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Biological hazards

Mischkultur Schimmelpilzamsammlung© Vomberg - KAN

Bioengineering activities specifically involving biological agents (e.g. bacteria or viruses) pose risks such as infections and allergies for workers (see also the German Ordinance on Safety and Health Protection at Workplaces Involving Biological Agents). A comprehensive package of European standards focuses on measures such as technical and organisational procedures to prevent such risks, particularly in the area of biotechnology. Product standardization relating to work equipment such as microbiological safety cabinets plays an important role in this context. Tasks involving incidental contact with microorganisms, such as in composting plants or medical laboratories, are also subject to OSH-related standardization (for example by way of the development of measurement methods for the detection of certain biological agents). Also useful in this context is the database of biological agents maintained by the DGUV, BG RCI and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: www.dguv.de/ifa/gestis-biological-agents.

In recent years, KAN has also addressed two CWA documents in this area:
CWA 15793 Laboratory Biorisk Management
CWA 16335 Biosafety Professional Competence

Position papers by the German Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS) exist on both CWA documents. KAN was involved in and supported development of these papers. A need for these CWA documents, development of which was not truly consensus-based, is not seen in Germany. CWA 15793 is currently being transposed as an ISO standard (ISO 35001). Recently it is also planned to convert CWA 16335 into an ISO standard.