Sufficiency of Biosafety Education and Practice in AP Labs.
Shahrzad Ehdaivand, Kimberle Chapin, Douglas R Gnepp. Lifespan Academic Medical Centers, Providence, RI
Background: Careful biosafety practice in labs is crucial to prevent unnecessary exposures. Chemicals, particularly formalin & xylene, are irritants to skin & mucous membranes, and biological hazards, such as TB & blood borne pathogens, can be transmitted from fresh, frozen or fixed tissue.
Regulatory agencies [CMS (via CLIA), CAP, OSHA & TJC] have general regulations regarding basic personal protective equipment & chemical exposures in order to maintain certification. Additionally, guidance agencies [CDC, CLSI & NIOSH] provide more rigorous guidelines including room specifications & work practices.
This study's aim was to see if actual practice mirrors these guidelines, and to observe if professionals' perceptions of biosafety in AP labs differs from actual practices. To this end, we developed an online survey designed for anatomic pathology (AP) professionals to assess their perceived education as well as routine practices.
Design: Current available regulations & recommendations for biosafety practices in AP labs were reviewed from regulatory and guidance agencies and used to construct a brief survey (www.surveymonkey.com/biosafetyinAPlabs) to poll Pathology attendings, residents, fellows & PAs to assess perceived knowledge of biosafety in AP labs & actual practices. The tool was validated to ensure it captured the intended data.
Results: 43 Pathology professionals from diverse institutions completed the survey. 45% of respondents ranked their overall training in AP biosafety as minimal to none. >40% of respondents felt their surgical pathology & autopsy biosafety training was insufficient (42 & 45%, respectively). 24% of respondents received no training in chemical exposures & an additional 24% felt only minimally trained.
At the beginning of the survey, 51% of respondents felt the risks of chemical & infectious disease exposures had been clearly explained to them; however, by the end of the survey, only 37% of those polled felt the risks of chemical exposures were clear.
50% of respondents reported having a needle stick or cut while in an AP laboratory & 60% reported formalin exposure by splash or prolonged direct skin exposure. 65% do not report all of their chemical exposures & 11% of respondents did not know to whom they should report accidental exposures.
60-70% of respondents wear a gown when handling tissue in the surgical pathology labs, <30% wear a face shield, & <5% wear goggles.
Conclusions: Greater emphasis needs to be placed on training pathology personnel on exposure risks in AP labs. This training must include education on personal protective equipment & the hazards of chemical exposures.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 9:30 AM
Poster Session III # 139, Tuesday Morning