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Biosafety Emergency Procedures

Emergency Procedures: BSL 1 Spills| BSL 2 Spills | Direct contact clothing, eyes or skin

Aerosols can be generated when biologically active material is spilled outside a biological safety cabinet; therefore prompt thorough clean-up is required. Preparedness is essential to achieve this. The laboratory director is responsible for discerning what disinfectants are most effective against the biologically active materials used in their laboratory and for ensuring that these disinfectants are readily available. Appendix II offers a brief description of disinfectants and their characteristics.

Spills of BSL - 1 Materials

  1. Clean-up of BSL-1 spills can be performed by all biology department employees including student workers.
  2. Wear disposable gloves
  3. Place paper towels soaked with disinfectant over the spill area and then put the towels in a plastic bag for disposal.
  4. Using fresh paper towels soaked with disinfectant, clean the spill area and allow to air dry. Prevent others from walking on the surface until it dries

Spills of BSL- 2 Materials

Clean-up of BSL 2 spills should be performed either by biology faculty or staff or by student workers under their immediate supervision. Personal protective equipment should be worn while cleaning up including goggles or faceshield, lab coat or disposable sleeves or smock, and might also include disposable shoe covers depending on the extent of the spill.

  1. Alert others so that they can avoid the spill.
  2. Cover the spill with paper towels.
  3. Using a freshly prepared solution of 1:10 bleach or other disinfectant known to be effective against the spilled BSL-2 material, carefully pour the chosen disinfectant around the edges of the spill and then into the spill. Avoid splashing.
  4. Allow the disinfectant or bleach to cover the spill area for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Wiping from the outside in, use paper towels to wipe up the spill. Place the paper towels in an orange biohazard bag.
  6. After the spill has been wiped up, use new paper towels soaked in disinfectant to clean the spill area. Place all paper towels in the orange biohazard bag and seal the bag. Bring the bag to NSC 229 for autoclaving.

Direct contact-clothing, skin and eyes

Direct contact with broken skin or mucous membranes with biologically active material is of serious concern. The affected area should be washed copiously with water. Use of the eyewash is required if the splash contaminated the eye. If the material was a BSL-2 organism or the eyewash was used to decontaminate an eye, Life Safety should be called to escort the victim to Health Services. An accident/injury form should be completed within 24 hours.

Contaminated clothing should be removed as soon as possible. If the contamination is from BSL-2 organisms, the clothing and skin should be decontaminated immediately with a disinfectant that effectively kills the organism without serious adverse effects to the individual. For that reason, aldehydes cannot be used as disinfectants. Hypochlorites and alcohols can cause skin irritation. Quaternary ammonium salt disinfectants are generally the best choice of disinfectants for skin or clothing and are available as surface disinfectants in laboratories. After soaking with the disinfectant, contaminated clothing should be washed in hot water as soon as possible.