Volume 15, Number 7—July 2009
Potential Impact of a 2-Person Security Rule on BioSafety Level 4 Laboratory Workers
Directors of all major BioSafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories in the United States met in 2008 to review the current status of biocontainment laboratory operations and to discuss the potential impact of a proposed 2-person security rule on maximum-containment laboratory operations. Special attention was paid to the value and risks that would result from a requirement that 2 persons be physically present in the laboratory at all times. A consensus emerged indicating that a video monitoring system represents a more efficient, economical standard; provides greater assurance that pathogens are properly manipulated; and offers an increased margin of employee safety and institutional security. The 2-person security rule (1 to work and 1 to observe) may decrease compliance with dual responsibilities of safety and security by placing undue pressure on the person being observed to quickly finish the work, and by placing the observer in the containment environment unnecessarily.
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