Biosafety Roles & Responsibilities

In order to have an efficient and effective Biosafety Program at the University of Missouri the campus is divided into 6 distinct categories for roles and responsibilities.

Principal Investigators and Supervisors (Permitted Individuals)

Principal investigators and supervisors (Permitted Individuals) have primary responsibility for safety when work is conducted with biohazardous materials. Their responsibilities include:

  • Submit application forms to EHS of locations where rDNA or Biosafety Level 2 or 3 research activities are conducted.
  • Submit the initial research protocol and any subsequent changes to the IBC for review and approval prior to initiating rDNA or Biosafety Level 2 or 3 research activities.
  • Submit renewal form to IBC for all rDNA and Biosafety Level 2 or 3 research activities every 3 years after initial approval date.
  • Report any newly identified select agents, high consequence livestock pathogen or toxins and plant pathogens immediately to EHS.
  • Notify EHS of all persons who use biohazardous material in their work location and ensure these persons receive appropriate training.
  • Attend the Introduction to Biosafety training course and the Biosafety Refresher course a minimum of every three years thereafter.
  • Maintain a current and up-to-date inventory of biohazardous material.
  • Complete and post appropriate biohazard signs, labels and Emergency Notification Signage.
  • Request collection of Biohazardous Unwanted Materials in a timely manner.
  • Ensure availability of reference information on biological hazards, and ensure that all staff understands how to use these references.
  • Conduct risk assessments of each task involving biohazardous material. Assess risks in order to set the biosafety level for the proposed work. Make an initial determination of the required levels of physical and biological containment in accordance with the MU Biosafety Manual; select appropriate microbiological practices and laboratory techniques to be used for the research.
  • Ensure that all workers under their supervision use proper Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Understand the proper procedures to use in the event of a release or other emergency.
  • Work with EHS monitoring personnel to maintain safe work areas in compliance with MU policies and government regulations.
  • Comply with shipping requirements for recombinant DNA and biohazardous materials.
  • Control Ancillary Worker access to areas where biological hazards may be present.
  • Complete proper Biohazardous Materials Laboratory Closure prior to termination of work with biohazardous materials.
  • Report all significant violations, releases, spills, injuries or illnesses related to biohazardous materials use.

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Biohazard Workers

Biohazard Workers are persons who work under the supervision of a Principal Investigator or Supervisor (Permitted Individual). Most of these employees work with biohazardous materials on a daily basis. Their responsibilities include:

  • Attend the Introduction to Biosafety training course and then the Biosafety refresher course a minimum of every three years thereafter.
  • Report promptly all accidents, biohazardous exposures, work (or possibly work) related illnesses, hazardous circumstances and incidents to their supervisor.
  • Know and follow all proper protocols and procedures for acquisition, use, storage, and disposal of biohazardous materials.
  • Know where to find and how to properly use reference information and resources on biohazardous materials.
  • Know how to respond to releases and other emergencies involving biohazardous materials.
  • Be familiar with and use Personal Protective Equipment needed for safety.
  • Work with EHS monitoring personnel to maintain safe work areas that comply with MU policies and government regulations.
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Ancillary workers (non-biohazard qualified personnel)

Ancillary Workers are persons who work in areas containing biohazardous materials, but who do not normally work directly with these biohazardous materials. Examples of Ancillary Workers are custodial staff, ITS, maintenance staff, delivery and visiting personnel, and police officers. Their responsibilities are as follows:

  • Attend the Ancillary Worker Biosafety training course and subsequent refresher training a minimum of every three years thereafter.
  • Take precautions to avoid disturbing biohazardous materials.
  • Report releases and other unsafe conditions involving biohazardous materials to their supervisor.
  • Be familiar with and use proper Personal Protective Equipment needed for safety.
  • Request assistance from Supervisor or EHS when uncertain about risks related to biohazardous materials.
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Deans, Directors, Administrators, and Department Heads

  • Be familiar with the MU Biosafety program guidelines and provide safety leadership.
  • Assist EHS in communicating major announcements and identifying appropriate personnel for Registered User status.
  • Review EHS Biosafety inspections to assist in resolving problem situations.
  • Identify funding sources when needed to correct safety hazards and ensure that appropriate facilities are available to control biohazards.
  • Assure that the Permitted Individual and all personnel have necessary training.
  • Assure proper laboratory closure is completed prior to termination of biohazardous material use or storage.
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Environmental Health & Safety

Environmental Health & Safety is the campus administrative unit that oversees the Biosafety Program. Specific responsibilities of EHS include:

  • Develop guidelines for the campus community so that biohazardous materials are used safely and in compliance with government regulations.
  • Maintain databases of information related to the MU Biosafety program.
  • Provide or arrange appropriate training programs to meet the campus community needs.
  • Periodic monitoring of areas where biohazardous materials are used or stored to assure that program guidelines are met.
  • Advise the campus community on biosafety matters.
  • Collect and dispose of biohazardous Unwanted Materials in an environmentally sound and cost-effective manner.
  • Assist in arrangement for the proper shipping and transportation of biohazardous materials.
  • Serve as the liaison with regulatory agencies such as Center of Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Department of Transportation, and Department of Agriculture.
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Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

The Institutional Biosafety Committee is appointed by the Office of Research, Innovation and Impact.

See the Institutional Biosafety Committee page for responsibilities and meeting dates.

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