Microbiology Safety and Staff Induction Manual by olliegoblue28










     4.1 General Conduct

     4.2 Waste Disposal

     4.2.1 Sharps

     4.2.2 Broken Glass

     4.2.3 Biohazards

     4.2.4 General Waste


     5.1 Gowns

     5.2 Safety Glasses and Eye Protection

     5.3 Gloves

     5.4 Hand washing



     7.1 Shandon Duplex Automatic Processor

     7.2 Exhaust/Extraction Unit (Stainless steel bench)

     7.3 Bunsen Burner’s

     7.4 Microtomes

     7.5 Embedding Center

     7.6 Heating Mantles/ Hot Plates



     10.1 Cleaning of general work areas

     10.2 Diversol

     10.3 Biohazard Bags/Bins

     10.4 Sharps


     11.1 General Considerations

     11.2 Accident or Incident Report

     11.3 Notification of a Safety Hazard


     12.1 Designated Fire Wardens

     12.2 Emergency Procedures

     12.3 Emergency Exits


     13.1 Induction Process

     13.2 Induction Records
The rules set out in this document apply to the conduct of staff and students working
in the Histology Laboratories on the Launceston campus of The University of
Tasmania. For the purposes of this document, "Histology Laboratories" relates to the
anteroom, preparation room (C216) and histology laboratory (C220).

This manual is designed to assist staff and students in achieving safe work practices
and maintaining a safe working environment, however, no finite set of rules will fit all
circumstances and the exercise of common sense is essential. If situations occur,
where doubt exists about safety issues, then the Histology Safety Officer or other
senior staff should be consulted.

It will be an important document for the induction of new staff and is essential reading
for practical demonstrators who bear the added responsibility for the safety of students
under their control. Post-graduate students that are given increased privileges and
responsibilities in the histology laboratories are expected to be familiar with the
content and implications of the manual.

Staff members working in this laboratory must be familiar with the relevant reference
safety document published by the Australian Standards Association - "Safety in
Laboratories”. Copies of this document are located on the University Occupational
Health and Safety website. As well as being available from the Safety Officer in
charge of Histology along with other relative safety information.

There is presently no designated Safety Officer responsible for the Histology
Laboratories in the School of Human Life Sciences. Any queries relating to safety
aspects of the facility should be directed to the responsible officer or the head of
School. The Occupational Health and Safety Officer for the School of Human Life
Sciences or the Safety Representative (Mr. Stephen Tristram, Ext. 5469 Room C217)
will need to be involved for purposes of officially reporting and dealing with specific
incidents or identified safety hazards within the histology laboratories.
See section 11: Reporting of Incidents.

Undergraduate students are not permitted to work in practical sessions without a staff
member being present in the laboratory, and may only work without direct supervision
when authorised by the Histology Safety Officer. Such authorisation must be in
writing and sighted by the staff member designated to be present in the laboratory
complex while the work is in progress.

Postgraduate students may work without direct supervision, but must be fully
conversant with this manual, and have been briefed on safety issues by their
supervising academic.

Students are not to bring visitors into the laboratories without the permission of a staff
This set of "rules" is an abbreviated set to which all students must be introduced
before commencing any work in the laboratory. Ideally, these rules should be included
in all "Practical Manuals" and reinforced formally at the beginning of each unit of
study. Likewise, Section 5 (Personal Protective Equipment and Procedures) should
also be included in those manuals.

4.1 General Conduct
Every individual that enters the laboratory has a duty of care to other users, and is
expected to behave in a manner that does not compromise the safety of others.

During all practical sessions held in the laboratory:
 Eating or drinking are not allowed anywhere within the laboratories.
 Regard all organisms and biological materials used in this laboratory as potentially
   infectious and pathogenic to humans.
 Laboratory coats must be worn for each practical session.
 Long hair should be tied back neatly, away from the shoulders.
 Enclosed footwear must be worn - (thongs and open sandals are not allowed).
 Avoid placing any object in your mouth - (pencils, pens, fingers etc).
 Cover any open cuts on hands and other exposed skin surfaces and/or wear gloves.
 When working with biological substances such as blood or urine, ensure that all
   work is carried out in the designated working area as instructed by the practical
   demonstrator. It is essential that all books, writing materials and other personal
   belongings are kept separate from this working area for the duration of the
   practical session.
 Carry out procedures to minimise the risks of spills, splashes and the production
   of aerosols. If you have an accident of any kind call the instructor immediately.
   For minor spills, put on gloves, cover spill with paper towel and pour on
   disinfectant. Leave for 10 minutes and then mop up
 After completion of practical sessions involving biological substances such as
   blood or urine, always wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the laboratory.
 No slides or cultures are to be removed from, or brought into the laboratory
   without permission of the Laboratory Safety Officer or the Histology teaching
 Students will not use any histology equipment in the laboratory except under the
   direction and supervision of the teaching staff.

