In the previous sessions, information was provided
which indicated that while exposure to blood and other potentially
infectious material could have serious consequences, there
were procedures and practices which if followed could reduce,
perhaps even eliminate, potential exposures.
Unfortunately, history has taught us that despite
all our efforts to prevent exposure, accidents and incidents
do occur and workers have become exposed to and infected with
these blood borne pathogen.
This session that you are about to begin is a
discussion of what you should do in the unlikely event that
you become exposed to human blood or to one of the other potentially
infectious materials discussed in session I.
The Health Services Group is well prepared to
assist you in the event that you become injured or exposed
to materials that you work with.
All accidents and incidents MUST be reported
to your the supervisor as soon as possible.
Such reporting permits the monitoring of frequency
of accidents and incidents and helps in developing procedures
or methods of prevention. It also helps to determine
which types of accidents result in infection of the laboratory
worker and whether such infections are accompanied by overt
In the event of any question regarding reporting,
the Health Service and EH&S are to be consulted and a
determination made regarding the incident and initiation of
further investigation. In determining the need for reporting,
the nature of the material (agent) involved, the amount of
the spills, and the likelihood of exposure that might result
in infection are important criteria.
The procedures, activities, personnel attitudes,
and equipment that create conditions favorable for occupational
laboratory infections are similar to those that lead to the
occurrence of industrialtype accidents. The extra ingredient
is the presence of agents capable of causing human infections.
Laboratory events that might create hazards, exposures, or
accidents requiring reporting could be classified in two categories:
- Events occurring during work with human source material
or in an area that could result in physical injury, cuts,
burns, abrasions, or fractures.
- Other events occurring during the handling of human source
material other potentially infectious specimens, or transgenic
animals that could allow release of the agent to the environment
or its undesired transfer to employees, animals or cultures.
In the first category the injury site could be
contaminated with the biohazardous material in use.
In the second category, illness or unwanted crosscontamination
could occur without physical injury. Mechanisms of infection
typical of the second category are ingestion of contaminated
fluids, exposure to aerosols, and penetration of agents through
the unbroken skin.
Therefore, for the purpose of controlling biohazards,
all accidents, known exposures, and potential hazards should
be identified and reported.