From: Margaret Rakas <mrakas**At_Symbol_Here**SMITH.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] food and drinks in lab areas
Date: September 25, 2012 4:57:02 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <CAPEgXxwbdwRFhfbEugHhaXgU-_4hcOUwevQsLaG-a8GOizK_+w**At_Symbol_Here**>

Is your human resources/legal department familiar with the following laboratory acquired infection which happened in the early '80's when eating in lab was not so strictly prohibited?

"A clinical laboratory worker worked with a proficiency

test sample, then ate half of her sandwich. She brought

the other half of the sandwich home for her child to eat.

The child developed typhoid, and the cultures and the

proficiency test sample were both phage strain C1

(Blaser & Lofgren, 1981)." from K.Byers, ""

Typhoid is an RG2 organism, to be worked with under BSL2 conditions, so it's not like we're comparing apples and oranges (or Ebola and whatever your group is working with..)

BSL2 means these organisms can and do infect humans; this includes Potentially Infectious Materials regulated under the OSHA BBP standard and lots of other nasties. They may be working with something they aren't *that* concerned about (gonorrhea, anyone?) but the fact is, it is infectious via mucous membranes (so ingestion is a primary route of entry).

Handwashing is REQUIRED by the BMBL, not a substitute for not eating/drinking in lab. In particular, if centrifuges are located outside of the BSC's and/or don't have safety cups, there's another element to add to the risk calculation right there. And Eric was right about spills, never planned, which create aerosols. Do you have a risk manager/employers' comp liaison that would be available to work with you on this?

I understand the desire to eat while working on a computer--but this is simply not in anyone's best interests. Perhaps if there were a few computers and tables/workstations placed close to the labs (but definitely outside of them!) this might be a way to move people out of the lab for their breaks/email checking/etc?

Good luck--I remember making someone go 'through hoops' (as they put it) for doing work that required them to climb 80 ft or so above the ground. I happened to run into them with their spouse at a local restaurant--the wife jumped up, hugged me and said "Thank you for keeping him safe."

It's why we do this work...

the above is my personal opinion only, not business or legal advice, and may not reflect the views of my employer or any group to which I belong...

On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 12:37 PM, Daniel Crowl <crowl**At_Symbol_Here**> 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 =91no 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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