Contaminated Glass in Sink Cuts Technician’s Finger
A laboratory technician sustained a puncture to the left thumb from a glass coverslip fragment lodged in a “dirty sink” drain. The technician was cleaning the garbage disposal splash guard after rinsing out a case with human fecal matter. She did not see nor suspect the broken glass coverslip that was lodged in the splash guard and received a puncture wound. Glass coverslips are normally handled in a different area of the lab. The technician performed First-Aid on the wound and informed her supervisor. The technician then went to the Occupational Health and Safety Facility for medical advice. Blood samples were taken as a precaution and an Infectious Disease Physician was notified of the incident. He recommended that the technician receive a follow-up examination. The technician was wearing proper PPE at the time of the incident.
What Was The Cause?
Poor housekeeping resulted in broken glass in a sink.
What Corrective Actions Were Taken?
- Discuss and review housekeeping procedures
- Discuss and review disposal of human feces from infected patients
How Can Incidents Like This Be Prevented?
- Be diligent with housekeeping and do not place your co-workers at risk
- Keep track of broken glass and dispose in sharps container
- Minimize contact to potential infectious material by soaking containers that contained feces from infected humans in 10% bleach for 10 min; then wash the container in the sink
QUICK ACTION TIPS
Minimize exposure to biohazards:
- Expose the wound
- Express the wound
- Flush the wound under running water for 5 min
- Cover the wound and seek medical attention
- Report the incident to your supervisor
- Dispose in biohazard sharps containers
- Do not fill sharps containers more than 3/4 full otherwise sharps can bounce back out
- Do not recap needles
- Keep track of of all sharps in your experiment