Biosafety evaluates the safety and risks involved with handling and containing infectious substances and hazardous materials. Addressing these risks, and establishing protocols to protect worker safety, is a vital part of UPHL’s mission. However, biosafety should be an integral part of any biological laboratory.
Where does biosafety fit into a laboratory program? Who benefits and who pays for it? Why do we emphasize biosafety in our work paradigm?
These are defining questions about an aspect of laboratory work that has only recently been defined. The answers all come down to a single word, Risk.
The fact laboratorians face risk in their environment is not news. Our work is inherently risky by working to identify unknown pathogens. We work with a myriad of organisms in ways that actually propagate bacteria and viruses that cause disease. Biosafety is a tool we can use to mitigate those risks to the laboratory worker. Maintaining a safe and healthy workforce benefits the worker, the facility, and the community. Applying a culture of biosafety in our work prevents laboratory acquired infections, reduces time away from work due to illness, reduces costs for re-training and establishing coverage, and allows the essential health care service of the laboratory to run smoothly.
The laboratory is a cornerstone of health care and a crucible for diagnostic and healing tools. Biosafety principles and practices assist the good work performed by people in laboratories, who are vital components of wellness for all.
At UPHL, we emphasize the wellness of our staff in many ways. Biosafety is a facet of a holistic approach to worker satisfaction. The proximity to unknown pathogens from a large population poses risk to our dedicated staff that we address with adherence to biosafety standards. Maintaining a safe environment ensures the continuance of the essential responsibilities we accept as stewards of the public health laboratory service to the citizens of Utah.