Biosafety beyond the lab: National Biosafety Month 2019

 

October is National Biosafety Month, a time to focus on your lab’s biosafety practices and policies. This year, EH&S is focusing on biosafety beyond the lab. We are encouraging you to reflect and seek opportunities to strengthen your practices related to biohazards outside of the lab.

1. Transport biohazards safely

Place all biohazards for transport inside a primary container, such as a lidded tube, and then inside a leakproof secondary container, such as a Ziploc bag or plastic bin. For transport between buildings, use a UW-owned and operated vehicle such as a UW shuttle or UCAR. Refer to the Biohazard Transport Policy in Appendix C of the Biosafety Manual for more information.

2. Keep personal protective equipment (PPE) in the lab

Do not wear lab PPE in public spaces such as hallways, food areas, or elevators. If you are transporting a biohazard or biohazardous waste, you should not need gloves if it's packaged correctly. Even if your PPE is clean, do not wear it in public due to the perception is that it's contaminated. Display our No PPE Outside the Lab poster in your work area.

Certain workers need to wear PPE in public spaces to protect themselves, such as custodians, facilities services or those working with chemicals. This is acceptable because the PPE did not come from a laboratory where it may have been contaminated.

3. Follow instructions for waste packaging and disposal

Package biohazardous waste appropriately (e.g., sharps, laboratory glass and plastic). Always label your waste with the PI's name and room number. If you bring your waste to an autoclave facility, be sure to follow their specific instructions and size requirements. Never abandon biohazardous waste in a public area or loading dock. If you have questions, reach out to EH&S.

As part of your lab-specific training, everyone who works in your lab should receive training on how to transport biohazards safely, appropriate PPE practices, and how your lab handles biohazardous waste.

If you have questions or would like to consult with an EH&S biosafety officer, contact us at ehsbio@uw.edu or 206.221.7770.