6.7 Laboratory and Infection Prevention

Infections acquired at work are uncommon, but they do exist. For infection and illness to occur, there must be:

  • A suitable number of organisms capable of causing disease (contagious dose)
  • A path to the body.

Workplace infection can be avoided by developing work practices that block exposure pathways. In the laboratory, suitable microbiological methods must always be implemented, such as:

  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, apply cosmetics, or store food for human consumption in laboratories.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, or non-intact skin with potentially infected hands.
  • Wash hands thoroughly frequently, even if gloves are worn, and scrub fervently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water (as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”).
  • Decontaminate work equipment and utensils right away after using biohazardous components.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) because it helps prevent exposure.

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