October marks the fifth anniversary of Biosafety Month, a tradition started by the National Institutes of Health and continued through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA International). Biosafety Month is a period of time when individuals and organizations are encouraged to focus on and reinforce their attention to biosafety and biosecurity standards. The theme for this year is “Promoting a Culture of Biosafety and Responsibility” with the social networking hashtag #getyourcultureon.
Here are a few things you and your lab can do to foster a culture of biosafety and responsibility:
- Be knowledgeable about the agents with which you are working. Take the appropriate precautions, including the use of a certified biosafety cabinet or fume hood and wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and lab coats.
- Don’t inadvertently spread your agents outside of the lab. Wash your hands regularly, keep your cellphone away from potential contamination, and dispose of hazardous waste correctly.
- Employees who work in a laboratory should attend initial laboratory safety training and take annual refresher courses thereafter.
- Principal investigators and lab managers should register their research staff and general laboratory hazards in the online laboratory audit management system. When a lab audit is conducted, promptly review the findings and take corrective actions.
- Research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids molecules, infectious agents, and/or human materials should be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) through the CICERO system.
UMB’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff are available to answer your questions and provide assistance by phone at 410-706-7055 or online at this EHS webpage.