Biosafety Risk Assessment / Risk Groups
A Risk Assessment is the best method for determining the proper Biosafety Level (BSL) and safety practices that will be required for your work or any potential exspoures to biohazardous agents that may occur. It should be based on the agent(s) and manipulations of the agent that you will perform. Risk Assessments should be performed prior to beginning work with a biohazardous agent or at any time when a change occurs to exsisting procedures, protocols and SOP's. Basic risk assessment steps are summarized below.
- Identify the Risk Group that has been assigned to a biohazardous agent. Risk Group classifications indicate the specific hazards associated with a particular bacteria, virus, or other biohazard. Consult the references listed below for your agent(s).
- Identify laboratory procedure hazards. Procedures that produce aerosols, working with sharps, working with animals, working with large/concentrated volumes of biohazardous agent(s) as well as many other procedures carried out in a typical laboratory can have varying levels of risk associated with.
- Determine the appropriate BSL and select additional precautions indicated by inital risk assessment.
- Evaluate the proficiences of the staff regarding safe practices and integrity of safety equipment.
- Review the risk assessment with a biosafety professional, subject matter expert, and the Insitutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
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References - Biological Agent Risk Groups
- American Biological Safety Association Risk Group Classification for Infectious Agents.
- CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition - Agent Summary Statements
- NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant and/or Synthetic DNA Molecules
- Public Health Agency of Canada Pathogen Safety Data Sheets