What is it? Why is it important?
During the handling of BM, staff may be exposed to biological agents (e.g. bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and their associated toxins), including harmful chemical reagents.
Biological agents carry the risk of:
- Contracting infectious diseases (e.g. HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis)
- Contracting respiratory diseases (e.g. COVID-19)
- Becoming ill due to toxins (e.g. diphtheria toxin, pertussis toxin)
- Developing cancers (e.g. aflatoxins cause oesophageal and liver cancer, hepatitis C cause liver cancer)
Consumables and chemicals used during the processing of BM carry health risks such as:
- The exposure to toxic, corrosive or flammable substances
- The development of allergies (e.g. to laboratory latex gloves)
What do I need to do?
Based on the set-up of your biobank:
- Define potential risks to your biobanking staff. Make a list of risk areas and include:
- Biological- and lab reagents
- Infectious organisms (e.g. FOEN classification of organisms).
- Laboratory equipment
- Hazardous storage material such as Liquid Nitrogen
- Define risk control-measures to reduce risks such as to ensure that:
- Equipment remains in optimal condition (e.g. regular equipment maintenance checks, followed by applicable repairs)
- Staff has access to safety information and are aware of safety warnings (e.g. warning labels on laboratory equipment / chemical reagents, safety instruction sheets on how to safely process BM)
- Staff remains up-dated and trained on safety procedures
- Document risk management procedures in a SOP/WI, or in a project/study relevant Risk Assessment Form
For the definition of safety procedures and the training of biobank staff, do not hesitate to consult biosafety- or alternative safety experts. These experts can support and confirm the correct assessment and implementation of your risk management strategy.
Where can I get help?
Your local CTU↧ can support you with experienced staff regarding this topic
Basel, Departement Klinische Forschung, CTU, dkf.unibas.ch
Lugano, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU-EOC, www.ctueoc.ch
Bern, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU, www.ctu.unibe.ch
Geneva, Clinical Research Center, CRC, crc.hug.ch
Lausanne, Clinical Research Center, CRC, www.chuv.ch
St. Gallen, Clinical Trials Unit, CTU, www.kssg.ch
Zürich, Clinical Trials Center, CTC, www.usz.ch
The Swiss Biobanking Platform (SBP) can provide you with support on this topic.
SOPs, Forms and Templates – see in particular
- Personnel management SOP
- Personnel file
FOEN – see in particular
- Topics / biotechnology/publications-studies/ Managing biological risks in contained systems
- Topics / biotechnology/publications-studies/ Classification of Organisms