are recognized as places that use a wide assortment of highly hazardous
materials. When working with these materials every day, it is easy
to forget about the harm these materials can cause if they are stolen.
Also, it easy to overlook the risk of highly hazardous materials
that are used very infrequently. Following the terrorist attacks
of September 2001 and the "anthrax letters" sent the same
month, much attention has been directed to practical measures that
will keep hazardous materials out of the hands of terrorists and
investigators need to take specific actions to prevent unauthorized
entry to labs, secure highly hazardous materials against theft,
and ensure compliance with new security regulations. Environmental
Health & Safety urges principal investigators to implement procedures
necessary to provide security of all hazardous materials in their
areas of responsibility. One objective is to minimize the risk of
theft, especially during that five-minute window when the lab is
left unattended. One easy way to increase security is to make sure
that your laboratory door is locked whenever the lab is left unattended,
even for a few minutes.
laboratories already implement various security measures, including
locking up controlled substances and syringes and needles. Principal
investigators should review and assess the security of their highly
hazardous materials, such as infectious agents, toxins, radioactive
materials, acutely toxic chemicals, carcinogens, teratogens, explosive
or reactive chemicals, and compressed gases. The following guidelines
were adapted from Appendix F of the CDC/NIH publication, Biosafety
in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. The guidelines are
intended to reduce the risk for unauthorized removal of hazardous
materials from your laboratory:
that laboratory security is related to but different from laboratory
safety and develop a site-specific security policy. Security,
as used in this discussion, refers to measures used to control
access to the laboratory in order to prevent theft of materials
or equipment from the lab.
your laboratory for hazardous materials and particular security
and implement lab security procedures for your lab group.
your lab group on these security procedures and assign responsibilities.
access to areas where hazardous materials are used and stored.
and lock laboratory doors when no one is present. Consider
the use of card-keys or similar devices when the risk warrants.
not leave hazardous materials unattended or unsecured at
freezers, refrigerators, storage cabinets, and other equipment
where biological agents, hazardous chemicals, or radioactive
materials are stored when they are not in use.
who is in your laboratory area.
using a logbook for staff to sign in and out of the lab
each day or using carded access devices for this purpose.
laboratory access to those individuals who need to be in
lab workers (including students, visiting scientists and
other short-term workers) should wear identification badges.
off-hours access to individuals authorized by the principal
should be issued badges and escorted to and from the lab.
Approach people you don't recognize who appear to be wandering
in laboratory areas and ask if you can help direct them.
what materials are being brought into your lab.
what hazardous materials are being ordered and shipped to
rid of unneeded hazardous materials.
a log to sign highly hazardous materials in and out of secure
periodic inventory of all highly hazardous chemicals, biological
agents/toxins, radioactive materials, and controlled substances.
what materials are being removed from your lab.
the use and disposal of hazardous materials.
written permission prior to removal of highly hazardous
materials from the lab.
any missing inventory to the UK Police (257-5770).
an emergency plan.
that controlling access can make emergency response more
emergency plans with administrators, safety and security
officials and, if necessary, outside experts.
emergency plans with lab personnel.
emergency responders with information on serious hazards.
a protocol for reporting security incidents.
investigators, in cooperation with facility safety and security
officials, should have policies and procedures in place
for the reporting and investigation of incidents or possible
incidents, such as undocumented visitors, missing hazardous
materials, or unusual or threatening phone calls.
laboratory staff on procedures.
anti-bioterrorism legislation mandates federal regulations to control
access to biological agents; rules are due out later this year.
Specific guidance will distributed as soon as it becomes available.
If you need assistance evaluating security risks or developing security
measures for your laboratory, call our lab safety specialist, Lee
Poore, at 257-2924.
Send Comments to J. King