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Chapter 8: Decontamination, Disinfection and Spill Response

1.     DEFINITIONS:

1.1. Contact Time: The time that a disinfectant needs to stay wet on a surface in order to ensure proper disinfection occurs.

1.2. Disinfectant: A antimicrobial agent that is applied to the surface of a non-living object to destroy microorganisms that are living on the object.

1.3. Disinfection: The action of applying an antimicrobial agent to the surface of a non-living object to destroy microorganisms that are living on the object.

1.4. Suitable Disinfectant: A disinfectant that has been proven effective against a specific microorganism.

2.     PROCEDURE:

2.1. Equipment Decontamination 

For laboratories at Health Sciences Center, all equipment must be decontaminated following “SOP for Decontaminating Laboratory Equipment” prior to moving between laboratories, surplusing, or disposing. Contact the Health Sciences Center Safety Office at 304-293-0952 for a copy of the SOP.

Laboratories on all other campuses should contact Facilities Management or their Chemical Hygiene Officer to determine what decontamination procedures are applicable for equipment.

2.2. Biohazard Disinfection

Common Approved Disinfectants

The following disinfectants (Table 1) are commonly accepted as suitable disinfectants. Any EPA registered disinfectant is acceptable, as long as it is determined to be suitable against the specific biohazard being utilized. Always verify with the Biosafety Office or through your IBC protocol to ensure the disinfectant is suitable.

Table 1. Commonly Accepted Suitable Disinfectants

               Commonly Approved Disinfectants

Equipment and Work Surfaces

A routine and appropriate disinfectant schedule is necessary to maintain a clean laboratory and minimize the potential of exposure or contamination. At minimum, equipment and work surfaces utilized for biohazard work should be disinfected daily with a suitable disinfectant. Best practice would be to disinfect the potentially contaminated work surfaces immediately after completion of the procedure. Surfaces must be disinfected immediately following a splash or spill utilizing the Biohazard Spill Response detailed in section 2.3 of the chapter.

2.3. Biological Spill Kit

Each lab that utilizes biohazards must stock and maintain a biological spill kit within the lab. A biological spill kit is similar to a chemical spill kit, with the addition of bleach. A chemical spill kit is available, free of charge, by contacting WVU EH&S and filling out a Disposal Request Form located at https://www.ehs.wvu.edu/chemical-waste/waste-management/hazardous-waste-disposal-form. On the bottom of the form in the “Container Request” section, request a spill kit. Bleach must be purchased by each laboratory.

The kit should include, at minimum:

  • Bleach
  • Absorbent Materials (paper towels, pig mats, etc.)
  • PPE including gloves, eye protection and face mask
  • Biohazard waste bags
  • Access to forceps, tongs, broom, and dustpan

2.4. Biohazard Spill Response

Proper biohazard spill response ensures that a safe and effective cleanup occurs. By following the steps below, you will greatly minimize the risk of exposure to the biohazard as well as potential further contamination from the spill.

Spill Involving BSL1/ABSL1 Agent/Material

  1. Don proper PPE including gloves and safety glasses.
  2. Remove contaminated sharps from site using forceps or tongs.
  3. Cover the spill with absorbent material (paper towels).
  4. Pour 10% bleach on the absorbent material.
  5. Wipe the area, working from the edges towards the center.
  6. Place absorbent material in biohazard bag for disposal.
  7. Wipe area with water to remove residual bleach.
  8. Remove PPE and wash hands thoroughly.
  9. Inform your supervisor.

Spill Involving BSL2/ABSL2 Material/Agent Inside a Biosafety  Cabinet

  1. KEEP THE BIOSAFETY CABINET RUNNING.
  2. Don proper PPE including gloves, eye protection, and lab coat.
  3. Remove contaminated sharps from site using forceps or tongs.
  4. Cover the spill with absorbent material (paper towels).
  5. Pour appropriate disinfectant (10% bleach) on the absorbent material.
  6. Allow 20 minutes of contact time with bleach.
  7. Place absorbent material in biohazard bag for disposal.
  8. Wipe surface with water to remove residual bleach, working from the edges towards the center.
  9. Remove PPE and wash hands thoroughly.
  10. Inform your supervisor.

Spill Involving BSL2/ABSL2 Material/Agent Outside a Biosafety Cabinet

  1. If spill involves highly concentrated or highly pathogenic agents, leave the room for 30 minutes to allow aerosols to settle.
  2. Alert people in the area that a spill has occurred and keep them out of the area.
  3. Don proper PPE including gloves, eye protection, lab coat. More PPE (N-95 respirator or PAPR) may be necessary for high risk agents.
  4. Remove contaminated sharps from site using forceps or tongs.
  5. Cover the spill with absorbent material (paper towels).
  6. Pour 10% bleach on the absorbent material and allow 20 minutes of contact time with bleach.
  7. Wipe the spill area, working from the edges towards the center to prevent spread of contamination.
  8. Place absorbent material in biohazard bag for disposal.
  9. Wipe surface with water to remove residual bleach.
  10. Remove PPE and wash hands thoroughly.
  11. Inform your supervisor and biosafety officer (304-293-7157).

2.5. Improperly Discarded Sharp Cleanup Response

At times, an improperly discarded sharp may be discovered either in a non-approved sharps container, trashcan, or on the ground. This presents a risk of a needle-stick exposure to everyone and must be properly discarded in a safe manner. Never pick the sharp up with your hand, or attempt to carry the sharp to another location.

In order to minimize the potential for a needle-stick exposure, follow these steps (see Figure 1 for a summary):

  1. Contact your supervisor and/or the Biosafety office, if necessary, for guidance for proper sharp disposal.
  2. Don appropriate PPE including nitrile or vinyl gloves and safety glasses.
  3. Use a mechanical device, such as tweezers, forceps, tongs, or even pliers, to carefully pick up the sharp with the point facing away from you and others. Never attempt to pick up a sharp with your hands.
  4. If a sharps container is available, carefully place the sharp, point first, into the sharps container.
  5. If a sharps container is not available, locate a hard walled container, large enough to contain the sharp, such as a drink bottle. Carefully place the sharp, point first, into the container. Cap the container and label that a sharp is present inside. Discard the sealed, labeled container in the trash.
  6. Disinfect the mechanical device with a suitable disinfectant.
  7. Remove and discard PPE.


Figure. 1
Proper Method to Discard Sharps During Cleanup Response

              Proper Method to Discard Sharps During Cleanup Response


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Continue to Chapter 9: Transporting and Shipping Biohazards


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