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biohazard.jfifBiological safety, as with all safety, starts with you being aware of the risks you are about to take or be exposed to, with the molecules, organisms and animals you are about to use. There are a number of aids to help you be safe.

Start by reading the NDMRB-SOP-007 Handling of biological material, this has its roots in the University policy statement S6/05 and the all new S5/09.  When you have read this guidance note, make sure to record this on your staff training form.

Biological COSHH and risk assessments must be carried out before work commences. Talk to the Biological Safety Officer or Lab Manager to ensure that you use the correct forms. Both can give you the relevant advice with regards to completing risk assessments and will also have a record of existing assessments. It is important that these assessments are carried out by the appropriate member of staff.

Genetically Modified Material

gm-picture.jfifAn appropriate risk assessment approved by the departmental Genetic Modification Safety Committee is required before any work with or storage of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can commence. This includes both novel modifications of micro-organisms, cell lines, or transgenic animals of any kind within the laboratory or the holding of and work with such GMOs generated elsewhere and imported into the department, laboratory, or biomedical services unit.

N.B. possession of vectors such as phages, plasmids, YACs, BACs etc. will not require an assessment, but one must be completed and approved prior to any subsequent transformation or transfection of cells. However, many viral vector systems are themselves considered to be GMOs and must be covered by an assessment before they are obtained or used.

To expedite the process please contact the Chair of the NDM-RB GM committee for advice before starting any assessment. Also note that any significant changes to work covered by an existing assessment must be discussed in advance with the Chair of the NDM-RB GM committee as approval may be necessary.

Every year a biological survey will be sent to each group. This is the time when assessments should be reviewed and amended if necessary. Please contact the Biological Safety Officer for advice.

The assessments need approval BEFORE the work can start!