Archive for: Lab Safety

How do you store, manage, and access your MSDS?

By: November 14th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Many workplaces are going paperless with their MSDS, storing them as PDFs or relying on fax-on-demand services. Others are sticking with paper, or are using a combination of electronic and paper files. How does your facility acquire, store, and manage access to your MSDS?

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CDC proposes safer work practices in medical labs

By: January 9th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Experts convened by the CDC have produced guidelines that reinforce a common-sense approach to biosafety in day-to-day laboratory activities.

A supplement to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 6, “Guidelines for Safe Work Practices in Human and Animal Medical Diagnostic Laboratories” address safe work practices in human and animal diagnostic laboratory, including microbiology, chemistry, hematology, and pathology with autopsy and necropsy guidance.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are approximately 500,000 human and animal diagnostic lab workers, and that “any of these workers who have chronic medical conditions or receive immunosuppressive therapy would be at increased risk for a laboratory-acquired infection (LAI) after a laboratory exposure.” But post exposure infection risks are unknown because of the difficulty in determining the source or mode of transmission and non national surveillance system is available.

Bacteria account for more than 40% of laboratory-acquired infection (LAI), with more than 37 species “as etiologic agents,” says the report, but other microbes also present risks. For example, “Hepatitis B has been the most frequent laboratory-acquired viral infection, with a rate of 3.5–4.6 cases per 1000 workers, which is two to four times that of the general population,” according to the report. “Any laboratorian who collects or handles tubes of blood is vulnerable,” it adds.

Also, LAI surveys have found that laboratory staff “were three to nine times more likely than the general population to become infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.”

OSHA posts guidance document for laboratory safety

By: October 14th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA has added new educational resources, including Laboratory Safety Guidance, for protecting workers from hazards found in laboratories to its Laboratory safety web page, according to an agency announcement, October 13.

The Guidance document, describes how chemical, biological, electrical, fire, explosive, and slip, trip and fall hazards, can be minimized or eliminated through safety plans, worker training, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment.

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Lab accreditor changes CJD-related guidelines

By: 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

By: 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

By: 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

By: 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

By: 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

By: 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

By: 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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CDC sets guidelines for lab competencies

By: April 18th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories issued Guidelines for Biosafety Laboratory Competency on April 15.

The guidelines identify the essential skills, knowledge, and abilities required for working with biologic agents at the three highest biosafety levels, 2, 3, and 4. The guidelines also address tiered competencies based on three levels of worker experience: entry level, midlevel (experienced), and senior level (supervisory or managerial positions), according to the document’s summary.

The guidelines are intended for lab staff working “with hazardous biologic agents, obtained from either samples or specimens that are maintained and manipulated in clinical, environmental, public health, academic, and research laboratories,” according the guidelines.

The guidelines identify competencies based on four skill domains: potential hazards, hazard controls, administrative controls, and emergency response and preparedness, and categorized by levels of experience. See Appendix B.

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

By: 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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