Familiarise yourself with the location and operation of the following emergency items
for each laboratory;
         First aid kit
         Fire extinguisher
         Fire Blanket
         Eyewash station
         Spill Kit
         Emergency Shower
         Respirator – Formalin and Organic Vapour
         Evacuation Procedures
4.2 Waste Disposal
Please follow the instructions carefully and if in doubt - ASK!

4.2.1 Sharps
Sharps are to be placed in the sharps containers located around the histology
laboratory; scalpel blades are to be disposed of in the blade removal system, which are
made available when required. Please read the instructions on the blade removal
systems to avoid damaging the unit. Full sharps containers should be placed in the
preparation room (C222) with the lid securely fastened.
4.2.2 Broken Glass
When any glassware is broken, notify the instructor immediately for assistance with
disposal. Non-contaminated broken glass can be disposed of in the glass bin, which is
located at the front of the laboratory or in a sharps container that is available for that

4.2.3 Biological Material
Biological material of animal origin (i.e. rat or fish) is used in certain practicals.
Waste from these practicals should be disposed of into the Biohazard bags provided,
or as instructed by the demonstrator. Any materials used that are of a biological nature
must be disposed of in the appropriate receptacles.

4.2.4 General Waste
There is a bin located in the histology laboratory and gowning room for disposal of
general waste. Including non-contaminated paper towel and all other waste that has
not already been covered.

Ideally, this section (or an abridged version) should be incorporated (along with
Section 4) into all students laboratory practical manuals.

5.1 Gowns
Students are provided with gowns for use in the Histology Laboratory. These gowns
must not be removed from the gowning room adjacent to the Histology laboratory.
These gowns are laundered regularly by the School of Human Life Science.

5.2 Safety Glasses and Eye Protection
All students and staff are required to have "safety glasses" with them for all practical
sessions, and are to use them when procedures are undertaken that involve significant
risk of splashing with infectious or corrosive liquids e.g. during staining procedures.
An eyewash station is located at the rear of C220. These facilities are regularly
tested and maintained to ensure they are operating correctly.

5.3 Gloves
For routine work in the histology laboratory, gloves are not considered essential.
Gloves should be worn under the following circumstances;

   o When mopping up a spill.
   o When performing procedures where there is a high risk of contaminating
     hands e.g. staining procedures.
   o When making up liquid stains from powder form.
   o If open cuts or skin conditions are present, that increases the risk of infection
     from accidental contamination.
   o When instructed by the demonstrator.

Ensure that adequate supplies of gloves are present in all laboratories. If you use the
last gloves from a box, please notify the demonstrator so that stocks can be

5.4 Hand washing
The standard hand washing procedure is to use running water and the hand soap
provided. Hands must always be washed before leaving the laboratory. The liquid
soap dispensers within the anteroom must always be sufficiently full.
5.5 High Risk Individuals /Antenatal Considerations
Persons who are immunocompromised or otherwise particularly susceptible to
infection need to be identified so that additional precautions for histological safety can
be taken when necessary.

Any student that has a medical condition that they feel might be compromised by
exposure to reagents or chemicals in the laboratory is encouraged to discuss the matter
with the demonstrator or Technical Officer.

No live micro-organisms are used during histology practicals.

Demonstrators and tutors should be fully aware of the correct operating procedures for
all equipment used within the histology laboratories.

7.1 Shandon Duplex Automatic Processors
Consist of a series of graded ethanol‟s, xylene and paraffin wax heated to 61C. When
using these machines ensure that all requirements for personal protective equipment
are observed. Safe Operating Procedures are included as an appendix in this manual
and are placed with the equipment when it is used for practical sessions. Ensure the
exhaust fan is switched on when machines operational.

