VI(b). Bloodborne Pathogen Control in the Laboratory


rev 12/2010

A. Laboratory Use Of Human Blood, Blood Products, Body Fluids And Tissue

Human blood, blood products, body fluids and tissue may contain bloodborne pathogens such as the hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV viruses. Special precautions are required to protect students, faculty and staff from exposure to these sources of infection. The Mount Holyoke College Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Program describes procedures for protection of employees exposed to bloodborne pathogens as required by the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030. That Program does not address potential student exposure in the laboratory when human blood, blood products, body fluids and tissue are used. This policy establishes procedures for the use of human blood and tissue in academic laboratories. The procedures described below do not cover the isolation or use of the HIV or HBV viruses in research. Such use would require more detailed and protective control methods.

B. Employee And Research Student Laboratory Use

All faculty, staff, and research students who are potentially exposed to bloodborne pathogens in the laboratory, with the exception of the use of their own blood or tissue, are covered by the Mount Holyoke College Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Program and must comply with its requirements including work practice controls, use of personal protective equipment, housekeeping, labeling, waste disposal, and training. As participants in that Program they are eligible for hepatitis B vaccinations and post-exposure medical evaluation and follow-up. Prior to the use of human blood, blood products, body fluids, or tissue in any laboratory, the responsible faculty member must contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety to register her/himself and the potentially exposed staff and research students s/he supervises as participants in the Mount Holyoke College Program. Training must be completed prior to potential exposure.

C. Student Laboratory Use

Students may only use their own blood and tissue in the laboratory. Samples must be collected by the student (e.g., finger prick, cheek scraping), or at the Health Center and can only be handled by that student or a trained faculty or staff member as described in Section B.

The faculty must obtain the written statement of understanding found in Appendix VI(b)-A from the students who volunteer to use their blood or tissue. Students cannot be required to participate in that aspect of the laboratory. All students in the laboratory must be informed of the potential hazards of bloodborne pathogen exposure.

If samples are collected at the Health Center, they must be placed in a second plastic container with a closed lid and a biohazard label, and carried by the student to the laboratory.

Each student must be assigned a discrete laboratory space and all student work is restricted to that location. Each student must also be provided with all equipment and supplies necessary for the experiment. Equipment and supplies cannot be shared between students. Procedures that could result in splashing or generation of aerosols (e.g., open tube centrifugation) are not allowed.

Written instructions must be developed detailing the experimental procedures and describing procedures to prevent contamination of adjacent spaces or other areas of the laboratory, and to properly decontaminate, or dispose of, all work areas, supplies and equipment.

D. Personal Protective Equipment And Personal Hygiene

All students, faculty and staff must wear gloves when in areas or performing operations where there is the potential for contamination. Gloves worn in a potentially contaminated area must be removed or changed before moving to another area of the laboratory. Contaminated gloves must be collected and autoclaved or incinerated as biomedical waste.

All student, faculty and staff must thoroughly wash their hands prior to leaving the laboratory. Eating, drinking, applying cosmetics or lip balm or handling contact lenses are prohibited in the laboratory.

E. Decontamination And Waste Disposal

All work surfaces and reusable equipment must be decontaminated with a hospital-use rated disinfectant. (Disinfectants with this rating are considered effective against both HIV and HBV). A 1% solution of bleach (1/4 cup per gallon of water) with a 10-minute contact time may be used. (Remember the chemical splash hazard: goggles should be worn when using bleach). Each student must be responsible for decontaminating his or her own work area and equipment. As an alternative, each student could place equipment into the disinfectant and a trained faculty or staff member complete the cleaning process. The faculty member will supervise all decontamination procedures. The used bleach may be discharged to the sewer.

All contaminated sharps (e.g., lancets) must be placed in a needle disposal container designed specifically for that purpose. Full needle containers must be closed securely and disposed of as biomedical waste (see Section XI(c)). All other disposable supplies must be collected in red bags and autoclaved by a trained faculty or staff member or collected as biomedical waste for incineration.

F. Emergency Procedures

In the event that any one in the laboratory becomes contaminated with blood or tissue from another person, the body area should be flushed with water (eyes and mucous membranes) or soap and water (skin), and the person should seek medical attention. For employee exposures, the employee should contact Human Resources to report the incident and for referral to Holyoke Hospital for post-exposure evaluation. Students should go directly to the Health Center.


A: Lab Use Statement of Understanding