Biosafety Stewardship Initiative
In the wake of widely publicized lapses in safety practices at federal laboratories,
the U.S. Government has mandated a “Safety Stand-Down” to allow federal departments
and agencies to devote considerable attention to safe research practices. As part
of this effort, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) declared September as National Biosafety Stewardship Month and has encouraged grantee institutions like OSU to take part in this initiative.
To fulfill the NIH request in such a way as to impose on OSU researchers as little
as possible while being thorough in our efforts, the IBC is asking all OSU faculty
and staff who utilize biohazardous materials to take part in its new Biosafety Stewardship
Initiative. Investigator participation in this program will aid the university in
meeting federal expectations to ensure that research is being carried out in the safest
manner possible by reexamining current biosafety policies and practices, conducting
inventories of infectious agents and biologically-derived toxins in each laboratory,
and reinforcing biosafety training.
Each principal investigator (PI) who utilizes biohazardous materials (i.e., all viable
infectious, pathogenic, or toxin-producing agents, prions, biologically-derived toxins,
or nucleic acid constructs that have the potential to affect the health of humans,
animals, plants, or the environment) is required to:
- review laboratory-specific biosafety policies and procedures and, if necessary, modify
them to optimize effectiveness;
- review training records and ensure that all laboratory members are current (within
the last year) for laboratory-specific training, hazard communications training, and
laboratory safety training; and
- conduct an inventory of all infectious agents (i.e., human, animal, and plant pathogens)
and biologically-derived toxins (i.e., naturally occurring molecules produced by animals,
plants, microorganisms, or other biological agents that have a medial lethal dose
value of less than 50 mg/kg) in his or her laboratory to ensure proper handling/storage
and documentation of these materials (please see below for details).
Infectious Agent and Toxin Inventory Guidelines
To ensure that all agents are properly stored and accounted for, each PI must maintain
an accurate inventory of all infectious materials and biologically-derived toxins
under his or her control. This inventory should include not only agents regularly
in use, but agents in long term storage as well. Please check all freezers, refrigerators,
and cold rooms to ensure that all infectious agents and biologically-derived toxins
are inventoried. A list of information that must be included for each agent/toxin
can be found below. Please note that a tube-by-tube count of the agents is not necessary.
- Agent name and strain designation, if applicable
- Storage method (e.g., -80°C freezer, refrigerator, liquid nitrogen, etc.)
- Storage location (i.e., building and room)
Materials that are no longer needed and those that cannot be documented (i.e., unlabeled
materials) should be decontaminated by autoclaving and disposed of. The Biosafety
Officer must be contacted immediately if an unregistered select agent or toxin is discovered. There will be no penalty for reporting the discovery of these items.
Once the initial inventories are received and reviewed, the IBC will determine how
often researchers will be expected to update their inventory documents with the Biosafety
Documentation of Activities
Each OSU investigator who utilizes biohazardous materials in research and/or teaching
activities must submit a completed Biosafety Stewardship Initiative Form and a current
inventory of the infectious agents and biologically-derived toxins under his or her
control to the Biosafety Office. We will accept inventory documents in any form provided
that the above information is included. However, an inventory template is available
should you wish to use it.
Participation in this initiative is mandatory. Failure to submit the required documents
could result in suspension or termination of research and/or teaching activities.
For questions or assistance, please contact the Biosafety Office.