Workplace Biorisk Management

Biorisk Management

The NIOH has identified the risk to hazardous biological agents in the workplace as a critical element to the burden of disease and where preventing transmission and protecting worker exposure is highly needed.  Therefore, the Immunology & Microbiology Section hosted a five-day course on Workplace BioRisk Management from 20-24 November 2017 at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown Johannesburg.  The course intended to close the existing knowledge gaps and empower attendees with the needed skills through lectures, demonstrations, satellite sessions, case studies, problem solving, current best practices to prevent and control biological exposure in various work settings.

The scope of occupational health includes workers, co-workers, family members, employers, customers and the community.  Therefore, this advanced course focused on employees and communities’ health and safety and introduced the concept of biorisk management, which combines risk Assessment, risk Mitigation, and Performance of systems – AMP model based on the World Health Organization’s approach. The material complements the global strategy on occupational biorisk management.

The interactive course builds the knowledge and skills of participants providing an opportunity to be hands on and apply the AMP principle to identify and control the biosafety and biosecurity risks in the workplace and nearby communities’.

The Biorisk management course was designed to:

  • enhance understanding of occupational exposure to biological agents in the workplace and surrounding environments,
  • provide an overview of how to recognize or identify biohazards,
  • assess and mitigate the risks as required by the Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) Regulation (No. 22956),
  • demonstrate monitoring of hazardous biological agents (HBAs),
  • provide guidance on overall preventative strategies, and
  • cover applicable testing modalities.

Expected outcomes include:

  • to raise greater awareness of biological hazards that workers may be exposed to and to promote worker rights and decent work for all,
  • to recognise sources of HBA exposure in the workplace,
  • to conduct a comprehensive HBAs risk assessment in the workplace,
  • to link the knowledge gained on BRM to HBA exposure in the workplace,
  • to recommend intervention strategies for reducing or controlling workplace exposure,
  • to select the appropriate sampling and analytical techniques for monitoring of various HBAs,
  • to utilise the available expertise of Biorisk Management in South Africa,
  • to enable the development and implementation of a Biorisk Management strategy for the workplace.

The 6 modules covered are: Biorisk Overview; Biorisk Assessment Strategies; Biorisk mitigation strategies; Biorisk Performance Strategies; Psychological Well-being; and Incident Management & Risk Communication

For more information on this training please contact: Dr Tanusha Singh   |   Head: Immunology and Microbiology   |   011 712 6475   |   tanusha.singh@nioh.nhls.ac.za