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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill continues to demonstrate a commitment to the responsible and safe conduct of research by joining institutions across the globe in observing National Biosafety Month this October through November. National Biosafety Month is an opportunity for institutions to highlight the importance of biosafety and proactively undertake activities to strengthen their biosafety programs.

This year, on the 6th anniversary of Biosafety Month, our theme for 2019 is “Safety Competency in Biological Laboratory Environments.” The goal of this initiative is to ensure that all researchers in our biological and biomedical labs have the essential skills, knowledge, and abilities required for working safely with biologic agents and materials.

To assist Principal Investigators (PIs) and designated Safety Supervisors in measurably documenting that their personnel are appropriately trained in key competency domains, we strongly encourage labs to:

  1. adopt the linked Biosafety Competency Checklists as a beneficial tool to use during their training activities, and
  2. retain these completed checklists on file in their lab.

Three checklists are provided which outline the roles of laboratory personnel with competencies tiered to a workers’ experience and/or responsibility:

Tier 1. Entry Level
Checklist for students, technicians, specialists
Tier 2. Mid-Level
Checklist for postdoctoral associates, safety supervisors and lab managers
Tier 3. Senior Level
Checklist for Principal Investigators and equivalents

This checklist tool was developed using the Guidelines for Biosafety Laboratory Competency published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). Please reference this resource for more information on the value for conducting such safety competencies in your lab.

Please contact the EHS Office at 919-962-5507 or via email at with any questions or comments. Thank you for your efforts to consistently maintain a safe working environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Garry Coulson
Biosafety Officer
Doug Cyr
Institutional Biosafety Committee Chair 
Mary Beth Koza
Executive Director of Environment, Health and Safety
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