An animal technician was collecting biohazard waste from trash containers in the animal rooms to dispose them into a larger barrel. When she reached into the barrel to tie the large bag, the technician was pricked by a needle hidden in the disposed bag on top. The technician notified her supervisor and immediately went to the Occupational Health Facility for further evaluation. At the time of the incident the technician was wearing full PPE including 2 pairs of gloves. Luckily, the room that the trash had been collected from was labeled as “Non-Active” indicating there were no known biohazards present.
What Was The Cause?
A needle had been disposed of directly into the biohazard bag.
What Corrective Actions Were Taken?
The incident was discussed with all employees at DLAM.
- Take extra care when handling trash bags, especially biohazard trash bags
- Inspect carts and other areas used by researchers for loose sharps and report them to your supervisor as Near Misses
How Can Incidents Like This Be Prevented?
Animal technicians are at the mercy of the research community. The best way to prevented incidents like this:
- Diligence by the research community to dispose of all sharps into biohazard sharp containers
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 quarters full otherwise sharps can bounce back out
- Do not recap needles
- Keep track of all sharps you use in your experiment