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8urying laboratory waste prevents it becoming a
hazard providing the pit is located in a safe fenced
off area, is sufhciently deep C4÷5 metresì and wide
C1÷2 metresì, has a strengthened rim, and is /eµ/
covered. The disposal pit should not be used for
items that do not decompose, e.g. plastic lab-
oratoryware. These are best incinerated. ldeally all
infectious laboratory waste should be decontami-
nated or incinerated before it is discarded in a pit
or landhll. Once a week the waste should be
covered by a layer of quicklime, or if unavailable by
soil or leaves.
lf a local landhll site is available, local health
authority guidelines should be followed regarding
its use. CLaboratory waste must never be dis-
posed of with household waste.ì Waste must
always be transported in c/oseJ, strong, leakproof
/o/e. Chart 3.2 summarizes the methods used to
decontaminate and dispose of non-reusable
infectious material and how to decontaminate and
clean reusable articles in district laboratories.
CLEAHIHG AHD 5TERILIZATIOH OF REU5AßLE ITEM5
Decontamination is essential prior to the cleaning
and reuse of laboratory-ware. ln district laboratories,
almost all glassware, many plastic items, and speci-
H£ALTH AND SAF£TY |N D|STR|CT LA8ORATOR|£S 71
men containers will need to be reused. Disposable
containers should be used for faecal specimens.
Seµc/c/e discard containers Cpreferably plasticì,
hlled with appropriate disinfectant are required for
syringes, lancets, slides, cover glasses, pipettes, tubes
and specimen containers. Each container should be
Prior to soaking slides in disinfectant, any oil
should be removed using a piece of rag or
absorbent paper dampened with disinfectant. Use
forceps to wipe the slide and dispose of the rag
Most locally available detergents are suitable for
cleaning laboratory-ware. After cleaning, each article
must be we// //oseJ /o c/eco wc/e/ to remove all
traces of detergent.
Cco//oo. Great care must be taken to avoid injury
when handling lancets, scalpel blades, and cover-
glasses. When cleaning cover glasses CNo 2 thick-
ness are suitable for reuseì, lancets, and scalpel
blades, use small plastic beakers or jars in which to
wash and rinse these items and plastic strainers
to collect them after washing and between water
rinses to avoid pricks and cuts. Always wear protec-
tive gloves when cleaning laboratory-ware.
Sterilization of cleaned laboratory-ware prior to
reuse is necessary for microbiology culture work,
e.g. specimen containers, petri dishes, tubes,
pipettes, etc. Syringes and lancets must also be
sterilized before reuse Csee subunit 4.8ì.
Chart 3.2 Prnccssing nf infcctinus and wastc matcrial and rcusc nf nnn-dispnsablc itcms in district
SPECIMENS //o/J sµec/meos
In rcusablc cnntaincrs: lf the sink has running water and empties into the sewer system or septic tank, pour
huid specimens through a plastic funnel down the sink and rinse the funnel and sink
with 2500 ppm chlorine or 5% v/v phenolic disinfectant. 8oil the containers, caps
and cap liners for 10 minutes at 100°C. lf this is not possible, immerse the con-
tainers, caps, and liners overnight in 5% v/v phenolic disinfectant, 2500 ppm
chlorine disinfectant or 1% w/v V///oo.
Clean each container in detergent, //ose we// /o wc/e/ and drain dry. lf sterile
containers are required, autoclave them at 121°C for 15 minutes.
U//oe coJ o//e/ soµe/oc/co/ /o/Js
Discard supernatant huids through a funnel held in the lid of a plastic 1 litre capacity
container to which has been added 20 ml of a concentrated phenolic disinfectant.
