Thomas Jefferson University

Biological Incidents

Internal Disaster Plan for Biological Incidents


The purpose of this plan is to:

  1. prevent or minimize biological spills or releases and reduce the effects of an incident
  2. prevent injury and/or exposure to employees, students, patients and visitors;
  3. provide assistance to affected persons; and
  4. satisfy all applicable regulatory agencies.

University Policies & Procedures
Internal Disaster Plan 119.40
Attachment 4


A necessary component of this plan includes measures which will minimize or prevent any disaster caused by a biological incident. The following activities are required for successful prevention of biological incidents.

  1. An effective and aggressive biological safety program which provides for training on the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
  2. Frequent removal and containment of all biological wastes for proper disposal.
  3. Heat or chemical inactivation of particularly infectious biological organisms prior to disposal.
  4. Dissemination of copies of the Thomas Jefferson University Guide to Laboratory Safety, which addresses many aspects of biological safety, to all laboratory personnel.
  5. Annual training for the Emergency Response Team.
  6. Periodic meetings of the University Safety Committee, its subcommittees and the Institutional Biosafety Committee to review activities concerning biosafety in the university and hospital.


Any employee or student who experiences or becomes aware of a biological spill should cordon off the area to prevent dispersion of the material and call 811 immediately.

Response to a biological incident will be handled by the Emergency Response Team (ERT). The Environmental Health Officer and the Biological Safety Officer will serve as the primary responders on the main campus. Under their direction, other members of the ERT will serve in a support capacity through physical systems support (i.e. ventilation, electrical, etc.) as well as isolation and security of the incident scene.


Following any significant biological incident, all individuals involved in any aspect of the event will identify:

  1. why the incident occurred and take necessary measures for the prevention of similar future incidents;
  2. any facility or equipment malfunction;
  3. any segment of the plan or procedure that may require revision; and
  4. any employee who performed exceptionally well during the emergency for the purpose of personal recognition.