A collapsed container with white powder scattered around sits on top of a barrel next to two rubber gloves.

CSS Safety Protocols

During a routine collection of waste, a container of white powder disintegrated without warning, causing the powder to spill and be expelled into the air. Thanks to CSS’s safety protocols and quick response, our Center for Disease Control waste disposal staff was able to assess the situation and respond to the chemical spill. The highly skilled team immediately evaluated the situation using our Incident Mishap Protocol. It was determined that the building’s exhaust ventilation system contained the dust cloud and personal protective equipment prevented injuries from occurring. Further inspection showed that the powder was a non-hazardous waste, deeming the incident a close call!  

The project manager began an incident investigation to see how improvements could be made. Our staff determined that the container was handled multiple times─first from the hardened top and then from the side, which disintegrated. In addition, the program manager noted that the container appeared “old.” 

As a result of the investigation, our team recommended laboratorians use secondary containment (such as, plastic bags) as an engineering control on waste older than five years. They also began training laboratorians to recognize potential container degradation and the new secondary containment procedures.

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