Do you need a quick look into how you can safeguard yourself, the patient and the environment by ensuring disinfection in the medical lab?
This article includes a good laboratorian’s guide to medical disinfection.
A safe laboratorian in a safe laboratory can not be imagined without employing good disinfection practices. A clean and orderly environment and the use of appropriate PPE can help establish medical disinfection in the laboratory.
Know-how of healthcare workers
- Lab technicians and health care providers should have a thorough knowledge regarding how to prevent the spread of pathogens.
- Disinfection in healthcare cannot be compromised.
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- The patient environment area to be disease-free is the fundamental principle of preventing infection.
- The phlebotomist ensures medical disinfection of any instrument or equipment that is to be reused, the keyboards, phlebotomy chair, test tube racks etc.
- He/she should keep the work area clutter-free, which may house contaminated sharps or infectious materials. This is an important aspect of maintaining disinfection in a medical lab.
- He/she should store any equipment not in use at the designated places to avoid any trips and slips. This minimises the likelihood of any accidents.
- Biological safety cabinets, sensitive and hazardous chemicals used for disinfection in healthcare should always carry labels. It allows easy identification and safe handling. Unknown chemicals pose unpredictable hazards.
- Biohazard warning symbols and signs should be added to the labels.
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- Storing the chemicals used for disinfection in a medical lab in a planned manner avoids high-risk situations.
- The storage criteria should depend on compatibility and the potential hazard the disinfectants may cause. For example, secure any flammable material in approved safety containers with a spring closing lid which relieves the internal pressure build-up in case of fire exposure.
- Use safety cabinets that have self-closing doors and deep bottoms to contain spills if any.
- Secure the lids of the containers tightly when not in use.
- Dispose of all unused chemicals and those not fit to be used.
- Use puncture-resistant and leakproof labelled containers at the designated place inside a laboratory.
Hope for the best but always be prepared for the worst.
A technician should
- keep the laboratory environment safe, equipped and maintained to avoid all unexpected emergencies.
- pay attention to the display of emergency exit sign images with an arrow indicating the directions to reach the nearest exit.
- keep the aisle leading to the fire evacuation route clear of any obstructions like boxes etc.
- activate all eyewash stations and shower units weekly.
- make sure that the waste volumes are at a minimum level in stock and all chemicals for disinfection in the medical lab are available in the requisite amounts.
- Follow appropriate procedures for waste collection and disposal.
- Adopt appropriate health and safety measures for infection prevention and control.
- Wear personal protective equipment relevant to the type and category of waste.
- Segregate waste at the source by using different colour-coded disposal bins for different categories of waste.
- Make sure the waste is safe for transport and disposal.
- Label waste correctly to avoid hazards for handlers.
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- Adhering to standard microbiological practices and techniques is an inseparable feature of disinfection in healthcare facilities like laboratories.
- Technicians working with infectious agents must be aware of potential hazards.
- Techniques for safely handling such materials should be emphasized for medical lab disinfection.
- The purpose of containment is to reduce the exposure of laboratory workers and patients to infectious and hazardous agents and also to prevent the escape of these agents into the outside environment.
- Vaccines also provide an increased level of personal protection from many infectious agents.
- The use of good microbiological techniques and appropriate safety equipment ensures biosafety and disinfection in healthcare.
A laboratory, where laboratory technicians encounter many potential pathogens on a daily basis, can be a safe and disease-free place to work. It is easily achievable if the possible risks are identified and all the discussed safety practices are taken into account.
Hence, medical lab disinfection by an MLT has an individual and public health impact as well. If you are also planning to be medical lab technician you must join MLT Course.