Biosafety and biosecurity can be brought to the attention of employees in various ways. The Biosecurity Office regularly meets with Biorisk Management Advisors to experience how they address biosecurity awareness specifically in their organisation. The best practices that have been shared are grouped by topic on this page.
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Assessment tools can be used to get an indication of the current states and to estimate risks, but also to create awareness. For example, risk assessments before the start of an investigation, in which the researchers map and assess actions and risks, are becoming increasingly common. Such a risk assessment also provides the Biorisk Management Advisor with information about the lab activities. Other forms of assessment, such as audits, an Internal Compliance Program and GMO risk analyses, can also contribute to increased biosafety awareness. Below are a few more examples.
Overview tools can be useful to make information about biosecurity and biosafety more accessible. For example, an intranet page about biorisk is a useeful central place where employees can find links to all relevant procedures for carrying out work safely, information about legal frameworks and biorisk contact persons. Flow charts can also be made to show researchers who they can approach for what or what legislation the employee has to deal with when transporting biological agents. In some organizations a research support office has been set up, which also provides support in the field of biosafety.
Guidelines & legal framework
Legislation and regulations concerning biosecurity and dual-use are complex. In order to make the legal frameworks easily accessible, it is important to provide researchers and other employees at the lab with guidelines and guidelines. This can be achieved in a one-on-one meeting when, for example, permits or transport are discussed, but can also be in the form of written guidelines. An internal code of conduct for high-risk activities and guidelines for international agreements on biosecurity (eg Guidance ISO35001) contribute to increasing biosecurity awareness.
Employees often receive training or courses prior to their work in the lab. In some organizations, training is mandatory for all employees who will work at a BSL-2 lab (or higher). This training or course is often given by the biological safety officer. Biosecurity can be a theme in a general course for lab employees or the practical microbiological techniques course, but you can also organize specific information on biosecurity or an interactive Lunch & Learn session. One-on-one personal conversations can also contribute to the biosecurity awareness of employees.
E-learning modules on biosafety and biosecurity is a widely used tool to create biosafety awareness among researchers and other employees who work (in labs) with pathogens. Most organizations make their own e-learning modules, which are specifically tailored to their own organization. E-learning is often used for new employees, but can also be used periodically to refresh knowledge. E-learning has the advantage that it can be followed in phases and at employees' own pace, the knowledge is easy to test and the module can be used as a reference work. Below are some examples.
Awareness raising tools are specifically aimed at creating biosecurity awareness among employees. For example, biosecurity can be brought to the attention in (internal) newsletters, signs can be used (e.g. to draw attention to different waste streams) or reminders of biosecurity can be placed in the lab (e.g. floating racks or biosecurity postcards). Training and the use of assessment tools among employees, such as the dual-use quick scan, also contribute to biosecurity awareness.