7.2 Exhaust/Extraction Unit (Stainless Steel Bench)
When dispensing dangerous substances ensure that the exhaust system is switched on
and that appropriate protective equipment is being used. The extraction bench in C220
is always on. If it has shut down then notify the instructor immediately.

7.3 Bunsen Burners
If Bunsen Burners are to be used in a practical sessions they will be set up by the
Technical Officer using a small gas bottle. Only histology staff are to do this. When
using the Bunsen burners do not burn yourself. Be aware of burning back by noting a
hollow burning sound and/or absence of a blue cone of unburnt gas. Ensure that all
burners are turned off at the end of the practical and gas bottles are secured.

7.4 Microtomes
Rotary microtomes are used during practical sessions for cutting tissue sections. These
are heavy pieces of equipment, which must be lifted or moved with care and strictly as
instructed by the demonstrator. The knives used in these microtomes are very sharp,
and must be used with extreme care by students and staff. Disposable blades for these
knives are to be handled and disposed of strictly as instructed by the demonstrator.
Microtomes with knives in place are not to be left unattended at any time. The wheel
of each microtome must be in the locked position any time the microtome is not being
used for cutting sections. No person suspected of being under the influence of alcohol
or drugs will be permitted to use this equipment. Any such person will be required to
leave the practical session immediately.

7.5 Embedding Centers
Embedding Centers contain paraffin wax at 61C and both a hot plate at about 70C and
a cold plate at minus 4 degrees. When using ensure that you do not burn your fingers.
Ensure that all personal protective equipment requirements are met and that you have
familiarised yourself with the safe operating procedures for this piece of equipment.
Gowns and eyeglasses must be worn when actually embedding.
Flammable solvents such as Xylene are stored in the Flammables Cabinet, which are
located in the Preparation Laboratory Chemical Store C222. If solvents are used
during practical sessions, the exhaust fan must be switched on. People using these
solvents should consult the appropriate MSDS before commencing work. MSDS‟s for
all chemicals and reagents used within the histology laboratory are available both
within the laboratory and in the preparation room (C222).

Whenever doing staining procedures ensure that protective gowns, gloves and safety
glasses are worn. When „bringing sections to water‟ or „dehydrating, clearing and
mounting‟ always ensure that the exhaust system is turned on. Ensure you have read
the MSDS that relates to the particular stain that you are using and you are aware of
any possible hazards. MSDS‟s for stains used within the laboratory are located in the
preparation room (C222). MSDS will also be made available during practical sessions
that use stains.

Appropriate cleaning and waste disposal is designed to separate different types of
waste and minimise risks when handling hazardous products or byproducts.

10.1 Cleaning of General Work Areas
The Technical Officer will manage all cleaning and waste disposal. General work
areas are to be kept tidy and free of unnecessary equipment. Any tools or implements
used for general work should be returned to their appropriate place. Please follow
instructions carefully and if in doubt - ASK!

10.2 Diversol
The general disinfectant used in the laboratory is “Diversol” and is available in the
laboratory during specific practical sessions.
For cleaning of spills involving human blood or body fluids, “Diversol” should be
used at a concentration of 5000 ppm of available chlorine. This should be made up
immediately prior to use as it has a limited shelf life. Sachets of Diversol are located
in the preparation room (C222). Squirt bottles of Diversol will be made available
when required.

10.3 Biohazard Bags
The filled biohazard bags should be transported to the microbiology laboratory
preparation room in the yellow biohazard wheelie bin (located in C222) and should be
autoclaved prior to disposal. The bags should not be sealed prior to autoclaving; rather
they should be left open to allow penetration of the steam.

10.4 Sharps
Full sharps containers should be securely closed and placed in the Preparation room or
left at the front of the laboratory. Full containers are stored in the undercroft for
specialist disposal as organised by the School of Human Life Sciences.

Spills involving infectious materials are complex events and no set of instructions can
cover all possibilities nor replace the need to exercise common sense and apply sound
microbiological judgment in their management.
All staff members involved in unsupervised work must be familiar with the following
guidelines, which are to be used in the management of spills.
11.1 General Considerations for Biohazard Spills
When dealing with a spill of biohazardous liquid it is important to be aware that the
spill may become dispersed into three spill fractions:
        The bulk of the liquid remains as a puddle.
        A portion separate as splashes and rivulets.
        A portion is released as airborne particles (aerosols)
The small airborne particles pose the greatest risk, as they can remain airborne and
dispersed to other areas.
Spills involving human blood or body fluid are treated with a disinfectant with
5000ppm of chlorine (diversol).

