News Release: Research

Dec. 6,  2010

International Biosafety Workshop Hosted by Emory and American Biological Safety Association

International experts in the fields of biosafety and biosecurity will meet at Emory University Dec. 6 and 7 to develop a guidance document for the International Biorisk Management System. Emory’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety and the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) will jointly host the workshop. Patty Olinger, director of the Emory Environmental Health and Safety Office, is site host and co-chair of the workshop.

The International Biorisk Management System agreement, known as CWA15793:2008, was completed and released to the global biosafety community in 2008. It is the first internationally recognized management-system approach to specifically address biological hazards associated with laboratories.

The CWA (CEN Workshop Agreement) provides a structured approach for an organization to effectively and efficiently address issues relating to biosafety and biosecurity while providing opportunities for operational improvements. CEN is the Comité Européen de Normalization (European Committee for Standardization).

After the original CWA was released worldwide, the user community (laboratories, managers, biosafety and biosecurity professionals) identified the need for an additional guidance document to help end-users easily understand and implement the plan. This guidance document has been under development through a series of international workshops, and the 3rd workshop is being held at Emory. The document will be published early in 2011 for a 60-day public comment period, with anticipated publication in September 2011.

“Working with biohazardous agents is a public concern and global issue. The CWA provides a systematic performance-based approach for biorisk program management and implementation,” says Olinger. “The CWA is the first quality management system that focuses solely on biohazardous agents. An organization that commits to following the structure and guidance of the CWA shows to their employees, the community and the world that they commit to working safely with biohazardous materials.”

Held at the Emory Conference Center, the workshop sessions will include approximately 80 biosafety and biosecurity partners and observers from around the world. U.S. agencies with an interest in biorisk will be represented, along with the World Health Organization and partners and observers representing all corners of the world.

For more information about the Biorisk Management System CWA and the Guidance Document:

Link to CEN for Workshop 55, development of the guidance document for CWA 15793:2008.

CEN Workshop 31 – Biorisk Management System – CWA 15793:2008.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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