Biological agents - Kunnskapsbasen
The following guidelines to ensure a safe work environment when the work involves biological agents and materials are designed for managers who have HSE responsibilities.
Norsk versjon - Arbeid med biologiske faktorer
Guidelines for individuals who work with biological agents and materials
Topic page about HSE | Pages tagged with HSE
Before you begin working with biological agents
Before your work begins you should have the following:
- Suitable facilities for the planned activity. Read more about the requirements for designing animal test facilities, laboratory containment (in Norwegian) and containment of genetically modified organisms (in Norwegian)
- An updated inventory of chemical safety data sheets with information about all products that contain biological agents that will be used in the planned work.
- A risk assessment of the planned activity.
- Measures to control all risks:
- write up safe work routines
- warning signs
- personal protective equipment
- medical examination
- first aid in case of animal bites, accidential needle sticks or in case of contamination from blood products
- Everyone involved (including operations and building personnel) should be informed about what kind of biological agents they might be exposed to, and any potential health risks.
Genetically modified microorganisms
Genetic engineering is a technique in which genetic material is isolated, characterized, modified and inserted into living cells or viruses. Genetic engineering is regulated by the genetic engineering law (in Norwegian). The use of genetically modified microorganisms is regulated by regulations concerning the contained use of genetically modified organisms (in Norwegian).
Laboratories and workshops that will be used for contained use of genetically modified organisms should be approved beforehand by the Norwegian Directorate of Health. The use of genetically modified microorganisms should be reported to the same directorate.
Questions to ask during any HSE rounds
- What kind of biological agents are found at the unit?
- What procedures does the unit use to purchase biological material?
- What procedures does the unit use for the use of biological material?
- How is biological material stored and marked?
- Is there an obligation to apply for permission for the use or storage of the unit's biological material (genetically modified organisms, or special laboratory conditions) or is it subject to reporting requirements?
- What procedures does the unit use to dispose of biological material?
- Can the unit's biological material cause infection, allergy or poisoning?
- How are employees and students protected from possible exposure?
- What procedures does the unit have to ensure that medical examinations or vaccines are offered to employees/students if necessary?
When working with biological agents
As the manager in charge of the work, you should ensure that:
- Procedures and plans are adhered to, evaluated and if necessary, altered. Make sure that everyone involved knows about any changes.
- Accidents or adverse events are reported as a problem (log on with your NTNU username and password).
You can also read more about working with biological agents.
Working with biological agents in infection risk groups 3 and 4 may imply registration in the Exposure index. Go to Exposure index to see what actions are necessary. To get into the index: Log into the substance index, click 'Administration' in the menu on the left side, and click 'Exposure'.
- Laboratory and workshop handbook
- Biological agents – guidelines from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- First aid equipment – Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- Household and industrial wastes – guidelines from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- Climate and air quality at the workplace – guidelines from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- Laboratory work - Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- Åndedrettsvern – Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- Pregnancy and the work environment - Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in Norwegian)
- Emergency preparedness
- Risk assessments
- Working with human material
- Working with experimental animals
- Workplaces and facilities (in Norwegian)
- Hazardous infectious and radioactive waste
- Pregnancy and biological factors
- Medical examination
- Laboratory and workshop handbook
- Personal protective equipment
- Hazardous dust
- Safety representatives
- Exposure index
- The Working Environment Act § 4-5 (in Norwegian)
- Law governing the manufacturing and use of genetically modified organisms (in Norwegian) (Genetic Engineering law) - Ministry of the Environment
- Regulations concerning Organisation, Management and Employee Participation, chapters 7 and 15 - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
- The Workplace Regulations, chapters 5 and 8 (in Norwegian) - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
- Regulations concerning the Performance of Work, chapters 2, 3, 6, 8 and 31 - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
- Regulations concerning Action and Limit Values, chapter 5 and annex 2 - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
- Regulation on infectious waste (in Norwegian) - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
- Regulations concerning genetically modified microorganisms (in Norwegian)
- HSE division
- Occupational Health Services
- Margunn Losnegard Karlsen, occupational nurse
- Ann Kristin Sjaastad, occupational hygienist
- Bjørg Aadahl, occupational physician
Approved by Director of HSE - September 1st 2015 - HMSR53E - ePhorte 2016/3901