ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences
SCALPEL and SCALPEL BLADES
Scalpels and scalpel blades are amongst the sharpest instruments used in any biological science laboratory and must be handled with due care and attention. Never try to catch a scalpel that has been dropped. To prevent carry over of contaminants from one specimen to another scalpels should be thoroughly cleaned after use.
After completing any series of dissections, solid scalpel should be placed in 5% sodium hypochlorite solution for at least 30 minutes before being cleaned, sharpened or used again. Solid scalpels are manufactured from stainless steel which remains unaffected by hypochlorite solutions. Other metals will corrode.
Disposable scalpel blades, once used, can be replaced in their original foil packet and disposed of in the container for sharp instruments. Handles should be placed in sodium hypochlorite solution for at least 30 minutes after use.