Lab Matters Fall 2018 - Page 18

QUALITY SYSTEMS BSOs Convene First Northeast Laboratory Safety Symposium By Jill Power, MS, M(ASCP), CMQ/OE(ASQ), biosafety officer/quality coordinator, New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories The Northeast Environmental and Public Health Laboratory Directors (NEEPHLD) network convened a laboratory safety symposium for clinical laboratories in the region on June 19, 2018. Funded by a $10,000 grant to regional networks from APHL, the idea for the symposium arose after outreach visits by biosafety officers (BSOs) to sentinel and clinical laboratories indicated limited training and knowledge of biosafety and biosecurity practices. Held at the Massachusetts Medical Society in Waltham, MA, the meeting brought together 107 attendees through the hard work of NEEPHLD BSOs who served as planners, presenters and demonstrators. Attendees included biosafety officers, laboratorians, vendors, Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) and APHL representatives and others. The symposium gave NEEPHLD BSOs the opportunity to meet with their clinical laboratory partners to assist them in improving their biosafety and biosecurity practices. It also allowed smaller PHLs to interact with some of the largest PHLs in the country. This reinforced the value of the smaller institutions in supporting sentinel clinical laboratories. These laboratories face the same safety issues as larger hospitals and, in some cases, without the guidance and resources that larger institutions can provide. Meeting highlights included four interactive safety workstation exercises and a workshop on how to perform and write safety risk assessments using a simulated laboratory process. Attendees learned to identify hazards (and activities) that could cause an exposure, how to determine the likelihood and consequence of the exposure and how to choose mitigation controls to reduce or eliminate the severity of the exposure. Feedback from attendees was positive. A pre-test and post-test showed a gain in safety knowledge of 22%. Updating laboratory safety practices seemed to be the easiest win for attendees. Attendees also plan to undertake safety training, review safety protocols and manuals; implement risk assessments and continuity of operations plans (COOP). n NEEPHLD is comprised of state public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and the New York City Public Health Laboratory. Special thanks to the NEEPHLD BSOs who assisted with this meeting: • Melissa D’Amico, MT(ASCP). New York • Shoolah Escott, MS, MT(ASCP), Massachusetts • Robert Ireland, PhD, Rhode Island • Anna Liddicoat, MPH, New York City • Bobbie Macierowski, MS, M(ASCP)CM, Connecticut (CT) • Joyce Oetjen, PhD, Vermont • Marcia Pindling-Watkins, DMH, MS, MT, M(ASCP)CM ,New Jersey (NJ) • Jill Power, MS, M(ASCP), CMQ/OE(ASQ), New Hampshire Participants listen to one of the sessions at the Northeast Laboratory Safety Symposium 16 LAB MATTERS Fall 2018 PublicHealthLabs @APHL