11.2 Minor Biohazard Spills
All quantities used within the histology laboratory will come under the minor spill
category. A minor biohazard spill is generally considered as a spill of minimally
hazardous material with low potential for generation of aerosols.

The following procedures should be followed.

If hands have been contaminated, first wash hands with soap and water.
Remove and replace any contaminated protective clothing.
Put on Gloves
Lay down absorbent material wetted with disinfectant over spill and allow it to sit for
10 minutes.
Discontinue work in the immediate area.
After 10 minutes, mop up spill and place the contaminated materials into autoclavable
Wipe over general area again with paper towel dampened with disinfectant.
Remove gloves and wash hands.

In the event of a major biohazard spill, staff are instructed to evacuate the histology
facility and notify security at once.

The above-mentioned equipment and necessary personal protective equipment can be
found in the „Spill Kit‟ located in the histology laboratory. „Spill Kit‟s‟ are checked
and maintained by the Technical Officer, access to the „Spill Kit‟ is to be free from
obstruction at all times. If the kit is used, please notify the Technical Officer so stocks
can be replenished.

Reporting of incidents and unsafe working practices help to prevent further incidents
and ensure a safe working environment for students, staff and authorised visitors.

12.1 General Considerations
Official reporting of incidents is to be done through the relevant Departmental
Occupational Health and Safety Officer. This is Mr. Steve Tristram from the School
of Human Life Sciences. Copies of any documentation relating to an incident or safety
hazard must be sent to both the Histology Safety Officer and the Occupational Health
and Safety Representative. A copy should also be retained within the laboratory.

12.2 Accident or Incident Report
All accidents and major spills should be documented on an "incident report form" (see
appendix for example). These forms are available from the Occupational Health and
Safety Officer, and should be completed with the assistance of that officer. Copies of
the completed form should be sent to the Histology Safety Officer, and a copy
retained in the histology laboratory.
12.3 Notification of a Safety Hazard
Staff are encouraged to communicate "near misses" or safety hazards that they have
identified to the Histology Safety Officer in order to identify "risky practices" and
prevent future incidents. The Histology Safety Officer should discuss such episodes
with the Occupational Health and Safety Officer and if deemed necessary, complete a
"Notification of a Safety Hazard" form (see appendix for example). Copies of the
completed form should be sent to the Histology Safety Officer, and a copy retained in
the histology laboratory.

Each laboratory has a posted excavation procedures sheet. Please ensure that you read
and understand these documents before working within the histology laboratory.

13.1 Designated Building/Area Wardens
The names and locations of Warden‟s for Building C are posted with the emergency
procedure on entry to the labs and are included as an appendix in this manual.

13.2 Emergency Procedures
Emergency Procedures identify emergency exits and outside assembly areas that are to
be used in the event of an emergency. Staff must familiarise themselves with these
plans when undertaking work in the histology laboratories.

13.3 Emergency Exits
There are illuminated exit signs leading to external doors from the histology
laboratories. Staff must be aware of the advised exit routes in the event of an
emergency. If any of the exit signs are damaged or missing, notify the Safety Officer
or a senior member of staff. Poorly lit and signed exits can pose a hazard in the event
of an emergency.

All new and continuing staff should be inducted into the laboratory at least annually,
this ensures that any changes to operating procedures can be highlighted and staff kept
informed of relevant information pertinent to the histology laboratory.

14.1 Induction Procedures
All staff undertaking teaching and other duties within the histology laboratory must be
inducted by a responsible officer before commencing work within the laboratories.
The induction process includes but is not limited to a familiarisation tour of the
facility, detailed instruction in the proper use of all equipment and machinery, an
understanding of the hazards associated with the histology laboratories and correct
safety procedures to be followed. Before staff can undertake any work within the
laboratories, they must posses an understanding of the content of this manual and have
been instructed in the proper use of all personal protective equipment used within the
histology facility.

14.2 Induction Records
All staff undertaking induction must complete an Induction Record form. These forms
are kept by the Safety Officer and are made available when required.

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