Laboratory Acquired Infections, LAIs, are difficult to track but are a true concern for many biological laboratories.
Conducting thorough risk assessments to address potential hazards is a critical step in reducing the potential for LAIs. Taking the time to conduct thorough risk assessments, implementing appropriate work practices to prevent exposure, and training employees on the work practices are all necessary steps to reduce LAIs.
LAIs should be covered during new employee training and annual refresher training sessions. Employees need to be educated on the possibility of LAIs resulting from exposure to agents in use in the biological laboratories, work practices in place to prevent exposure, symptoms of exposure, and post exposure response procedures. Any time the biological materials in use change, all affected employees need to be updated on the newly introduced risk of an LAI.
Reporting of possible and known exposures to infectious or potentially infectious materials should be strongly encouraged from all levels within the company. Obtaining prompt medical attention in the event of an exposure should part of the post exposure response procedures.
Make sure you take the time to conduct thorough risk assessments, train employees on LAIs, and encourage compliance with established work practices.