From: marjorie.markopoulos**At_Symbol_Here**WRIGHT.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] food and drinks in lab areas
Date: September 25, 2012 4:50:19 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <5061907F.8648.0091.0**At_Symbol_Here**>

We have compiled a working document that lists numerous sources to support the prohibition of food and drinks in lab areas. Please let me know if you would like a copy.

Another common request that we receive for food and drinks is within  "walled-offices"  that one needs to travel through a working lab area.  The lab workers want to carry food and drinks into those spaces.  Just last month, we received a request for one of those "walled-offices".  The request was presented to the Biosafety Committee and the request was rejected.  I would be interested to see how others manage those requests, too.  By the way, most of these areas have shared ventilation with the lab spaces.

Marjorie Markopoulos, M.S., CBM, CCHO

Biological and Chemical Safety Officer

Department of Environmental Health & Safety

Wright State University

Dayton, OH  45435




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Eric Clark
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] food and drinks in lab areas


The BMBL-5 under B 10 Special Practices states "All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials that may generate an aerosol should be conducted within a BSC or other physical containment devices." 


But as we know, spills and other unexpected things can happen - even in a BSL-2 area - despite our best efforts to keep the micro-organisms contained.  That's why, e.g., the microbiologists working with rabies have all the recommended immunizations as well as ppe, even though the work is done in biosafety cabinets.  Sawing through an animal skull to retrieve a brain tissue specimen will definitely produce aerosols.  [BTW, not only is there an aerosol risk, but saws and scalpels are sharp tools.]   


Plus there's the possibility that someone's forgotten moldy lunch could cross-contaminate lab work.  BMBL-5 under B 9 Special Practices states "Animal and plants not associated with the work being performed must not be permitted in the laboratory."  


Stay with the program.  Don't try to justify relaxing the industry standard because some employees find certain laboratory policies inconvenient.  Would we be having this same discussion about BSL-3 (or 4?!) containment practices?  


Bottom line ==> Keep food, animals, and plants out from within the high solid walls of the lab area.  


Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM

Safety & Compliance Officer

Los Angeles County Public Health Lab

>>> On 9/25/2012 at  9:37 AM, in message <CAPEgXxwbdwRFhfbEugHhaXgU-_4hcOUwevQsLaG-a8GOizK_+w**At_Symbol_Here**>, Daniel Crowl <crowl**At_Symbol_Here**MTU.EDU> wrote:

The interesting thing here is that the boundaries are drawn by the employees based on their convenience rather than any valid hazard or risk assessment procedure.

Dan Crowl
Michigan Tech

On Sep 25, 2012 12:28 PM, "Steve Crooks" <scrooks**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

If there are aerosolized microorganisms of concern then the space inside even a hard-walled lab has to be questioned. My experience is that in cases where lab design has unfortunately allowed for the "open concept", an administrative barrier or demarcation can be acceptable so long as PPE "wandering" is rigidly enforced from happening, hand washing after lab work occurs and airflow is supplied over cube spaces and exhausted from w/in actual lab space. That said, I wouldn't give in unless you have to and preferred is what Eric states. However, picking your battles and having credibility when you really need it is also at play. Requiring hand washing before eating is better control than a wall and I'd start with that skirmish then move to the battle for money to segregate spaces better. Remind your local "lab architect" that we prefer leaving open concepts to the homes on DIY network.


Steve Crooks, MS, CIH, CSP

People, Property & Env. Protection, Inc.


Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 25, 2012, at 11:46 AM, Eric Clark <erclark**At_Symbol_Here**PH.LACOUNTY.GOV> wrote:


Consult the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 5th edition for specifics on how to run a BSL-2 lab. These policies were developed and fine tuned over the years to keep people safe. You can Google it to get the CDC on-line PDF version.

Under the BSL-2 section in Part A 3 it states "Eating, drinking, smoking, handling contact lenses, applying cosmetics, and storing food for human consumption must not be permitted in laboratory areas. Food must be stored outside the laboratory area in cabinets or refrigerators designated and used for this purpose."

An administrative barrier such as a half wall (or sign, or brightly painted yellow line on the floor)does not prevent aerosolized micro-orgasms from crossing over onto someone's food.

Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM

Safety & Compliance Officer

Los Angeles County Public Health Lab

Hi all,

I'm hoping to get some advice regarding an ongoing issue in some areas of my company-

It seems straightforward enough that food and drinks are not allowed in lab areas, but the problem keeps cropping up. A BSL2 lab has cube space between two BSL2 work areas. The walls are only half-walls but the residents of these desks want their food and drinks and the manager of the lab put tape down to say the BSL2 areas are outside of the cube area and that it is reasonably safe to have food and drinks in the cubes. I thought the rule was that the dividing walls had to be floor to ceiling. Anyone else have a similar situation in conjunction with a BSL2 work area?

Another lab used to not have chemicals, and people would drink/eat while at computers. Now there are chemicals stored and used in the lab, and of course people are trying to still eat/drink. We (safety) put a stop to that, but then they put tape down and made an area that is =E2=80=98no chemicals or work materials' allowed and they put a table, chairs and a mini-fridge. My opinion is that food and drinks should not be allowed in this lab at all, although maybe there is some way to permit closed drink containers in a designated area? But the mini-fridge seems out of my scope of allowable items in a lab that also stores/uses toxic chemicals. Of course I've reviewed the regulations and they support no food/no drinks in at least the case of the chemical laboratory. But are there allowable exceptions? Right now my views are being considered employee unfriendly, and while I'm not worried about that, I want to make sure I've researched the situation thoroughly so that I'm not being overly strict. (Note: my company safety officer is "new" to safety-)

Any information or specific instances/experiences you can share with me would be most helpful and appreciated.

Best regards,

Kathy Rusniak

R&D Engineer & Safety Coordinator

NanoInk, Inc.

(847) 745-3605 direct

(847) 679-8767 fax

(847) 679-NANO main

NanoInk, Inc.

8025 Lamon Ave.

Skokie, IL 60077


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