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New lab safety guidelines released by CDC panel

A panel of experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidelines for safe work practices in diagnostic laboratories.

The document was published to improve the safety of clinical diagnostic laboratory activity, and to educate workers on all safety issues they might experience in their workplace.

"Prevention of injuries and occupational infections in U.S. laboratories has been a concern for many years," the CDC noted in a release. "These guidelines promote a culture of safety and include recommendations that supplement Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL-5) by addressing the unique needs of the diagnostic laboratory. They are not requirements but recommendations that represent current science and sound judgment that can foster a safe working environment for all laboratorians."

The guidelines include identifying many hazards, and isolating practices and procedures that could minimize or eliminate those hazards. The guidelines also state that a laboratory director is responsible for creating and enforcing a biosafety manual that would cover a range of topics, policies, and procedures that apply to that specific laboratory.

Safety productsare required when workers are exposed to hazards from flying particles, liquid chemicals, acids, caustic liquids, or chemical gases and vapors. Supply laboratory workers with the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as faceshields, Safety glasses and goggles, protective clothing, and respirators