About BU’s Culture of Safety & Responsibility

Over the past six years, Boston University has shown its commitment to advancing the culture of safety and has worked collaboratively with schools, departments, and other representatives to enhance its safety programs. In March 2010, the associate vice president for research compliance (AVPRC) appointed a Task Force on Biosafety to review the safety program at BU and to make recommendations on how safety in research at BU can be enhanced. The task force, which was composed of representatives from a broad spectrum of BU stakeholders, reviewed various aspects of the programs at BU and issued its final report on July 1, 2010. In formulating its recommendations, the task force reviewed regulatory requirements and practices at other institutions—including those of industry—to identify best practices that could enhance BU’s safety programs.

While the task force report noted that “over the past several years, Boston University and Boston Medical Center have significantly enhanced their safety programs,” it also identified a number of areas in which the modification of existing practices or the introduction of new practices would significantly improve the culture of safety at BU. The task force also recognized the importance of enhancing safety at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) and made additional recommendations in the NEIDL-specific addendum. This addendum includes additional recommendations that establish more stringent criteria at the NEIDL with enhanced monitoring and safety requirements where safety first is the key component of its operations.

The recommendations of the task force were accepted by the AVPRC and were distributed and discussed at various research leadership forums that included the following participants:

  • The BUMC and the University provosts;
  • BUMC provost’s meeting (deans, associate deans, vice president research, associate provosts, etc.);
  • School of Medicine Executive Committee (department chairs, vice deans, etc.);
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee;
  • Laboratory safety committees at CRC and BUMC;
  • NEIDL leadership (director, associate directors, and core directors); and
  • Safety program leadership.

A full copy of the report and the specific actions taken to implement the recommendations are available here: Culture of Safety at BU and BMC.