Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Procedures

Emergency Response to Biohazard Spill

Research, Environmental Health and Safety   |   Approved May 14, 2015

Purpose

Respond to a biohazardous spill at a UMB laboratory facility including spills located in biosafety cabinets, incubators, centrifuges, or outside of biosafety cabinet.

Applicability

Employees, students, or volunteers on campus in the vicinity of a biohazard spill. 

All spills of biological material are assumed to be biohazardous. Each laboratory on campus will have a biohazard spill kit and the proper instructions as to its use.  The kits shall be readily accessible and labeled for easy identification.

Staff involved in the decontamination and disposal area of the effected spill will wear the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  Initial level PPE includes laboratory coat, eye protection, two pairs of latex or nitrile gloves, and one pair of housekeeping gloves.

Instructions

First stop all work immediately and alert others in the area. 

The location of the spill and additional factors will determine the level of PPE and spill decontamination procedure.

Spills in Biosafety Cabinets

  1. Outfit personnel in initial level PPE.
  2. Perform surface decontamination before removing any item from the biosafety cabinet.
  3. Discard any item that may have become contaminated and cannot be autoclaved.
  4. If the spill results in puddles:
    1. Place the spill control pad over liquid to absorb and control the spread of liquid.
    2. Add 1:10 dilution of household bleach, 5.25% sodium hypochlorite ("chlorox") or an appropriate disinfectant to soak the spill control pad and let it react for 15 minutes. If a drain system is involved, consult the BSC manufacturer's specific instructions regarding decontamination.
    3. Carefully remove pad, place into doubled autoclave bags.
    4. Decontaminate all exposed biosafety cabinet surfaces with an appropriate disinfectant.
    5. After a spill is decontaminated, the area shall be thoroughly cleaned with mild detergent and dried, and decontaminated again with an appropriate disinfectant. Residual contaminants can support the growth and multiplication of microorganisms that can jeopardize experimental results. (Note: Be mindful of the effects bleach has on stainless steel and be ready to follow-up with a thorough ethanol wipe to avoid corrosion.)
    6. Dispose of clean-up materials appropriately.
  5. Remove PPE and wash hands.

Spills in Incubators

  1. Outfit personnel in initial level PPE.
  2. Perform surface decontamination with an appropriate disinfectant before removing from contaminated incubator and placing in another incubator.
  3. Decontaminate water in the floor of the incubator with an appropriate disinfectant.
  4. Initiate an incubator sterilization cycle in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Remove PPE and wash hands.

Spills in Centrifuges

  1. Turn centrifuge off.
  2. Presume a contaminated aerosol has been generated.
  3. Inform all others in the area that an aerosol may have been generated. All persons shall evacuate the room immediately for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Notify the Principal Investigator and EHS by dialing 6-7055.
  5. Label the area off-limits for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Outfit personnel in initial level PPE. Depending on the material being centrifuged, a respirator may also be required.  EHS will conduct a risk assessment in determining the level of response required.
  7. To decontaminate the centrifuge:
    1. Place the spill control pad over any liquid puddle to absorb and control the spread of liquid.
    2. Add 1:10 dilution of household bleach, 5.25% sodium hypochlorite ("chlorox") or an appropriate disinfectant to soak the spill control pad and let it react for 15 minutes.
    3. Carefully remove pad, place into doubled autoclave bags.
    4. Decontaminate all exposed centrifuge and environmental surfaces with an appropriate disinfectant.
  8. After a spill is decontaminated, the area shall be thoroughly cleaned with mild detergent and dried, and decontaminated again with an appropriate disinfectant.
  9. Remove rotor and place in a BSC. To decontaminate rotor, soak it in an appropriate disinfectant, followed by mild detergent, then water rinse and dry.
  10. Remove PPE and wash hands.

Spills Outside of Biosafety Cabinets

  1. VACATE LABORATORY.  Do not panic.  Leave room immediately, do not take a breath until clear of contaminated area, and close the door.
  2. Spills in the laboratory outside a BSC or other physical containment device must be immediately reported to the Principal Investigator and EHS (6-7055) and documented. Reported and documented spills are any spills that may contain the presence of potentially infectious materials or the possibility of splashes and generation of aerosols. If spill results in exposure, fill out Employee's First Report of Injury form and follow exposure procedures.
  3. Warn others not to enter the contaminated area. Post a temporary warning sign labeling the area as off-limits.
  4. Remove and put contaminated garments into an autoclave bag-lined container for autoclaving and thoroughly wash hands and face.
  5. Wait 20 minutes to allow dissipation of aerosols by the room ventilation air changes.

Major Spill Outside of Biosafety Cabinet

  1. Presume a contaminated aerosol has been generated. The incident should be treated as a potential exposure.
  2. Inform all others in the area that an aerosol may have been generated. All persons shall evacuate the room immediately.
  3. Post 'No Entry' sign.
  4. Contact EHS for assistance (6-7055 or after hours by dialing 711 and asking the police to notify the on-call EHS staff member.)
  5. Notify the Principal Investigator
  6. Remove contaminated clothing, turn exposed area inward, and put in autoclave bag. Wash all exposed skin with disinfectant.
  7. Wait 20 minutes to allow dissipation of aerosols by the room ventilation changes.
  8. EHS will conduct a risk assessment of the space to determine appropriate PPE and clean-up procedures.

Minor Spill Outside of Biosafety Cabinet

  1. Leave room immediately, do not take a breath until clear of contaminated area, and close the door.
  2. Leave area for 20 minutes.
  3. Outfit personnel in initial level PPE.
  4. To decontaminate the area:
    1. Place the spill control pad over the spill.
    2. Add 10% household bleach or an appropriate disinfectant to soak the spill control pad and let it react for 20-30 minutes.
    3. Carefully remove pad, mop up the liquid, or soak it up with paper towels or disposable pads. Discard materials into an autoclave bag in a autoclave pan and autoclave.
    4. Wipe the area clean with appropriate disinfectant.
  5.  Remove PPE and wash hands.
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