Microbial aerosol generation during laboratory accidents and subsequent risk assessment

Allan Bennett*, S. Parks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To quantify microbial aerosols generated by a series of laboratory accidents and to use these data in risk assessment. Methods and Results: A series of laboratory accident scenarios have been devised and the microbial aerosol generated by them has been measured using a range of microbial air samplers. The accident scenarios generating the highest aerosol concentrations were, dropping a fungal plate, dropping a large bottle, centrifuge rotor leaks and a blocked syringe filter. Many of these accidents generated low particle size aerosols, which would be inhaled into the lungs of any exposed laboratory staff. Spray factors (SFs) have been calculated using the results of these experiments as an indicator of the potential for accidents to generate microbial aerosols. Model risk assessments have been described using the SF data. Conclusions: Quantitative risk assessment of laboratory accidents can provide data that can aid the design of containment laboratories and the response to laboratory accidents. Significance and Impact of the Study: A methodology has been described and supporting data provided to allow microbiological safety officers to carry out quantitative risk assessment of laboratory accidents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-663
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Aerosols
  • Air microbiology
  • Biocontainment
  • Biosafety
  • Risk assessment


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial aerosol generation during laboratory accidents and subsequent risk assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this