One vital function of a biosafety officer or laboratory manager is performing Risk Assessments. This multistep process becomes the backbone of a microbiology laboratory’s Biosafety Plan, Operating Procedures, and, if done early, facility design.
Due to the very nature of work in laboratories, new variables are continually being introduced. This makes any static plan ineffective. To maintain superior and continued safety policies, risk assessments and biosafety plans should be dynamic, living programs; not just mundane exercises.
Why are risk assessments so important? In November of 2001, a New York woman, age 57, showed signs of malaise (general illness), vomiting, headache, and fever. Five weeks later her illness was identified as an infection of Brucella, caused by a clinical sample processed in a lab without proper precautions where she worked (Noviello, et al., 2004).
A Chicago man was evaluated in September 2009 with fever, body aches, and a cough. Three days later...
Find the entire white paper, "An Inexact Science: Biosafety Risk Assessment" by Brian Garrett in Bioresearch Online.
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