The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Commission's Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) issued two new guidance booklets: Safe working and the prevention of infection in the mortuary and post mortem room; and Safe working and the prevention of infection in clinical laboratories and similar facilities.
The booklets give advice on a wide range of activity, from how to carry out a risk assessment to safe working practices in post mortem rooms and clinical laboratories, cleaning, disposal of waste and monitoring employee health.
The new guidance revises the booklets first published in 1991. They retain the practical guidance of the original publications and give new information on precautions for handling higher risk material, including Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. The revision also takes account of changes in legislation, new technologies in such work and new guidance from other governmental departments and agencies e.g. the Departments of Health, NHS Estates and the Medical Devices Agency.
Murray Devine, HSE’s Priority Programme Manager for the Health Services welcomed the new guidance saying: “The risks of infection is a serious issue for all workers in the mortuary and post-mortem rooms and also for staff involved in the collection, transportation and processing of pathological samples. Together, these new guides give a comprehensive framework to help employers and managers to assess and effectively manage risks in these important areas of health care. Additionally the practical information is valuable to employee safety representatives and workers in the front line.”
Safe working and the prevention of infection in clinical laboratories and similar facilities replaces Safe working and the prevention of infection in clinical laboratories and Safe working and prevention of infection in clinical laboratories - model rules for staff and visitors which have been combined into one document. It is relevant to work in hospitals, research establishments and veterinary laboratories.
The guidance was prepared by 2 HSAC Working Groups with members representing relevant employers and employees, and the Central Public Health Laboratory Service. Extensive consultation was carried out during its production including the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens, the Department of Health and NHS Estates and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
The main legislative changes are the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and regulations governing the carriage of hazardous waste. The Clinical Laboratories guidance also makes reference to requirements for bio-security in the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.
Copies of Safe working and the prevention of infection in clinical laboratories and similar facilities ISBN 0 7176 2513 3 price £9.50 and Safe working and the prevention of infection in the mortuary and post-mortem room ISBN 0 7176 2293 2, price £7.50, can be ordered online at http://www.hsebooks.co.uk or are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, tel: 01787 881165 or fax: 01787 313995. HSE priced publications are also available from all good bookshops.
PUBLIC ENQUIRIES: Call HSE's InfoLine, tel: 08701 545500, or write to: HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG.