Biological Spills

All spills must be reported to your PI as soon as possible

Spill in the Lab:

1. Alert co-workers

2. In case of aerosols, hold your breath and quickly leave the lab. Close the door and post a warning sign. Allow aerosols to settle for at least 30 minutes.

3. Remove any contaminated clothing

4. Thoroughly wash exposed skin

5. Put on appropriate PPE

6. Cover the spill area with paper towels or absorbent material

7. Pour disinfectant from the outside toward the centre of the spill. Allow the disinfectant to act for 20-30 minutes. If using bleach, mix FRESH dilution to give required % of sodium hypochlorite – usually 1%

8. Remove glass with forceps or scoop

9. Remove towels & mop up

10. Clean again with soap/water or alcohol

11. Wipe down adjacent areas with disinfectant

12. Properly dispose of materials in biohazard containers (mark containers “spill cleanup – contains {name of disinfectant}”

13. Wash your hands

14. For larger spills or questions, contact OEHS

Spill in public area:

1. Secure the area – this means having a person guard the area so that no one walks thru the spill.

2. Follow the procedures for dealing with spills in the lab except the spill must be cleaned up immediately – you cannot wait for aerosols to settle in public areas.

3. Report the spill – if you need help contact the OEHS.

Spill within a centrifuge:

1. Leave lid closed and allow aerosols to settle for at least 1 hour (ensure centrifuge is off, affix a sign)

2. Move to BSC if possible

3. Disinfect the centrifuge, rotors and buckets in an appropriate disinfectant; allow at least 20 to 30 min of contact time. Wipe down all parts including the lid.

4. Rinse with water if bleach was used

Spill within a BSC:

1) BSC must be on to contain aerosols

2) If spill is on a work surface, cover spilled material with a disinfectant-soaked diaper or towel and let sit for 20-30 minutes contact, then remove and dispose as biohazardous waste

3) Wipe down the interior of the cabinet & any splatter on items within the cabinet with a disinfectant-soaked towel

4) If the cabinet has a catch basin beneath the work surface & the spill resulted in liquids flowing into this area, more extensive decontamination is required. a) Ensure the drain valve under the cabinet is closed. b) Pour disinfectant onto the work surface & through the front and rear grills into the drain pan. Allow 20-30 minutes contact time. c) Absorb spilled fluid-disinfectant from work surface with paper towels & discard in biohazard bag. d) Empty drain pan. Open the drain valve & empty the drain pan into the collection vessel containing disinfectant. Flush the drain pan with water & remove the flexible tubing. Manage contaminated materials as if they are infectious.

5) Run BSC at least 10 minutes after cleanup, before resuming activity in the cabinet.

Blood spill:

All blood must be considered bio hazardous not just that which is known to be infected with a pathogen.

1. Wear your PPE.

2. Never use your hands to pick up broken glass or debris – use forceps, scoop etc. Discard all sharps into a puncture resistant sharps container.

3. Organic material reduces the effectiveness of some disinfectants, such as sodium hypochlorite, so may need to remove bulk of spill before can effectively decontaminate rest of the spill area chemically. Soak up the blood with absorbent material and dispose of in biohazard waste container.

4. After removing the bulk of the spill, disinfect the area. Allow the disinfectant enough contact time to neutralize biohazardous material – at least 30 minutes. Make sure to use a disinfectant effective against blood-borne pathogens.

5. Dispose of all cleanup material in biohazardous waste containers marked “ spill cleanup – contains {name of disinfectant}”

6. Apply disinfectant to the spill and adjacent areas a final time, allowing to set for 10 minutes or air dry.



Last updated March 2014