Earlier this month, NIH announced that October is National Biosafety Stewardship Month (NBSM) for 2015. The purpose of NBSM is to encourage institutions to focus on their biosafety programs and reinforce biosafety policies, procedures, and work practices.
The focus of the 2015 NBSM is sustaining and enhancing a culture of safety and responsibility in life science research laboratories. Institutions are encouraged to focus their attention on training, engagement, and transparency. Now is a good time to identify ways to enhance your biosafety training program, and ensure that the SOPs in place are current. Taking the time to confirm that researchers are actually following the established biosafety policies is a critical step in a well-established training program. Senior institutional research administrators and principal investigators are being encouraged to take an active role in supporting and promoting their biosafety programs. You might consider taking a look at your safety committee membership to ensure that senior management is actively participating. Institutions are being encouraged to highlight their successes and oversight of biosafety. Consider adding a review of the successes and challenges faced with the biosafety program to the next Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting agenda.
Remember that the intent of designating one month as NBSM does not mean that October is the only month to focus on biosafety. The NIH is requesting that extra efforts and focus be placed on biosafety during this month, with continuous biosafety considerations taking place throughout the year.