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Chapter 19 : Prudent Biosafety Practices
This chapter focuses on worker protection; however, the use of prudent biosafety practices can also protect coworkers, and the local community, from infection and protect the work, product, and the environment from contamination. The National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Hazardous Biological Substances in the Laboratory recommended seven basic prudent biosafety practices to avoid exposure to infectious agents. These practices provide barriers against the known routes of exposure for most diseases and are recommended for work with any biohazardous agent. The chapter discusses criteria for use of containment levels for human pathogens. Indigenous and exotic agents vary by country and within regions of some countries; thus, there must be some flexibility for the assignment of containment levels. Using the voluntary guidelines and mandated regulations, work practices are selected or developed to provide appropriate barriers to prevent exposure and subsequent infection in the trained, healthy adult worker. The chapter talks about examples of barriers that can be used to block the known points of entry and routes of transmission of infection. Pipetting was one technique associated with laboratory infections in the past. To manage the risk of working with biohazards and to actually reduce the risk of exposure, one must identify and interpret the recommended practices. Immunocompromised individuals need extra precautions to prevent exposure to microbial agents, even at biosafety level 1 (BSL-1).
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