Biological Agent Risk Assessment

Information on BA RA forms

These are required to assess the biological hazards posed by handling biological samples. This includes any adventitious agents which might be present in your samples such as

  • Mycoplasma species in zebrafish or cell lines
  • Viral or bacterial infections in mice or human patients

A BA risk assessment should be in place for ALL biological agents you handle and you are expected to have read them (and signed your personal signature RA sheet to record this) before you start working with them.

Separate forms are required for different species and if collecting samples from a different source, for example if working with patient samples, samples from pre-screened patients coming into A&E are of greater risk than screened pre-operation patients so will require separate forms.

The labs in CVS are Containment level 1 & 2, which means you can work with unfixed samples from any hazard group 1 or 2 organisms.

In the CVS labs we are NOT able to work with samples which are “knowingly” infected with hazard group 3 pathogens1.

A biological risk assessment is required for all fresh and unfixed tissue, this includes all stored tissue and frozen sections. Once the tissue is fixed, the chance of their being any live adventitious agents in the tissue is negligible. However if you are working with fixed tissue from hazard group (HG) 3 or 4 pathogens then you should obtain a copy of the risk assessment which covers these tissues to ensure that the pathogens are inactive.

As a Centre we have BA forms covering:

  • non-pathogenic bacterial and yeast strains (CVS.BA.01),
  • HG 1 or 2 commercial cell lines (CVS.BA.06),
  • handling rodent tissues (CVS.BA.17),

YOU ARE ABLE TO USE THESE AS LONG AS YOUR WORK IS COVERED BY THESE RAs. If your work is not covered, then you will need to complete BA RA for your work and wait for approval prior to beginning any work.

YOU MUST READ BA RAs before you start working with biological agents.

  1. If you wish to work with a hazard group 3 pathogen please get in touch with Rebecca Aucott