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Have You Updated Your Biosafety Manual Recently?

Even if it is not required by a specific regulation, laboratories working with biological materials should have an active biosafety manual in place. Has your facility developed and implemented a biosafety manual, and has it been updated recently?

The CDC publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) states that each laboratory should develop a biosafety manual that identifies the hazards present in their labs, and the practices and procedures in place to minimize or eliminate exposure to the hazards. To be in compliance with OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030, an Exposure Control Plan must be developed and implemented. The BBP standard requires that the Exposure Control Plan be reviewed and updated at least annually and when changes to the program occur.

Many local Board of Health Departments require that biosafety manuals be in place and submitted to their offices as an integral part of permit application processes. For example, a biosafety manual is required to obtain a recombinant DNA permit from most local Boards of Health.

Remember that it is not sufficient to develop a written biosafety manual, put it on a shelf, and never look at it again. Manuals must be tailored to the specific program elements implemented at your facility, and accurately reflect the work practices to be followed. The biosafety manual must be revised and updated as the program changes, and on an annual basis at a minimum. As job safety analyses are conducted, SOPs may be developed and can be included as appendices to your biosafety manual. Employees are required to be made aware of the biosafety manual, and all affected employees should read the document. Developing a comprehensive and succinct document that informs employees of the hazards and how they can properly protect themselves will encourage employees to review your biosafety manual.

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