Biosafety Practices and Techniques
When working in a Legionella testing laboratory or other facility that works with or handles biohazards, it’s important to have your staff trained with the best biosafety practices and techniques in the case of a hazardous event.
First and foremost, you need to make sure your staff understand what materials they work with are potentially biohazardous. They must know how to avoid exposures and what to do if they are exposed. All suspected and known exposures to potentially pathogenic microorganisms should be reported to the laboratory supervisor or director. Laboratory-acquired infections (LAIs) can be avoided by following proper biosafety practices and techniques. There are many published sources of biosafety practices and techniques which are covered in the 140-page, hyperlinked handout that accompanies this lecture in the Control of Biohazards Course. Assistance should be sought immediately after a worker is splashed or otherwise exposed to bloodborne pathogens, microbial pathogens, or hazardous chemicals. Washing the affected area with warm water is often performed before seeking medical attention.
No one wants an accident to happen in their workplace. Make sure your facility is prepared for, and knows what to do during worst-case scenarios. Laboratory workers should receive laboratory safety training at least once a year and whenever new procedures or biohazards are used.
Lastly, you’ll want to protect yourself, others, the research, and the environment while entering and exiting the facility. All employees must practice good personal hygiene by washing their hands frequently with warm water and non-antimicrobial soap. Personal protective equipment such as eye protection, gloves, gowns, or lab coats should not be worn in public areas outside of the laboratory.