Physician Practice

The SPILLED drill

Medical Environment Update, February 9, 2020

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Editor’s note: In this guest column, Dan Scungio, MT(ASCP), SLS, laboratory safety officer for multi-hospital system Sentara Healthcare in Virginia, and otherwise known as “Dan, the Lab Safety Man,” discusses the important issues that affect your job every day.

Large biological and chemical spills are not a common occurrence in the laboratory, but when they do occur, they can be very dangerous. It is therefore vital that staff know how to handle such events. I was on-site recently when a large chemical spill was discovered, and I was surprised at the reaction from team members in the facility—it did not go well. Teaching staff how to handle a spill is one thing, but the importance of practicing by using spill drills cannot be overestimated.

Some facilities differentiate between large and small spills. They may have an emergency number to call for a hazardous spill response team, although smaller facilities may not have this resource. Either way, it’s important for laboratory professionals to know they are the experts about the biological and chemical materials they use, and they need to be in charge when it comes to managing a spill situation.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.

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