You are here

Biological Spill

At a minimum, the spill kit must include concentrated disinfectant (household bleach or iodophor), gloves, autoclave bags, approved sharps container, and forceps/tongs/dustpan for picking up broken glass. Personal exposure takes priority over clean up. For spills of a large volume, or spills involving organisms transmitted easily through inhalation of aerosols (BSL-3), call ESSR for assistance at 301.314.2000.*

Personal Exposure

  • Remove contaminated clothing, put it in a plastic bag and seal it.
  • Vigorously wash exposed area with soap and water for 1 minute.
  • Use eyewash for eye exposure. Rinse eye for 15 minutes.
  • Obtain medical attention at University Health Center or other local medical facilities listed on the Personal Injury page. Take the Agent Specific Summary Statement with you to medical facility.
  • Report incident to Biosafety Officer at 301.405.3960.

Spill of BSL-1/BSL-2 Materials, rDNA or Human Blood

  • Notify others in the immediate area so they will not unknowingly spread contamination. Notify the supervisor of the incident.
  • Remove personal protective equipment (PPE) that has become contaminated and place it in a biohazard waste container. Wash hands and any skin that may have come in contact with infectious material, rDNA or blood.
  • Secure scene according to Laboratory Specific procedures.
  • Wear clean gloves, lab coat and safety glasses. If splashing is likely to occur, also wear goggles and face mask.
  • Cover spilled material with absorbent material/paper towels.
  • Carefully pour disinfectant freshly diluted to working strength onto and around the absorbent material in sufficient quantity to ensure
    effective microbial inactivation.
  • Allow a 30 minute contact time.
  • Using forceps/tongs/dustpan remove any broken glass or sharps and discard in sharps container. (If contaminated broken glass cannot fit in the sharps container, it may be treated by autoclaving or by soaking in a fresh 1:10 dilution of bleach for 30 minutes. Once decontaminated it may be placed in a sturdy cardboard box, taped closed, and placed in the building dumpster.)
  • Remove remaining absorbent materials, using forceps/tongs/dustpan when possible to avoid handling materials directly with hands, and discard in biohazard waste container.
  • Re-wipe spill area, including any surfaces that may have been splashed during the spill (i.e. cabinets, refrigerators, chairs, etc.) and discard materials in the biohazard waste container.
  • Place all materials involved in spill clean-up, including PPE, in the biohazard waste container and autoclave or dispose as biohazard waste by submitting an online request through the ESSR website.
  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Notify ESSR of spill at 301.314.2000.*
  • For blood spills due to injury contact Building Services for clean up at 301.405.2222.

Spill of BSL-3 Material (Including rDNA in BSL-3)

  • Stop work, alert others and hold your breath or take shallow breaths until clear of the area to reduce the risk of inhaling airborne contaminants.
  • Remove personal protective equipment (PPE) that has become contaminated and place it in a biohazard waste container. Leave area and secure scene according to Laboratory Specific procedures.
  • Wash hands and any skin that may have come in contact with infectious material or rDNA.
  • If an exposure has occurred, implement appropriate First Aid immediately and follow the post-exposure procedures according to Laboratory Specific procedures.'
  • Contact ESSR at 301.314.2000, and follow approved, site-specific spill response protocol.*

*Note: ESSR staff are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During regular business hours, this number will be answered by ESSR. After regular business hours, it will be answered by the University of Maryland Police Department, who will contact appropriate ESSR on-call personnel.


Laboratory Specific Information