When the huid level reaches 1 litre, empty the container Cdo not add supernatant
huids to previously diluted disinfectant solutionsì. Decontaminate the empty tubes
or bottles and clean them as described previously for /o/J sµec/meos
72 D|STR|CT LA8ORATORY FRACT|C£ |N TROF|CAL COUNTR|£S
Use disposable containers for faeces. Dispose of the specimens by incineration.
lf not liquihed, decontaminate sputum by autoclaving at 121°C for 15 minutes or
place the container in boiling water and boil at 100°C for 20 minutes. Discard the
decontaminated specimen in the latrine or in a deep covered pit and clean the
container. lf liquihed, use the procedure for /o/J sµec/meos
In dispnsablc cnntaincrs: Dispose of the specimens by incineration.
HAEMATOCRIT TLBES /mmeJ/c/e/v c//e/ /ecJ/oc, discard the tubes into a puncture resistant container for
incineration or burial in a deep covered pit.
/o/e. lf a capillary tube is found to have broken in the centrifuge, wearing gloves
and using forceps, remove the broken glass pieces and clean the centrifuge with a
rag soaked in 5% v/v phenolic disinfectant. Place the rag with the pieces of glass in
a puncture resistant container for incineration.
SWABS lmmerse swabs in 5% v/v phenolic disinfectant overnight before disposing of them
in a deep pit.
CLLTLRES Prior to disposal, decontaminate all cultures by autoclaving them at 121°C for 15
MICROSCOPE SLIDES Soak used slides overnight or for at least 1 hour in 2500 ppm chlorine disinfectant
or 1% w/v V///oo Cdetergent as well as disinfectantì in a plastic container. lf there is
oil on a slide, use forceps and a piece of rag or tissue soaked in disinfectant to wipe
off the oil /e/o/e soaking the slide. With care, wash the slides in detergent using a
soft brush. Pinse well in water and dry between cotton cloths. When comµ/e/e/v dry,
store the slides in boxes.
COYER GLASSES Only No 2 thickness cover glasses should be reused CNo 1 cover glasses are too
Aeose oo/v fragileì. Using a piece of stick, transfer a cover glass from a slide to a small plastic jar
w/eo esseo//c/ or beaker containing 5% v/v phenolic disinfectant or 1% w/v V///oo. Soak overnight or
for at least 1 hour.
Use a plastic sieve to collect the contents of the jar or beaker. Transfer a few cover
glasses at a time to a container of detergent Cnot necessary if V///oo has been usedì,
and swirl gently. Pour off the detergent and run water on the cover glasses to wash
off the detergent. Use a plastic sieve to recover the cover glasses and dry them
between two pieces of cotton cloth. Discard any damaged cover glasses into a
puncture resistant container.
PIPETTES /mmeJ/c/e/v c//e/ ose, soak pipettes for at least 1 hour in 2 500 ppm chlorine
disinfectant or 1% w/v V///oo in a sufhciently tall container to allow complete
immersion of each pipette and the expelling of air bubbles. Do oo/ overcrowd the
Cautinn: \se a sepaiale conlainei foi glass Pasleui pipelles as lhe slems of lhese can be easilv
Wash reusable pipettes in detergent Cnot necessary if Virkon has been usedì, rinse
well in water, and drain dry. Use a rubber bulb to expel the water from each pipette.
8ury disposable pipettes in a deep covered pit.
H£ALTH AND SAF£TY |N D|STR|CT LA8ORATOR|£S 73
LANCETS /mmeJ/c/e/v c//e/ ose, immerse the lancets in a small plastic jar or beaker containing
Aeose oo/v 1000 ppm chlorine or 1% w/v V///oo. Soak for 20 minutes. Use a plastic sieve to
w/eo esseo//c/ recover the lancets from the container. Clean as described for cover glasses. Lancets
must be sterilized before reuse.
Ao/oc/cv/oc s/c/o/ess s/ee/ /coce/s
Wrap each lancet in a small piece of non-shiny paper Ccan be reusedì. Place the
wrapped lancets in a small polypropylene or metal container and with lid removed,
sterilize at 121°C for 15 minutes. Peplace the lid.
lf unable to sterilize by autoclaving or because the lancets are part plastic, boil in
water at 100°C for 10 minutes together with small glass or polypropylene tubes into
which the lancets can be placed after boiling. Use hame sterilized forceps
to transfer each lancet to its tube. Plug each tube with non-absorbent cotton wool.
