1.1  Introduction

1.2  Environmental Health and Safety Biological and Chemical Safety Program

1.3  Laboratory Management

1.4  Staff/Students

1.5  Institutional Biological Safety Committee

1.1       Introduction

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines biohazards (biological hazards) as "infectious agents presenting a risk or potential risk to the well-being of man, or other animals, either directly through infection or indirectly through disruption of the environment."

Proper handling and disposal of biohazardous materials greatly reduces the potential for exposure to infectious or harmful agents.  General information and guidelines are presented in this chapter.  Details for the safe use of specific biological agents and rDNA may be obtained from Environmental Health and Safety, Biological and Chemical Safety.


1.2       Environmental Health and Safety Biological and Chemical Safety Program

Environmental Health and Safety Biological and Chemical Safety Program (EHS-B&C) will: 

         provide consultation and technical information for handling biological agents

         review proposals and protocols (Notification of Use, NOU) for the use of human products, hazardous biological agents, rDNA, human gene therapy, and submit these to the Institutional BioSafety Committee, and provide the Institutional Biological Safety Committee with recommendations

         oversee registration of Select Agent users and laboratories with the CDC

         receiving and shipping of Select Agents

         present biological safety seminars upon request

         oversee the annual certification of biological safety cabinets by an outside contractor

         provide weekly autoclave efficacy testing for waste decontamination autoclaves

         review and approve purchases of biological safety cabinets and other safety-related equipment

         survey laboratories for compliance with approved standards and policies of UTMB, CDC and NIH, and other governing agencies

         provide assistance or advice in the disinfection of facilities and equipment

         assist in the development of safety plans and training programs

         BioSafety Officer will notify agencies of incidents and accidents as appropriate to local, state and federal regulations and guidelines including but not limited to CDC/DSAT, NIH-OBA and USDA/APHIS

         BioSafety Officer will notify IBC of incidents and accidents that require reporting to federal agencies including but not limited to NIH-OBA, USDA/APHIS and CDC/DSAT


1.3       Laboratory Management

Management will: 

         observe the established guidelines and polices for biological safety

         ensure that laboratory personnel are trained in the hazards and safe handling procedures of biological agents

         encourage employees to report any changes or suspected changes in their health status

         advise Environmental Health and Safety - Biological and Chemical Safety of any significant changes in laboratory protocol for the use of biological agents


1.4       Staff/Students

Staff/Students will: 

         observe the established guidelines and policies for biological safety

         inform immediate supervisor of any unsafe practices or conditions in the work area

         report to supervisor any change or suspected change in their health status if there is a possibility it may be work-related

         report all biological spills and accidents to their supervisor


1.5       Institutional Biological Safety Committee

The Institutional Biological Safety Committee will: 

         establish general policies and standards for the safe use of biologicals at UTMB

         define categories of biohazardous agents and rDNA to determine if specific policies are needed for their safe use

         review Notification of Use (NOU) applications for research involving biological agents and recombinant DNA/RNA molecules

         approve, recommend changes, or deny the use of the biological agents or rDNA/RNA molecules

         ensure that there are no undue hazards to the participants, other staff members, or the public

         verify the adequacy of the technical procedures performed in order to minimize occupational exposure

         review the qualifications of the applicant undertaking the proposed research