Laboratory Safety at CDC
CDC is committed 24/7 to saving lives and protecting people. CDC’s guiding principles for laboratory work are to ensure the safety of all staff and the community and be as transparent as possible about our work as we conduct high-quality scientific research to protect people in this country and around the world. CDC has created this laboratory safety site as the portal to keep the public informed of our laboratory safety efforts.
CDC Laboratories – A Key Line of Defense
More than fifteen hundred scientists fill the lab benches at CDC, logging more than four million hours each year. CDC’s laboratories play a critical role in the agency’s ability to find, stop, and prevent disease outbreaks. This podcast provides a brief overview of what goes on inside CDC’s labs, and why this work makes a difference in American’s health.
Lab Safety-Related Reports and Findings
- 2/4/15: Report on the Potential Exposure to Ebola Virus [566KB]
- 12/16/14: Fact Sheet on Biosafety and Biosecurity in the United States: Results of the Safety Stand-Down.
- 12/16/14: Next Steps: Biosafety and Biosecurity at the CDC.
- 8/15/14: Report on Cross-Contamination and Shipment of a Laboratory Specimen with Influenza Virus H5N1 [608KB]
- 7/11/14: Lab Incident Anthrax Report [744KB]
- 11/08/12: External Review of CDC’s Animal Biosafety Level 3 Vivarium Facility [PDF 65KB]
CDC Lab Safety in the News
- 2/4/15: Media Statement: CDC Releases Report on Recent Lab Incident
- 12/24/14: Media Statement: Lab Safety Report on Ebola Virus Transfer
- Read the latest media statements, press releases, media advisory, press briefing video and more at the CDC Newsroom Press Kit
External Laboratory Safety Workgroup
CDC announced the formation of an external laboratory safety workgroup of the Advisory Committee to the Director of CDC. This group will provide advice and guidance to the CDC Director and CDC’s new Director of Laboratory Safety.
Lab Status Updates
The internal lab-by-lab review of safety procedures focus on two main aspects of safety:
- Each lab must demonstrate that its protocols for key control points – such as inactivation of a pathogen – are not only being used but that they are being used by appropriately trained and supervised individuals.
- Each lab is expected to establish redundant controls, similar to the two-key system used in other contexts for critical control points. For example, in the TB lab when heat is used to kill a pathogen, a second trained lab technician will witness the process to make sure the right temperature is used for the right amount of time. Both individuals then sign off on the process.
- As an additional safeguard, there will be unannounced safety inspections–by internal auditors.
No single set of procedures can be used for every lab, as different labs deal with different pathogens and do different kinds of work. Thus safeguards are tailored to each individual lab.
- Page last reviewed: February 20, 2015
- Page last updated: February 20, 2015
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