Biosafety

Overview

Biosafety, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the discipline addressing the safe handling and containment of infectious microorganisms and hazardous biological materials. There are four biosafety level (BSL) risk groups– BSL1, BSL2, BSL3, and BSL4. The higher the level, the more risk associated with that biological agent. Therefore, each level has specific containment guidelines to ensure those working with the biological hazard are kept safe. See RIT Biosafety Level Table on the right side of this webpage.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to oversee work with biohazards and infectious agents on campus. This committee is comprised of individuals from applicable disciplines on campus as well as required non-RIT individuals with appropriate expertise. This committee ensures the implementation of policies and manages potential hazards related to biological materials at RIT.

IBC Mission

The mission of the Institutional Biosafety Committee is to:

  1. Ensure that all recombinant DNA research activities at the Rochester Institute of Technology comply with Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules ( “NIH Guidelines”)
  2. Ensure that protocols for all research undertaken at RIT which use or produce biohazardous organisms requiring Biological Safety Level precautions, including but not limited to recombinant DNA, are reviewed and found to protect personnel, the environment and public safety by complying with the applicable NIH Guidelines.

Applicable Regulations

Biosafety Responsibility

The IBC is composed of various members with specific responsibilities with regard to biosafety requirements at RIT. The following provides a general description of the committee membership.

Vice President for Research
Oversees the Rochester Institute of Technology Institutional Biosafety Committee.

IBC Chair
The IBC Chair has overall responsibility for the functioning of the committee.

Biological Safety Officer
The responsibilities of the Biological Safety Officer (BSO) include but are not limited to performing periodic inspections, developing emergency plans, and providing technical advice.

Program Coordinator
The duties of the Program Coordinator include but are not limited to maintaining records of IBC documentation, providing clerical support to the IBC Chair and BSO, and retaining a non-voting position with the IBC.

Individual Users
Individual Users are faculty, research assistants, technicians, and students who have contact with any biologically hazardous material. Before beginning work users shall have been instructed in the handling and use of biologically hazardous materials and biosafety principles. Documentation of this instruction shall be kept on file with project documentation.

Sponsored Research Services / Biosafety Project Initiation

RIT ‘s Sponsored Research Services Department provides Principal Investigators (PIs) with the latest RIT sponsored funding news, information, forms, and policies associated with conducting funded research projects. PIs should review the following webpage prior to conducting research projects: http://www.rit.edu/research/srs/. PIs should note that they will be working with biosafety agents while completing Sponsor Research’s RIT Proposal Routing form.

In addition to working with Sponsored Research Services, PIs also need to contact the RIT IBC to gain approval prior to starting any research that deals with biological agents.

Training Requirements

RIT’s Environmental Health and Safety Department shall make all efforts to ensure that users of hazardous biological material are provided with the necessary information, materials, and training that will enable them to work with these materials in a safe manner.

Contact the EH&S Department with any questions at (585) 475-2040.