Biosafety Incident and Accident Response
Reporting Laboratory Hazards, Exposure and Accidents
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 industrial type accidents.
The extra ingredient is the presence of biohazardous 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 biohazardous materials
or in a biohazardous area that could result in physical
injury, cuts, burns, abrasions, or fractures.
- Events occurring during the handling of biohazardous agents,
infected specimens, or 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 agent in use. In the second category
illness or unwanted cross contamination could occur without
Mechanisms of infection typical of the second category are
ingestion of contaminated fluids, exposure to aerosols, and
penetration of agents through the unbroken skin.
for the purpose of controlling biohazards, all accidents,
known exposures, and potential hazards must be identified
There are three types of emergencies:
- Disasters due to fires, floods and earthquakes
- Biohazardous spills
- Spills which involve multiple hazards
LBNL Emergency Response procedure requires that the following
sequence of activities occur:
the problem (if possible without undue risk)
off ignition sources
FROM A SECURE AREA
- GIVE NAME, PHONE NUMBER, LOCATION, TYPE OF EMERGENCY
- REMAIN NEAR PHONE TO ASSIST RESPONDERS
Exposure to Biohazardous Agents
Personnel who, in the course of duty, are accidentally exposed
to a biohazardous agent should immediately initiate emergency
decontamination, shower (if necessary), and then report without
delay to their immediate supervisor.
In the event that an injury accompanies an exposure or a substance
enters the eye, mouth, lungs, or penetrates or comes in contact
with the skin, the supervisor should direct disinfecting procedures
and see that the employee reports without delay to the appropriate
In case of doubt regarding the seriousness of exposure the
physician should determine if the risk is significant enough
to require medical attention.
If not significant, the employee should still report the exposure
to their supervisor, in writing if so requested
For your protection and that of your coworkers, your reporting
responsibility begins when involved in an incident, accident,
exposure, or you suspect that a hazardous situation exists.