Journal Articles

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Applied Biosafety


INTRODUCTION: The health and safety issues encountered by biosafety professionals in the daily conduct of their work is rarely limited solely to potentially infectious pathogens. A basic understanding of the other types of hazards inherent to laboratories is necessary. As such, management of the health and safety program at an academic health institution sought to ensure crosscutting competency for its technical staff, including staff members within the biosafety program.

METHODS: Using a focus group approach, a team of safety professionals from a variety of specialties developed a list of 50 basic health and safety items that any safety specialist should know, inclusive of basic but important information about biosafety that was considered imperative for staff members to understand. This list was used as the basis for a formal cross-training effort.

RESULTS: Staff responded positively to the approach and the associated cross-training, and overall compliance with an array of health and safety expectations was experienced across the institution. Subsequently, the list of questions has been shared broadly with other organizations for their own consideration and use.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: The codification of the basic knowledge expectations for technical staff within a health and safety program at an academic health institution, which includes the biosafety program technical staff, was warmly received and helped establish what information was expected to be known and what issues warranted input from other specialty areas. The cross-training expectations served to expand the health and safety services provided despite resource limitations and organizational growth.


training, biosafety professional, professional development, cross-training, continuing education

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