HEALTH AND SAFETY IN CLINICAL LABORITORIES Health and safety at work act (1974) show that it is a duty of every employer to ensure as far as reasonably practice to health safety and welfare at work of all of its employees. Risks assessments must be carried out when more than 5 people are employed and implement changes as necessary. Risk assessment is a carefully recorded examination of what might cause harm and accidents to people in work places e. g. staff, visitors, patients, clients and contractors. Many activities are undertaken in clinical laboratories therefore anyone entering is at risk at pathological specimen.
Staff must observe important precautions to protect both themselves and others. The degree of risk will depend upon the sort of work they do and how well they observe the safety rules. Infection control is very important in laboratories because infections may be acquired by breathing in airborne droplets or dust containing infectious micro-organisms and others may be through abrasions wounds or liquid splashing onto mucous membranes into eyes. Any form of cuts or dermatitis should be covered by waterproof dressing before start of work. The cover must be enough to prevent contamination and if in doubt ask the line manager.
Personal protection equipment [PPE] is very important from reducing the spread of infections. In laboratories always wear a protective gown or coat to protect own clothing from acting as transmitter for infection. Gowns should be changed at least twice per week and neither should personal things such as pencils, combs, brushes taken into the laboratory. Essential items are always provided. Gloves should be worn when handling specimen. If gloves become perforated you should stop work immediately and dispose of into appropriate bin. Wash hands thoroughly and put new gloves.
When gowns are contaminated they should be changed and placed in appropriate container and hands should be washed and put new clean coat. Food, drink, cigarettes are not allowed into the laboratory. Eating, chewing, smoking and applying cosmetics in laboratory are forbidden. All that may bring hands into contact with face and mucosae [eyes, nose and mouth] must be avoided as this spread infections. Hands should be washed thoroughly when leaving the laboratory. Reporting Of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation 1995 [RIDDOR] was introduced to report any injuries or disease within the workplace
In clinical laboratories if any cuts occur the wound should be encouraged to bleed by washing with running water. This should not be scrubbed as this may encourage infection. Proper treatment dressing is very important and no matter how small the cut is this should be reported to the line manager. If u become ill this should be reported and the doctor should be told where you work by showing medical contact card in case of further information if required. Do not take unnecessary risks always follow the rule. Handling of specimen in the laboratory is the main focus of the job.
Always observe all the requirements and regulations. Gloves should be used to handle specimen which include saliva, blood and urine . Always wear disposable gloves if u are to get in contact with blood or body fluids. The use of protective clothing and equipment [gloves, aprons, full-face visors] will minimise the risk of infection Any spillage which would be infectious should be reported and make sure that the spillage is properly cleaned to prevent accidents which can cause injuries or death if someone slips [shattered lives]. Broken equipment should be placed in containers provided to avoid cuts.
Used materials should be placed in appropriate marked bins and dispose of manner accordingly. Control of Substance Hazardous to Health 2002[COSSH] this was amended to control exposure to chemicals and protect workers. In laboratories activities such as autoclaving and cleaning must only be performed according to instructions and must be followed at all times unless in circumstances to meet special needs. Avoid practices of splashing or releasing of droplets into atmosphere as this causes infections. Pathological material should be carried in a microbiological safety cabinet e. . transport screen . Always protect yourself by putting on full-face visor, gloves and disposable plastic apron over your gown or coat. Mouth pipetting is forbidden always use provided pipetting devices. Protective clothing should be removed on completing the job and place various items in the designated places for disinfection, autoclaving or disposal . Always wash hands at the end of each job. Minimise the use of sharp objects as these can cause cuts, when using them use with extreme condition or whenever possible use plastic. Clear spillages and clutter.
Use racks or trays to contain specimen. Items must be disinfected properly and disposed safely. Labels should be correctly done and never to be licked Do not enter any room which has` Danger of Infection` sign on the door unless you are told it’s safe to do so by your manager. Clinical waste should be properly bagged or safely contained according to local rules. Fire awareness is very important in any form of employment. Employees should be trained and be familiar with surroundings in case of fire. In laboratory the causes of fire could be electrical faults or chemical reaction.
In case of fire staff needs not to panic but to move away from affected area but on the same floor [horizontal evacuation]. This reduce evacuation time by moving to a short distance helps in not moving outside unless absolutely necessary . Regular training is advised [triangle of fire] When collapses it is an individual responsibility to risk assess to the rescuer during resuscitation Firstly u have to approach safely and don’t panic them. Check for response and shout for help. Open airway to make sure it is clear there is no vomit or dentures.
Apply 30 chest compressions and keep checking for normal breathing by looking and feeling . This is very important for every employee to be trained [Basic life support]. When faced with aggressive behaviour one should remain calm, communication, posture, should be considered. We need to use common sense in all what we do. REFERENCES ? HSE. Health Services Advisory Committee. (2003), Safety in Health service Laboratories, HSE Books, UK. ? HSE, (2006), Essentials of Health Safety at work, ? www. hse. gov. uk/biosafety/information. htm