Biological Safety FAQs

What is biological safety?

Biological safety is the scientific discipline devoted to the protection of individuals, agriculture and the environment from potentially harmful microorganisms and other biological agents. Biosafety is accomplished through the use of risk assessment and the application of work practices, protective equipment and exposure control.

Does lab equipment need to be decontaminated prior to disposal, repair or servicing?

Yes. Equipment must be decontaminated with a tuberculocidal disinfectant such as 10 percent bleach solution (allow at least 15 minutes contact time). A Biological Safety Equipment Notice Tag must be completed and affixed to the equipment prior to it being discarded or serviced.

NOTE: Bleach is very corrosive to most metal surfaces, including stainless steel. Equipment should be wiped down with water or 70 percent ethanol to prevent pitting of the surface after decontaminating with bleach.

Who is required to attend bloodborne pathogen training?

According to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, individuals who are exposed to bloodborne pathogens within the work place are required to attend bloodborne pathogen training. OSHA defines “occupational exposure” as reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane or parenteral contact with human blood, non-human primates or other potentially infectious material during the course of employment. Individuals who share equipment used for potentially infectious materials are classified as occupationally exposed.

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