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M/1998/1.06 Appendix 3

Guidelines for occupational safety

  • Every employee must make his or her personal contribution to improving safety.
  • All employees share responsibility for safety wherever they work within the collection. They are obligated to adhere strictly to regulations and instructions.
  • Employees handling microorganisms must follow the Principles of Good Laboratory Practice.
  • All accident risks must be carefully monitored and controlled through appropriate steps.


Principles of Good Laboratory Practice

General principles:

  • Laboratory doors and windows must be kept closed when work is in progress.

. Eating, drinking, smoking, storing food and applying cosmetics is not allowed in the working areas. Labels must not be licked. Materials must not be placed in the mouth.

Protective laboratory clothing must be worn for work in the laboratory.

Pipetting must not be carried out with the mouth. Pipetting aids must be used.

The use of syringes and hypodermic needles should be restricted to the work with anaerobic microorganisms.

All technical procedures should be performed in a way that minimizes the formation of aerosols and droplets.

After finishing work, and before leaving the laboratory, the hands must be thoroughly washed. If infectious materials have been handled, hands should be disinfected.

Working areas must be kept clean and tidy. Only apparatus and material which is actually needed should be on the tables or benches. Stocks and unneeded equipment must be stored in specially allocated areas or cupboards.

The identity (authenticity) of the biological agents used should be checked in regularly intervals.

Before starting work with biological materials, employees must receive verbal instructions on safety aspects. The instruction should be repeated at least once a year.

Employees untrained in microbiology must be particularly comprehensive ly instructed and carefully guided and supervised.

If necessary, an arthropod and rodent control programme should be available.

For work with pathogens, the following guidelines should be also observed:

Work surfaces must be decontaminated at the end of the working day. When necessary, the disinfectant should be alternated with others to prevent the selection of resistant organisms.

Protective laboratory clothing should not be worn in non-laboratory areas. It should not be stored in the same lockers or cupboards as street clothing.

All contaminated materials must be decontaminated before cleaning for reuse.

All infected waste must be safely collected and decontaminated before disposal by disinfection or autoclaving.

After any spill of potentially dangerous material the contaminated area must be isolated and disinfected immediately.

If work is carried out with pathogenic organisms with cause disease in man and a vaccine is available, all employees must be immunised when immunity is not already present. The immunity must be tested regularly in a suitable manner.

The health of the employees must be regularly checked, i.e. health surveillance examinations must be carried out before the occupation is started and yearly thereafter. For occupational health surveillance, generally accepted guidelines exists.

Instructions for first aid treatment following accidents with pathogenic microorganisms and virus es must be immediately available in the working area. All accidents must be reported immediately to the supervisor in charge.

Further safety precautions can be implemented independent of the hazard potential:

The use of clean work benches (air flow directed away from the operator) classes I and II (type tested) or class III.

The restriction or control of admittance to certain working areas.

The use of special protective clothing and respirators.

Disinfection of all materials contaminated with pathogens before they are removed from the place of work.

Maintenance of a slight negative atmospheric pressure difference in the working area.

Reduction of air-borne microorganisms in the exhaust air using suitable measures e.g. HEPA filters.

For handling biological agents pathogenic to man and animals, the following additional rules must be observed:

In order to work with biological agents pathogenic to man, permission must be granted in accordance with the Contageous Diseases Act.

In order to work with biological agents pathogenic to animals, permission must be granted in accordance with the Contageous Diseases of Animals Act and the Animal Pathogens Regulations.

Pregnant women and mothers breast-feeding their children must not come into contact with pathogenic biological agents or materials carrying these agents.


Guidelines prepared for CABRI by DSMZ in cooperation with NCCB and NCIMB
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Copyright CABRI, 2004 

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