October is National Biosafety Month – Sharps Safety and Exposure Response Focus

 

During National Biosafety Month, you are encouraged to focus attention on biosafety policies, practices and procedures. Investigators and laboratory managers should raise biosafety awareness, discuss the importance of safety, and seek input on ways to strengthen biosafety practices and procedures in their labs. This year, EH&S is focusing on sharps safety in research and exposure response.

Sharps Safety in Research

EH&S would like to raise awareness about how to safely work with needles and other sharps to prevent injuries and exposures. We have a new Sharps Safety in Research focus sheet for anyone who uses sharps or sharp items as a part of their research. To stay safe when working with sharps in research:

  • Plan and Prepare – Consider if there are alternatives to using sharps for your procedure. Educate yourself on the risks, get properly trained on procedures and the specific sharps you will use, and know how to properly dispose of sharps immediately after use.
  • Follow Safe Procedures and Stay Aware – Use extreme caution and awareness at all times when handling needles or syringes. Do not recap or bend needles, avoid rushing or working when tired. Best practices are detailed in the Sharps Safety in Research PDF.
  • Exposure Response – Know how to respond if an exposure, needlestick, or other injury does occur. Always follow the procedures on the Exposure Response Poster.

New Exposure Response Poster

EH&S has a new and improved Exposure Response Poster. This poster tells you exactly what to do if you are exposed to a chemical, biological, or radiological agent. In the event of an exposure, there are three steps to take:Exposure Response Poster thumbnail

1. Perform first aid immediately.

2. Call for medical help.

3. Report the incident to EH&S so that we can work to prevent future accidents.

Download the new poster, print in color, and hang in your laboratory or facility. Remove any old versions of the poster. For any questions about biosafety including sharps safety and exposure response, contact EH&S Research and Occupational Safety at ehsbio@uw.edu or 206.221.7770.