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Dr Richard W Gilpin’s Blog

Biosafety at a Philadelphia Medical School - 1981

Biosafety practices in the laboratory manual for the medical school medical microbiology and immunology course that I directed at one of the five Philadelphia medical schools. At that time, 120 medical students and some graduate students worked in 6 wet microbiology laboratory modules that ran 4 hours per week during the fall semester. Students performed 28 exercises with bacteria, fungi, blood, and serum.

Biosafety Practices:

  • Keep pencils, fingers and other objects out of your mouth. Smoking is not permitted. Do not eat or or drink in the laboratory.

  • Laboratory coats must be worn and must be kept clean.

  • Avoid contaminating the table top, the floor, and the wastebaskets. Wipe the table top with 2% amphyl before and after each laboratory period. Keep the table top free of all articles not actually in use. Do not pipette by mouth. Many bacteria handled in this laboratory are human pathogens. Use rubber pipetting bulbs at all times.

  • Cover open cuts or broken skin with a band-aid. If you have a deep cut, or have recently had surgery on your hand, please notify your instructor before handling cultures.

  • Turn off gas burners when they are not in use. Keep long hair, cotton plugs,, alcohol and other flammable articles or chemicals away from flames.

  • Cooling a hot wire loop by plunging it into a culture will create a microbial aerosol. The preferred procedure is to hold hot loop still in air for several seconds (count to 10).

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the laboratory.

  • If infectious material is spilled, cover it with amphyl and notify your instructor. Do not, under any circumstances, pick up pieces of broken, contaminated glass.

Disposal of Contaminated Waste:

Special receptacles are provided for contaminated or infectious material. USE THEM. Do not let experimental materials accumulate on the table top or in the incubator, refrigerator, or locker. As soon as you have completed the experiment, discard IN THE APPROPRIATE CONTAINER:

AUTOCLAVE BAG: Each module will be given an autoclave bag at the beginning of the lab period. Contaminated materials should be discarded into these bags (located in yellow waste cans). These include:

  • petri dishes

  • all tubed media (be sure to loosen screw caps)

  • used microscope slides

  • disposable pipettes, Pasteur pipettes, gloves

2% AMPHYL: each module will have a plastic pan half filled with 2% amphyl near the sink. Contaminated material that will be washed or re-used after autoclaving must be discarded in these pans. These include:

  • test tubes with colored caps

  • glass flasks or beakers