Understanding differences in microbial hazards and handling procedures is key to ensuring occupational safety when working with biohazard materials.
Laboratories working with pathogenic microorganisms conduct important research needed to protect public health and the environment. This is especially true of chemical engineering research that works with biological agents, including vaccine development and translational medicine developing disease treatment and prevention measures. Laboratory employees regularly risk exposure to pathogens and other biohazardous infectious materials that can cause serious, even fatal, effects.
To help laboratory employers protect their personnel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines four biosafety levels (BSLs) associated with increasing hazards, along with specific laboratory practices and safety guidelines to help employees effectively identify and mitigate risks.
This article reviews some of the most important elements of safety for laboratories that work with biological hazards, and some of the key management takeaways for an operation that handles these materials.
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