variety of environments. It is also the most economical multipurpose agent available. It can be used on Class A, B, or C fires.
  • Purple K dry chemical. Purple K dry chemical is designed for use on high-hazard fires. It is ideal for use in industrial and commercial environments where there is a risk for flammable liquid. It can be used on Class B or C fires.
  • Water. High-pressure water is best suited for fired that involve trash, wood, or paper. Water is especially effective on fires that must be completely soaks to be fully extinguished. Water is used on Class A fires only.
  • Class D dry powder fire extinguisher. A class D dry powder fire extinguisher is used on metal fires. It is used on Class D fires only.
  • Wet Chemical extinguishers are used for Class K fires only.

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Fire safety (Part I): Before you extinguish, classify

March 24th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 10, fires are classified into five types based on the material burning. Different types of extinguishers are used for different types of fires:

Class A fires involve ordinary solid combustible materials such as paper, wood, or cloth. Extinguish Class A fires with water or an all-purpose dry chemical extinguisher. Class A fires may smolder for a long time, so it is important to drown them thoroughly.

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Designing an all-new laboratory for safety

March 17th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Considering safety requirements in laboratory design is much easier in new construction than when retrofitting existing facilities.

Communication is the key among the project team. The use of electronic communication between meetings can be an asset. Create a master e-mail list to be sure that everyone (e.g., hospital), then make sure there are lab representatives on the planning committee as soon as possible. Often the laboratory is overlooked or an afterthought and work can be done incorrectly that will have to be fixed later. The more buy-in staff have in planning and design, the easier the chances will be to implement, even if some staff members do not agree with the decisions. Who better than frontline staff to tell you what can and cannot work?

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My, you’re radiating!

March 10th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

If an accident should occur and radioactive material is spilled, follow these steps:

  1. Notify all persons in the area that a spill has occurred.
  2. Contain the spill. Cover the spill with absorbent paper to prevent spreading.
  3. Report the incident to the RSO.

When an accident involving radioactive materials occurs, address the greatest hazard first. Lifesaving measures always take precedence over decontamination or other concerns. Advise personnel working nearby of any hazard or accident as soon as possible and prevent them from entering the hazardous area.

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Your written fire safety plan: It’s important

March 3rd, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

A comprehensive fire protection plan is the first line of defense against fire. If the lab is within a larger facility such as a hospital or university setting, the lab will follow the facility’s fire plan. Supervisors should ensure that all their personnel are familiar with the fire plan and should review it with all staff annually. Your fire safety plan should include the following elements:

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