Response and reporting requirements for incidents involving biohazardous materials


In the event of a spill or exposure to biohazardous materials, established response procedures and reporting requirements apply to all students and personnel of the UW. Researchers should review and share this information with laboratory personnel.

Exposure response for incidents involving biohazardous materials

  • Call 9-1-1 for any life-threatening injury.
  • Follow the steps on the Exposure Response Poster or the Spill Response Poster. Both posters must be prominently displayed in all laboratory rooms.
  • If a non-human primate exposure: Follow the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC) specific response procedures as posted in the laboratory rooms and the instructions in the B virus exposure kit for first aid washing.
  • If inside a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3 lab): Follow the specific BSL-3 exposure response and reporting requirements.

An exposure incident is defined as a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with biohazardous agents, including all recombinant or synthetic DNA or RNA (recDNA). Examples of exposure incidents include needlesticks, splash/splatter to the eyes or mucous membranes, and animal bites or scratches.

Reporting requirements and timelines

Notify EH&S immediately (after first aid/medical care) if the work-related incident involves recombinant or synthetic DNA/RNA, an exposure, or a spill. To reach EH&S during business hours, call 206.543.7262. Outside of EH&S business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, call the UW Police Department at 206.685.UWPD (8973) to reach EH&S on-call staff.

  • Any accident, injury, work-related illness, or on-the-job incident that could have caused an injury or illness must be reported to EH&S within 24 hours of the occurrence by using the Online Accident Reporting System (OARS).
  • Reporting is also required by federal, state, and funding agencies to help the University meet its compliance responsibilities.

EH&S incident investigation

OARS reports are screened and triaged by EH&S. EH&S subject matter experts review and follow-up on incidents based on the nature of the incident, follow-up actions and reporting requirements. The goal is to help prevent future incidents and to maintain safe and healthy workplaces.

More information

More detailed information is available in the UW Biosafety Manual Section 6: Emergency Preparedness and Response.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact EH&S Biological Safety at or 206.221.7770.