STP1051

    General Considerations for Work Practices and Personal Protective Equipment in Biotechnology Industries

    Published: Jan 1990


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    Abstract

    Occupational exposures to microorganisms or other potentially hazardous substances related to industrial biotechnology can be controlled by the application of a number of well-known principles of industrial safety, including engineering measures, work practices, personal protective equipment, and feedback on the effectiveness of these controls through the use of industrial hygiene monitoring. This paper focuses on work practices and personal protective equipment observed in industrial settings during studies conducted by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on conventional enzyme fermentation processes, early recombinant DNA facilities, and a large-scale land application of a microbial pesticide. In a majority of the situations observed, operator exposures could be reduced dramatically by limiting operator interaction with unit processes or by ensuring the observance of proper and safe work practices. In the plant environment, company procedures appeared to be adequate for minimizing worker exposures. These procedures, however, can only be effective if proper training is provided to the worker and if management ensures that good work practices are continually observed. In the laboratory environment, standard laboratory practice guidelines for microbiological or biomedical agents [available from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other agencies], if followed, provide adequate protection to the worker. There are currently no research-supported recommendations for personal protective equipment for use with microorganisms developed on an industrial scale. However, selected pieces of equipment can be suggested which will minimize operator contact (e.g., eye protection, face protection, protective clothing, and other equipment) until more risk assessment research has been conducted.

    Keywords:

    bioprocessing, fermentation, microbial pesticides, work practices, personal protective equipment


    Author Information:

    Martinez, KF
    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH

    Elliott, LJ
    Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH

    Jones, JH
    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH


    Paper ID: STP26071S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E48.01

    DOI: 10.1520/STP26071S


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