• Always remove gloves before touching phones, doorknobs, light switches, etc.
• Avoid touching your face with your hands or gloves.
• Keep personal items such as coats and book bags out of the lab or in a designated work area.
• No mouth pipetting; use mechanical pipetting devices.
• Minimize splashes and aerosol production.
• Disinfect work surfaces to decontaminate after a spill and after each work session.
• Disinfect or decontaminate glassware before washing.
• Decontaminate all regulated waste before disposal by an approved method, usually by autoclaving.
• Have an insect and rodent control program in effect.
• Use a laminar flow biological safety cabinet when available.
Seventy percent of recorded laboratory-acquired infections are due to inhalation of infectious particles, so special precautions should be taken to avoid producing aerosols when working with pathogens. While performing activities that mechanically disturb a liquid or powder, the biotechnologist should make the following adjustments.
• Shaking or mixing liquids mix only in closed containers
• Pouring liquids pour liquids slowly
• Pipetting liquids use only cotton plugged pipets
• Removing a cap from a tube point tubes away when opening
• Breaking cells by sonication in the open sonicate in closed containers
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• Removing a stopper or cotton plug from a culture bottle remove slowly
• Centrifuging samples use tubes with screw cap lids
• Probing a culture with a hot loop cool loop first
Disinfectants such as bleach and ethanol are used extensively to decontaminate glassware and work areas, and it is important to realize that the effectiveness of disinfectants depends on the type of living microorganisms you are encountering: