Chemical exposure via injection can occur when handling chemically contaminated items such as broken glass, plastic, pipettes, needles, razor blades, or other items capable of causing punctures, cuts, or abrasions to the skin. When this occurs, chemicals can be injected directly into the bloodstream and cause damage to tissue and organs. Due to direct injection into the bloodstream, symptoms from chemical exposure may occur immediately.
Laboratory workers can protect themselves from an injection hazard by wearing proper PPE such as safety glasses/goggles, face shields, and gloves. Inspect all glassware for chips and cracks before use, and immediately discard any glassware or plasticware that is damaged. To help protect coworkers in the lab and building care staff, all broken glass should be disposed of in a puncture resistant container labeled as “Broken Glass”. This can be a commercially purchased “broken glass” container or simply a cardboard box or other puncture resistant container labeled as “Broken Glass”.
Whenever cleaning up broken glass or other sharp items, always use a broom, scoop or dustpan, or devices such as pliers, before using your hands to pick up broken pieces. If you have to use your hands, it is best to wear leather gloves when handling broken glass. For other items that can cause cuts or puncture wounds, such as needles and razor blades, never leave these items out in the open where someone could come into contact with them. EHS recommends using a device such as a piece of Styrofoam or similar item to secure them for later use. For disposal, use an appropriate “sharps” container.
If you do receive a cut or injection from a chemically contaminated item, if possible, gently try to remove the object and immediately rinse under water while trying to flush the wound and remove any chemical contamination, administer first aid and seek medical attention if necessary, and then complete an Injury/Illness Report.