The risk assessment is performed in order to assign the appropriate containment level. The risks associated with working with biohazardous materials need to be assessed and addressed. The responsibility for assessing the risks associated with biohazardous materials or obtaining an initial assessment lies with the investigator. The assessment helps to reduce the risks associated with handling the materials plus it results in protection for workers and the environment.
Risk assessments seek to determine both the probability of particular risks and the consequences if the risks occur.
A risk assessment is to be performed by the PI before the initiation of each protocol. The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) will confirm during its review that the proposed risk group(s) is appropriate for the proposed activity. The risk assessment is to be evaluated based on requirements for using Recombinant DNA and/or other biological agents and toxins, particularly select agents.
The following criteria must be considered when determining the risk involved.
Factors that are considered in the assessment are:
Transmissibility and mode of transmission
Availability of therapeutic treatments
Level of training and experience
Ability to wear required PPE
Aerosol generating activities
Potential for self-innoculation
Concentration and nature of samples
Level of containment available vs. required
Lab facility conditions
Factors affecting containment (i.e. air flow)
Availability of emergency support (i.e. eye wash, spill kits)
Access by public (i.e. students, visitors)
Standard operating procedures
Location within lab
Equipment specific hazards