Some research or laboratory activities include the manipulation of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, cells, etc.), some of which are natural, genetically modified, and/or infectious, and can cause illness and disease in healthy humans. Biosafety can be defined as a combination of factors designed to safely manipulate and contain these microorganisms, while ensuring that human health is not compromised. The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS) has developed a Biosafety Manual and other supporting documents, which provide general guidance for the recognition, evaluation, and control of biological hazards. The Biosafety Manual is written in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the Center for Disease Control’s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition, and those outlined in the National Institutes of Health’s Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules.
In addition, EHS has developed a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan (ECP), which provides general guidance in the recognition, evaluation, and control of hazards associated with exposure to human blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) that may contain bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). THE ECP is written in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1030 (OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard), and outlines the minimum requirements for working safely in an environment where exposure to human blood or OPIM is possible.
While EHS has provided general guidance for working safely with biological hazards and bloodborne pathogens, it is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator or his/her designee, or area supervisors to write specific SOPs for work with biohazards and infectious agents, as these documents do not address specific procedures that are used in the work environment.