S¥RINGES /mmeJ/c/e/v c//e/ ose, rinse through with 1 000 ppm chlorine disinfectant. Pemove
Rcusablc glass, nylnn, the plunger from the barrel and immerse plunger and barrel in a container of
pnlyprnpylcnc syringcs 1000 ppm chlorine disinfectant or 1% w/v V///oo for 1 hour. Wash and rinse well
in several changes of water. The syringes must be sterilized before reuse.
Wrap each syringe, barrel alongside plunger, in a piece of cotton cloth or non-shiny
paper and autoclave at 121°C for 15 minutes.
lf autoclaving is not possible, boil the syringes in water at 100°C for 10 minutes with
a container in which to place the syringes after boiling. Use hame sterilized forceps
to remove and assemble the syringes. Use the syringes only when they are
TLBES lmmerse overnight or for at least 1 hour in a container of 2500 ppm chlorine
disinfectant or 1% w/v V///oo. Make sure each tube is fully immersed with air
bubbles expelled. Do not overload the container.
Wash in detergent Cnot necessary if V///oo has been usedì using a test tube brush,
//ose we// /o wc/e/ and dry tubes facing downwards.
lf sterile tubes are required, autoclave at 121°C for 15 minutes, with caps loosened.
Only glass or polypropylene tubes or vials can be autoclaved. lf unable to autoclave,
boil the tubes with caps and cap liners in water at 100 °C for 10 minutes. Use hame
sterilized forceps to remove and cap the tubes when dry.
OTHER GLASSWARE As for tubes.
Syringcs lncinerate and bury the waste in a deep covered pit.
Cnntaminatcd cnttnn wnnl, Discard into a separate container and cover with a lid. lncinerate and bury the waste
swabs, drcssings in a deep covered pit.
74 D|STR|CT LA8ORATORY FRACT|C£ |N TROF|CAL COUNTR|£S
Brnkcn glass, Discard into a puncture resistant container. lncinerate and bury the waste in a deep
dispnsablc nccdlcs, covered pit.
lanccts, nthcr 'sharps'
CLEANING OYERALLS Prior to laundering, decontaminate laboratory protective clothing and other
contaminated clothing by soaking overnight in 1000 ppm chlorine disinfectant.
RELSING GLOYES Pinse gloved hands thoroughly in 1000 ppm chlorine disinfectant followed by
several rinses in clean water Cdo not soak the gloves in disinfectantì. Wash gloved
hands with soap and water. Pemove the gloves and hang them by the cuffs to dry.
Wash hands and arms thoroughly.
When dry, examine the gloves for damage. Discard any gloves that are peeling,
appear cracked, have punctures or tears, or appear damaged in any other way. Test
the gloves for small holes by hlling them with water and squeezing. lf intact, turn the
gloves inside out to dry. When dry sprinkle the inside with talcum powder.
DECONTAMINATING Use 2 500 ppm chlorine disinfectant to decontaminate work surfaces at the end of
BENCH SLRFACES each day. Use 5% phenol disinfectant or phenol solution on benches which may be
contaminated with mycobacteria.
Soak up any spillage of infectious material with V///oo powder disinfectant, NaDCC
granules or if unavailable use rags soaked in 10000 ppm chlorine. Always wear
STERILIZING WIRE Decontaminate and sterilize by haming until red hot. Allow to cool before use.
LOOPS BLADES, ENDS Whenever possible, use a hooded 8unsen burner.
See Table 3.1 for the preparation of 1 000 ppm, 2500 ppm and 10000 ppm chlorine solutions. Wear
gloves and a face visor or goggles when preparing all disinfectant solutions.
When clean running water is not available for rinsing washed laboratoryware, use hltered rain water.
A/wcvs wear protective gloves and a plastic apron when decontaminating and disposing of specimens.
When disposing of waste from an incinerator, wear a dust mask.
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