All human tissue, such as blood, blood products, urine, solid tissue and aerosols from tissue are potentially infectious. People who work with human tissue but particularly those using needles, and other sharp instruments are at risk of exposure to blood-borne viruses (BBVs), but also infections from other pathogens depending on the type of tissue, e.g. respiratory pathogens associated with lung tissue. Cuts and punctures with contaminated sharps and splashes to mucous membranes such as the eye or mouth should also be considered as a route for accidental exposure.
Every effort must be made by staff and students to avoid accidental exposure to any infectious agent. All staff and students must follow safe working practices when working with human tissue, such as wearing gloves, lab coats, and safety goggles etc.
Prior to working with unfixed human tissue it is necessary to arrange, via your Safety Officer, for a referral to UCL Occupational Health & Wellbeing for vaccination against Hepatitis B or confirmation of immunity:
There is a requirement to be vaccinated 8 weeks before commencing any work using unfixed human tissue samples, including blood, blood products and tissue. There are several other infectious agents to which there are not vaccinations such as hepatitis C, and HIV.
If you have been or think you have been exposed to blood or body fluids, the following procedures should be followed:
You should also inform your local Safety Officer.