Spillage and/or Leaking Specimens

Safety when Handling Pathology Specimens

If a Specimen Container Leaks or Breaks

  • If a specimen leaks into a carrier, inform the laboratory staff and ask them to deal with the spillage.
  • If breakage of a sample occurs, summon help from the laboratory while ensuring that the affected area is not touched by others.
  • On no account mop up or use a dustpan and brush to clean up a spillage/breakage but request assistance from laboratory staff or trained Sodexo staff who will deal with the spillage in a safe manner.
  •  A Trust incident form must be completed.

General Rules for Safe Handling of Pathology Specimens

  • When handling or carrying Pathology specimens make sure that your uniform or overall is properly fastened. Keep uniforms separate from other clothing.
  • Never eat, drink or smoke when you are handling or carrying specimens .
  • Cover any cuts or grazes on your hands with a waterproof dressing.
  • All specimens must be carried in the UN3373 compliant carriers provided.
  • Handle specimens carefully at all times.
  • Staff may encounter patient details. These must always be treated confidentially.
  • Hands should be washed after delivery of  samples to Pathology Reception. If you do touch a sample, wash your hands immediately.
  • Wash your hands often if handling or transporting pathology specimens and always before a meal break and at the end of a spell of duty.
  • If you cut or prick yourself or have an accident, however small, inform a senior member of staff from the Pathology dept and inform your manager. Ensure that a Trust Incident Report form is completed as laid down under the portering regulations. If an inoculation injury (e.g. needle-stick) is sustained, then you must attend the A/E department.
  • If you become ill, inform your doctor of your place of work and ask him/her to talk to the laboratory doctors if he/she thinks it is necessary.

Page Updated 23/05/2011

Last updated: June 4, 2018