|Body Part||Risks||Prevention||What to do?|
|Mouth||Swallow acids||Keep acids away from your mouth|
Wear a mouth-cover
Never pipette by mouth
|Drink water or milk
Do not induce vomiting
Seek medical assistance
|Eyes||Chemicals falling into your eyes|
Irritation from fume exposure
|Wear safety glasses||Irrigate eyes with water while holding eyelids open for 15 minutes|
|Skin||Direct contact with chemicals||Wear protective gloves|
Manage chemicals carefully
|Wash the area with water. Do not use hot water|
Remove all contaminated clothing and seek medical assistance
|Nose||Inhaling fumes||Wear a mouth-cover||Remove the victim from exposure and keep him warm and comfortable. If breathing is dificult for the victim seek medical assistance immediatly|
General Recommendations for Microbiology Safety
Our team worked with E. coli NEB-5α and P. pastoris. Both of these microorganisms are considered biosafety level 1 which means they are not dangerous to us at all. However, we followed the guidelines written below while working with microorganisms.
- Treat all microorganisms as potential patogens. Even if you are working with non patogenic microorganisms, your cultures could be contaminated at any given time and someone could get sick if the culture is not treated with precaution.
- Sterilize equipment and material. Everything that has or will be in contact with the microorganisms should be sterilized by autoclaving. Make sure you have read the manual and understand how to use the machine.
- Disinfect work areas before and after using them. Use a disinfectant such as etanol 70% or bleach 10% to wipe tables, chairs and other working surfaces. Beware of the potenital risks of using these disinfectants since etanol could catch on fire and bleach could damage your eyes and clothes.
- Wash your hands. Use a disinfectant soap to wash your hands before and after working with your microorganisms. This will prevent you from contaminating your cultures while also preventing you to get sick.
- Never pipette by mouth. Use pipette bulbs or other pippette devices instead.
- Don’t bring any food or drinks into the lab. They might get some microorganisms on them or you could contaminate your cultures.
- Label everything. Every tube, reagent, Petri dish and culture media should be clearly and securely labeled with their names, dates and any other relevant information. You may use permanent markers and tape for this task.
- Clean up spills with care. Use disinfectant solutions and papel towels to wipe out any culture spills. Wash the area again with disinfectant. If the culture contained pathogens, inform your instructor.
- Dispose of waste materials properly. Autoclave all used culture tubes, plates, swabs, toothpicks and other disposables before discarding them. You can also soak the materials in bleach 10% for 2 hours if you are not working with pathogens. Also learn and use properly each bag for biologic residues.