Biosafety basics

December 1, 2009

The risk of infection is an ever-present hazard in laboratories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although advances have been made in technology and lab procedures, infections continue to occur. Following some basic biosafety procedures can help minimize the risk of infection.

CDC outlines some standard practices for lab safety:

  • When working with infectious agents, limit or restrict lab access.
  • Biohazard warning signs listing infectious agents should be posted at all lab access doors.
  • Individuals should wash their hands after handling viable material and animals, after removing gloves, and before leaving the lab.
  • Work surfaces should be decontaminated on a daily basis and after any spills.
  • Eating, drinking, applying makeup or handling contact lenses should not be permitted in work areas.
  • All cultures, stocks and other regulated wastes should be decontaminated through an approved method such as autoclave before disposal.
  • Gloves should always be worn when workers may potentially come into contact with infectious materials or contaminated surfaces.