Non-Life Threatening Injury or Exposure

If you are exposed to a hazardous material through an incident or accident in the laboratory, inform your Principal Investigator (PI) or Laboratory Manager and seek medical attention immediately. Early medical intervention can be critical, depending on the agent or hazard involved.

In the event of a laser accident, immediately ensure that the laser shutter is closed or de-energized completely. Provide for the safety of personnel as needed. If a laser eye injury is suspected, have the injured person keep their head upright and still to restrict bleeding in the eye and contact a physician for evaluation as soon as possible.

If exposed to potentially infectious or recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules through contact with skin, mucous membranes, or clothing, the exposed area should immediately be washed thoroughly, and any contaminated clothing should be removed. The exposure should be reported to your supervisor. Medical follow-up is recommended if: (1) the exposure involves eyes, nose, or mouth, (2) skin is damaged at or near the exposure area, or (3) the exposure is through parenteral contact (e.g., needlestick or cut by sharp object). In such cases, a qualified healthcare professional should perform treatment and provide information regarding risks of infection.

When you seek treatment, bring contact information for your PI so he or she can be consulted for additional technical information regarding the agent or hazard. If your exposure involves a chemical, bring along the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) if one is available. DO NOT delay seeking medical attention if a MSDS cannot be located immediately.

Keep in mind that it is possible for you to be exposed to a hazard without being aware that it happened. If you become ill and suspect that your illness is associated with a previous exposure, seek medical attention immediately. Inform the physician about the hazards present in your laboratory.

Note: if you become ill and do not immediately associate your illness with hazards in the laboratory, it is still important to inform the physician about hazards that may be associated with your work. Even if a connection between the illness and the work environment seems unlikely, it is important for the treating physician to have a complete history on file.

Last Update: 4/21/2016