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The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires all laboratory specimens be treated as potentially infectious. The requirements and the following guidelines improve safety and infection control when collecting, handling, or processing laboratory specimens.
All specimen containers should be tightly capped to prevent leakage or spills.

Needle Disposal
To avoid accidental needlestick injuries, needles must not be recapped or cut prior to disposal. Containers for used needles are available in patient rooms and on the nursing units. Report needlestick injuries to Employee Health Services immediately.

Personal Safety
Gloves must be worn whenever there is potential for risk of exposure to blood, body fluids, or tissue specimens. Goggles, gowns, and masks are also indicated in areas where contact with aerosols or large amounts of body fluids may occur (eg, specimen processing, emergency surgery, etc).

Frequent handwashing is encouraged.
Hepatitis B virus vaccination is recommended for healthcare personnel in contact with patients and body fluids.  Contact Employee Health Services for further details.

Specimen Transport
Submission of specimens with attached needles pose a high risk of needlestick injury. Therefore, remove and properly dispose of needles prior to transporting specimens to the laboratory.  Specimens received in the laboratory with attached needles will be rejected.

Specimen containers that show visible signs of breakage or leakage should be transferred to another container or placed inside a secondary container.

Do not submit contaminated laboratory requisitions. Prepare new requisitions.