Contaminated Glass in Sink Cuts Technician’s Finger

What Happened?

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

Resources

> Risk Group Classification for Infectious Agents

QUICK ACTION TIPS 

Minimize exposure to biohazards:

1. Expose the wound

2. Express the wound

3. Flush the wound under running water for 5 min

4. Cover the wound and seek medical attention

5. Report the incident to your supervisor

  

Biohazard Sharps

• 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