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The University of North Dakota has established an Institutional Biosafety Committee to address biological safety issues on campus. Questions regarding biological safety should be directed to the Office of Research and Program Development, 777-4278, or the Safety and Environmental Health Office, 777-3341.
Biohazardous materials require special safety precautions and procedures. Follow these guidelines when working with biohazardous substances:
Personal Hygiene Guidelines:
- Wash your hands thoroughly, as indicated below:
- After working with any bio-hazardous substance.
- After removing gloves, laboratory coat, and other contaminated protective clothing.
- Before eating, drinking, smoking, or applying cosmetics.
Do not touch your face when handling biohazardous substances.
- Always wear a wrap-around gown or scrub suit, gloves, and a surgical mask when working with bio-hazardous substances or infected animals.
- Wear gloves over gown cuffs.
- Never wear contact lenses around bio-hazardous substances.
- Do not wear potentially contaminated clothing outside the laboratory area.
To remove contaminated clothing, follow these steps:
- Remove booties from the back.
- Remove head covering from the peak.
- Untie gown while wearing gloves.
- Remove gloves by peeling them from the inside out.
- Remove the gown by slipping your finger under the sleeve cuff of the gown.
- Use mechanical pipetting devices.
- Minimize aerosol production.
- Add disinfectant to water baths for bio-hazardous substances.
- Use trunnion cups with screw caps for centrifuging procedures. Inspect the tubes before use.
- Labeled leak-proof containers must be used for either the disposal or storage of bio-hazardous substances.
- Use secondary leak-proof containers when transporting samples, cultures, inoculated petri dishes, and other containers of biohazardous materials.
Avoid using syringes and needles whenever possible. If a syringe is necessary, minimize your chances of exposure by following these guidelines:
- Use a needle-locking or disposable needle unit.
- Take care not to stick yourself with a used needle.
- Place used syringes into a pan of disinfectant without removing the needles.
- Do not place used syringes in pans containing pipettes or other glassware that require sorting.
- Do not recap used needles.
- Dispose of needles in an approved sharps container.
- Reference the sharps section of this manual for further information regarding the disposal of syringes.
- Keep laboratory doors shut when experiments are in progress.
- Limit access to laboratory areas when experiments involve bio-hazardous substances.
- Ensure that warning signs are posted on laboratory doors. These signs should include the universal bio-hazard symbol and the approved bio-safety level for the laboratory.
- Ensure that vacuum lines have a suitable filter trap.
- Never eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in the work area.
- Decontaminate work surfaces daily and after each spill.
- Decontaminate all potentially contaminated equipment.
- Transport contaminated materials in leak-proof containers.
- Keep miscellaneous material (i.e., books, journals, etc.) away from contaminated areas.
- Completely decontaminate equipment before having maintenance or repair work done.
Clinical and diagnostic laboratories often handle specimens without full knowledge of the material's diagnosis; these specimens may contain infectious agents. To minimize exposure, observe universal precautions such as gloves, masks, lab coats, etc., when handling any biological specimen.
Personnel required to handle specimens of known infectious agents should be immunized when vaccines are available.
For further information, contact the Safety and Environmental Health Office, 777-3341.
Clean Benches - A clean bench has horizontal laminar airflow. The air flowing towards the worker is filtered by a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This provides protection for the product, but no protection for the user. Because clean benches offer no protection, use a clean bench only to prepare sterile media. Do not use clean benches when working with pathogenic organisms, biological materials, chemicals, or radioactive materials.