Every newsletter we will outline a current scenario with regard to biosecurity. We kick off with a scenario where a lab worker works a lot of overtime, something that will happen to many labs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Is the scenario below recognizable? What would you do in such a case? How does your organization deal with this? What does this mean for biosecurity?

The scenario: overtime

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of SARS-CoV-2 research is being conducted and the team has been strengthened with new lab employees. One of the new lab workers works long hours and often returns on weekends to complete SARS-CoV-2 experiments. This employee has requested permission for this from the head of the laboratory and has also received it, but neither direct colleagues nor supervisor are aware of how often this person works alone and what the exact activities are.

Risks and action perspective

If compliance with the safety regulations and associated registration do not provide clarity about the work, this can lead to a feeling of insecurity. In addition, unsupervised working offers the possibility of misuse of sensitive information, high-risk material and facilities. In order to reduce these risks, procedures can be drawn up that provide clarity to staff regarding agreements about working alone or working outside regular working hours. The advance notification of work outside regular working hours also offers options for checking by security or supervisor.

Share your scenario

Would you like to talk further with the Biosecurity Office about how to deal with this scenario, do not hesitate to contact us. If you run into a biosecurity scenario yourself that you would like to share with colleagues, let us know! The Biosecurity Office can be reached via biosecurity@rivm.nl.