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Biological Material Spill Clean-up Procedures

Protect Yourself

  • Avoid direct contact with the spilled material.
  • If you clean the spill yourself, treat all blood and blood products as if they are infectious material.
  • Wear a laboratory coat or other protective clothing, eye or face protection and protective gloves.
  • Large spills may require assistance from Environmental Safety personnel (656-5400).

Contain the Spill and Secure the Area

  • Cordon off the spill area.
  • Do not walk through, or allow others to walk through, the spilled material.

Composition of a Basic Biological Spill Kit

Microbiological and biomedical research laboratories should prepare and maintain a biological spill kit. A basic spill kit should include:

  • Bleach or disinfectant solution
  • A mechanical device (e.g forceps) for handling sharps
  • Paper towels or other suitable absorbent
  • Biohazard autoclave bags for the collection of contaminated spill clean-up items
  • Labcoat and gloves
  • Face protection (eye wear and mask, or full face shield)
  • Disinfect the Spilled Material

    • Cover the spill area with paper towels and leave the towels there.
    • Pour a disinfectant onto the towels (this should be a freshly made 10% household bleach solution or a hospital grade disinfectant).
    • Avoid splashes of the disinfectant as you pour.
    • Allow the disinfectant to sit for 20 minutes.

    Clean Up the Spill Debris

    • Sweep up materials and place into plastic, biohazard bags.
    • Picking material up with your hands increases the likelihood of tearing your gloves, puncturing your skin or exposing yourself to the material. Use forceps or other tools to pick up the spill material.

    Dispose of the Material

    • Disposable gloves and other protective equipment should be placed in biohazard bags for disposal.
    • Contaminated clothing should be placed into bags that are labeled as biohazardous and laundered separately.
    • Call Environmental Safety (656-5400) to dispose of bags.

    Clean Yourself Up

    • Wash hands thoroughly, even if there is no visible contamination.
    • Clean up equipment that was used with a disinfectant and water.
    • Wash your hands again.

    (Adapted from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Office of Laboratory Safety.)

    Last Updated: October 12, 2006