Biological Spill Cleanup Procedures



Biological Spill Cleanup Procedures

Laboratory personnel must be prepared to clean up spills of biological or biohazardous material. Keep basic clean up equipment on hand and ensure that all laboratory staff are trained to clean up spills.  Researchers working with Risk Group 2 or 3 (RG2, RG3) materials should prepare fresh 1:10 bleach solutions weekly for routine decontamination.  Clean up spills of non-biohazardous biological materials using steps 3-9 below.

Clean up Procedures:

  • If someone is injured and contaminated, provide first aid assistance if possible and ask an uncontaminated co-worker to call 9-911 for medical assistance.  Do not take a contaminated person to the emergency room unless told by emergency room staff to do so.  If a person is contaminated but not injured, remove contaminated clothing and help the person use an emergency shower or eyewash as needed.  Call 9-911 for medical guidance. 
  • If a biohazardous spill is in the open laboratory, alert people in the vicinity and evacuate the laboratory immediately. The last person out closes the doors. Do not re-enter for at least 30 minutes so aerosols can be cleared to minimize the risk of inhalation exposure.  Do not spread contamination beyond the laboratory by staying as close to the laboratory as possible, and disinfecting shoes.  Proceed as follows:

1) If the spill is large or you need help from EH&S, call the UCSF emergency number:

  • From Parnassus, Mt. Zion, Laurel Hts., Mission Bay: Call 9-911
  • From SFGH: Call 206-8522

2) Post signs, and keep personnel not involved in cleaning up the spill away from the area.

3) For RG2 agents: Wear disposable gloves, eye protection, and a lab coat.  For RG3 agents: Wear a disposable gown, gloves, eye protection, shoe covers, and a respirator.

4) Remove contaminated sharps from the spill using forceps or tongs, NOT your hands!

5) Cover the spill with paper towels or other absorbent material. Take care to avoid making the spilled material splash or spray.

6) Pour a freshly prepared 1:10 dilution of household bleach around the edges of the spill and work inward to the center. Allow 20 minutes for the bleach to kill the organisms.

7) Use additional paper towels to wipe up the spill, working from the edges into the center.

8) After initial cleanup, flood the spill area with bleach and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

9) Use paper towels to absorb spill, then wipe-down with clean paper towels soaked with bleach.

10) Disinfect any equipment, walls, or other areas likely to have been splashed by the spill.

11) Discard paper towels into a red biohazard bag if used to clean up RG2 or RG3 materials.

12) Thoroughly wash your hands and any contaminated skin with soap and water.

13) Notify a Biosafety Officer at 476-1300 if the spill is large, involves RG3 materials, recombinant DNA materials, a toxin, or if an injury or inhalation exposure may have occurred.

  • If a spill is found when opening a centrifuge, close the centrifuge as soon as possible, evacuate the laboratory immediately and do not re-enter for 30 minutes, then disinfect using steps 3-9 above.
  • If the spill is found when opening a rotor or bucket, close the rotor and move it and its contents to a biosafety cabinet (BSC) before opening to disinfect using steps 3-9.  Disinfect the centrifuge interior.
  • If the spill is inside a BSC, evacuation is not necessary.  Follow steps 3-9 and keep the BSC running for at least 15 minutes after the cleanup is done.  Clean the spill tray below the work area and the trough below the air intake grill while the BSC is running.

Posted: 3/2013