Personnel who, in the course of their work are
accidentally exposed to BBP's, should immediately initiate
emergency decontamination, shower (if necessary), and then
report without delay to their immediate supervisor.
In the event that an injury accompanies an exposure or a substance
enters the eye, mouth, lungs, or penetrates or comes in contact
with the skin, the supervisor should direct disinfecting procedures
and see that the employee reports without delay to the appropriate
medical authority. In case of doubt regarding the seriousness
of exposure the physician should determine if the risk is
significant enough to require medical attention. If
not significant, the employee should still report the exposure
to their supervisor, in writing if so requested.
For the protection of each individual and their
coworkers reporting responsibility begins with any individual
involved in an accident, exposure, or suspected hazardous
situation. The action taken may vary with the laboratory
unit, but in general the individual should report as soon
as practical to the supervisor in order to begin the reporting
Principal Investigator/Supervisor Responsibility
It is the responsibility of the laboratory supervisor
to develop an emergency plan which covers contingencies which
may arise in the event of an accidental exposure. If
the experiment involves an unusually virulent or uncommon
pathogen then the Principal Investigator should consult with
EH&S. It may be advisable to have copies of the exposure
treatment protocol on hand in order to bring to the health
Service. The supervisor shall insure that all laboratory
personnel are aware of this physician and the procedure for
contacting the physician. This information shall also
be on file with EH&S.
In the event of an exposure to human source, the
supervisor or employee is to immediately contact the Health
Services Occupational Health Physician. The physician
will determine if the exposure is of sufficient risk to require
medical treatment. If medical attention is required,
the arrangements for treatment will include an assessment
of risk to fellow workers assisting the patient and the precautions
required to prevent the exposure of other persons encountered
on the route to the Health Services.
Requirements for Reporting
As outlined above, all accidents, exposures, and
potential hazards should be reported. Under normal circumstances
such reports are made on the supervisor accident analysis
report (SAAR) form. In severe emergencies, telephone
communications must be used to secure immediate medical care,
decontaminating procedures, or facility repair.
Investigation of Laboratory Accidents
The biosafety officer in cooperation with the
principal investigator and his/her staff, will investigate
any laboratory accident with a goal toward future prevention
of similar accidents. The investigation is to include an assessment
of the circumstances and number of employees who were exposed
to the agent in question. In addition, the biosafety
officer, in consultation with Health Services, may institute
further steps to monitor the health of those who may have
been exposed to the agent in question.
It should be emphasized that reporting of accidents
to the principal investigator or laboratory supervisor is
the responsibility of the employee who has the accident.
The principal investigator or the laboratory supervisor should
then report it to the Health Services.
If accidents are not reported it will
be difficult to control and contain the organisms involved
as well as devise necessary measures to prevent such accidents
from happening in the future.