Post Biological Incident Response Procedures

Biological Accident Investigation

Accidents in laboratories and/or clinics and infections resulting from work with biohazards must be promptly reported to the EHS Biosafety Professional. Prompt and thorough investigations of these incidents can identify their causes so that appropriate actions can be taken to prevent similar occurrences. The IBC Accident Investigation Team was established, as a subcommittee of the IBC, to conduct an investigation of these accidents. The PI, supervisor and laboratory personnel shall provide the IBC Accident Investigation Team with all necessary information and support needed to successfully complete the accident investigation.

It is important the following incidents are investigated: any serious, unusual, or extended illness of a biohazard worker; any accident that involves ingestion, inhalation or dermal contact of infectious organisms; or inoculation of infectious agents and/or rDNA molecules through the skin. If a potentially infectious organism or recombinant DNA molecule were to acquire the capacity to infect and cause disease in humans, the first evidence of this potential may be demonstrated as a laboratory-acquired infection. Verification that an infection is associated with such work or research will provide sufficient warning for re-evaluation of hazards and initiation of additional precautions to protect MU laboratory workers and the public.

The investigation for reporting of all accidents associated with infectious agents or rDNA research should establish the circumstances leading to the accident, including a review of techniques, procedures, types, and uses of equipment that may have been involved in the accident. The IBC Accident Investigation Team report to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) shall provide recommendations for preventing similar occurrences.

Biological Accident Investigation Team

The Biological Accident Investigation Team consists of four members appointed by the IBC (not necessarily from its membership). Three of these members shall be permanent and appointed University faculty/staff for a minimum of two years, the fourth shall be the head of the department or agency in which the laboratory or clinic being investigated belongs. Three permanent members shall consist of:

  • Senior supervisory scientist familiar with toxicology, microbiology & who does/supervises mostly "bench work".
  • Physician or veterinarian who has done research in addition to clinical work.
  • EHS Biological Safety Professional or alternate.

The Team's overall responsibility is to make the University's laboratories and clinics safer places in which to work. This will be accomplished by:

  • Reviewing techniques, kinds and uses of equipment involved in accidents or infections.
  • Establishing the circumstances leading to and causing accidents, injuries, infections or other illnesses.
  • Review facts and minimize assumptions to determine how similar incidents will be prevented in the future.

This investigation is in addition to supervisory investigations already required. The Team may however use the supervisory investigation and its recommendations as part of its overall evaluation of incidents but should also take a possibly broader look at circumstances. The Team will not assign responsibility or recommend disciplinary action. Recommendations will be made to the IBC and/or ACUC.

The Biosafety Professional will aid this Accident Investigation Team by:

  • Selecting accidents/infections for further investigation (a minimum of one investigation per year).
  • Coordinate, centralize, assist, and expedite the accident investigation process.
  • Provide clerical assistance needed by the Accident Investigation Team.
  • Contact Other Resources (MU Expert Microbiologists, State Health Department, etc.).
  • Provide periodic status reports to the IBC.