Biological Materials Spills

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Biological Material Spill

A minor spill of a biological agent is defined as one that has occurred and is contained within the biological safety cabinet and which provides personnel protection. It is assumed that no one is contaminated by the spill. Most research conducted at UAHuntsville is classified as Biological Safety Level 1(BL 1). If a spill contains BL 2 agents or greater, or the spill is too dangerous or large to be safely cleaned up by laboratory personnel, the OPS must be contacted immediately. Biological research has many safety and regulatory guidelines that must be met. Any person partaking in biological research at UAHuntsville should be familiar with the UAHuntsville Biological Safety Manual. Contact your department chairperson or the OEHS for a printed copy of this manual.

Biological Spill Kit

Laboratories utilizing biological materials must be prepared with a biological spill kit. Typical kits are packed in a 5-gallon plastic bucket. The bucket should be clearly labeled to indicate that it is a biological spill kit. Biological spill kits can be assembled to fit specific laboratory needs although basic kits must contain the following items:

  • Concentrated household bleach
  • Spray bottle for bleach solutions
  • Face protection
  • Utility gloves and nitrile gloves
  • Paper towels or other sorbent
  • Biohazard bags
  • Forceps for handling sharps
  • Biohazard symbol labels (for use on the bucket when the cleanup is complete)

Biological Spill Procedures

Blood Spills

Blood spills with low concentrations of infectious miscroorganisms must be handled in the following manner:

  • Wear at least the minimal required laboratory personal protective equipment.
  • Absorb blood with paper towels and place in a biohazard bag.
  • Collect any broken glass with forceps and place in an appropriate broken glass collection container.
  • Clean the area with a detergent.
  • Spray the area with a 10% bleach solution and allow to air dry for 15 minutes.
  • Wipe the area with disinfectant soaked paper towels.
  • Place all contaminated items in a biohazard bag, autoclave, and dispose of according to UAHuntsville guidelines.