Yale Disease Handling Error?

Walter Ogston ogston at HOBBES.KZOO.EDU
Thu Aug 25 20:02:24 EST 1994


The discussion of what went wrong in the Yale arbovirus incident makes
me wonder whether our centrifuges are as safe as they could be.  Sue
Jeffries asked whether enough time was allowed for aerosols to settle
before opening the centrifuge, but what indication would there be that a
tube was broken before the instrument was opened?  Most breakages of
this kind would not be enough to send the centrifuge out of balance.  

One answer should be that rotors or buckets on centrifuges used for high
titer virus work should have a transparent safety cover, so the operator
can see inside before opening it.  I know some centrifuge rotors are
made like this but are they universally used?  

Another precaution one could take, though it would be a real pain, would
be to remove the whole rotor to the safety hood before opening it.  This
would work with the Sorvall design where there are separate screws to
hold down the rotor and to keep the lid on, but the Beckman rotors have
only one screw to do both jobs.  Does OSHA have anything to say about
this?  
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Walter Ogston				ogston at hobbes.kzoo.edu
Department of Biology			Phone: (616)337-7010
Kalamazoo College			Fax:   (616)337-7251
Kalamazoo, MI 49006-3295



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