ABSA International Laboratory Accreditation Program
ABSA International (ABSA) has developed a voluntary ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program for BSL–2, ABSL–2, BSL-3, and ABSL-3 laboratories that are not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Select Agent and Toxins Regulations. ABSA accreditation will provide entities recognition of excellence and compliance with high standards, while providing facilities guidance in generating processes and policies to create a safer environment for their organization, employees, research animals, and the community.
The benefits of ABSA Accreditation include recognition within the biosafety community that an institution conducts work with biohazardous agents in a safe and secure manner and assurance to the public that the institution is conducting safe science, thus protecting its employees, research animals, the public, and the environment. The entire process is confidential.
ABSA accreditation criteria are based on currently recognized guidelines and practices. The ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program uses the CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation, European Committee for Standardization) Workshop Agreement 15793, Laboratory Biorisk Management to assess the overall management of biological safety by the institution. The Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th edition, CDC/NIH (BMBL) and the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines) are used to assess the technical aspects of the institution’s biosafety program and practices.
ABSA site visitors will review documents request for pre-inspection including your institutions Risk Assessment SOPs and conduct a comprehensive on-site assessment. Their report is then reviewed by the ABSA Accreditation Board and accreditation status is determined. If deficiencies are found, they are outlined in a letter and the institution is given a period of time to correct them. Once the deficiencies are corrected, accreditation is awarded. The entire process is completely confidential.
After an institution earns accreditation, it must be re-evaluated every three years in order to maintain its accredited status. ABSA accreditation benefits an institution in many ways. And each time a new organization becomes accredited, it helps to raise the global benchmark for biological safety best practices.
Here are a few of the benefits of earning accreditation:
It represents quality
Organizations and companies look for ways to communicate their commitment to excellence. In the scientific community, ABSA Accreditation shows that an institution is serious about setting, achieving and maintaining high standards. ABSA offers the only volunteer accreditation for BSL–2, ABSL–2, BSL-3, and ABSL-3 laboratories that are not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Select Agent and Toxins Regulations as a sign of quality and good science.
It promotes a safe environment
ABSA Accreditation provides entities recognition of excellence and compliance with high standards, while providing guidance in generating processes and policies to create a safer environment for their organization, employees, research animals, and the community. ABSA Accreditation engages scientists, researchers, managers and administrators in an independent, rigorous assessment of their institution’s compliance program—an assessment that ultimately results in improved research practices and outcomes.
It’s a recruiting tool
ABSA accredited institutions can use their accreditation as a recruiting tool to attract the best and brightest researchers and biosafety professionals. Talented professionals look for high quality programs to support their activities. Accreditation provides recognition that the institution is dedicated to achieving the highest standards within the research, clinical, and biosafety communities confirming your lab conducts work with biohazardous agents in a safe and secure manner.
It demonstrates accountability
In today’s world, companies and organizations are held to very high levels of accountability—by their own constituents and the general public. Accreditation through ABSA is voluntary and demonstrates a willingness to go above and beyond the minimums required by law. It tells the public that the institution is committed to conducting safe science, protecting employees, research animals, the public, and the environment. ABSA Accreditation can impact insurance and legal issues by providing documentation that your lab is doing all it can to minimize risks.
It provides a confidential peer-review
A team of highly qualified ABSA representatives provides an in-depth, confidential, on-site evaluation of the institution’s biosafety management programs. ABSA Accreditation Inspectors are biosafety professionals who have been involved on both sides of the inspection process, always providing a healthy exchange of ideas throughout the inspection. This voluntary accreditation program can also be used as a pre-inspection readiness tool to help meet or exceed requirements (CDC Importation Permit inspection, etc.) This independent peer-review ensures that the institution’s program is meeting ABSA Accreditation standards.
It stimulates continuous improvement
When an institution participates in the ABSA Accreditation program, it’s committing to a process that stimulates continuous improvement. Earning and maintaining accreditation keeps an institution aware of, and engaged in, current best practices. Accreditation is a true commitment to the promotion of biological safety and shows the world that an institution is serious about ensuring a safe environment for their organization, employees, research animals, and the community.