Is there a difference between the term "biosafety" and the term "biosecurity"?

  • "Biosecurity" refers to the routines and techniques needed to prevent intentional exposures or contaminations with contagious or toxic biological agents. Poor biosecurity may lead to theft/break-ins, abuse and intentional exposure.
  • "Biosafety" refers to the routines and techniques required to prevent unintentional exposure or contaminations of contagious or toxic biological agents. Poor biosafety could lead to laboratory infections or a contamination of the environment.

Biosafety in Sweden is regulated by the Work Environment Act, which is interpreted in the provisions Microbiological Work Environment Risks, and Contained use of Genetically modified Microorganisms. There are no laws that directly regulate biosecurity.

There are, however, guidelines from WHO, as well as a manual for biosecurity. In order to increase biosecurity, there is generally a need for a "security culture", where inventory checks, access checks, transport security, physical safety, information security, incident reporting, and not least risk assessment are promoted.

Traceability and inventory are important, primarily due to the bio risk, when handling biological material. The contact person for biosafety at the department shall, therefore, be aware of which microorganisms in risk group 2 and up that are being handled.


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Carina Bengtsson

Coordinator of biosafety and security at KI


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