Biosafety Officer – TX DSHS

Texas Health and Human Services

Under the direction of the Quality Assurance Unit Manager and assisting of Safety Officer IV, this position will perform highly complex (senior level) work ensuring adequate biosafety training and practices to avoid potential hazards associated with the handling of biological materials, the spread of multi-drug resistant pathogens and threats of emerging pathogens. Ensures review of current safety protocols, risk assessments and risk mitigation plans for the DSHS Laboratory. Provides guidance and technical assistance to laboratory staff. Educates and trains staff on topics such as, but not limit to, working safely with infectious materials. Conducts laboratory area reviews to evaluate compliance with biosafety regulations and develops action plans to address gaps. Leads as an active member on the Laboratory Safety Committee to provide education and training on how to build an effective biosafety program. May be required to work outside regular business hours, on holidays and weekends. This position will work under limited supervision and with extensive latitude for use of initiative and independent judgment.

EJF 1. Assists the Safety Officer ensuring adequate biosafety training and practices to avoid potential hazards associated with the handling of biological materials, the spread of multi-drug resistant pathogens and threats of emerging pathogens. Analyzes the current biosafety programs in the laboratory and develops plans to improve program consistency in all areas performing BSL1 – BSL3 procedures. Ensures review of current safety protocols, risk assessments and risk mitigation plans for the DSHS Laboratory. Oversees the development of policies and procedures that help to ensure the safety of laboratory staff and the provision of a safe physical environment to meet biosafety requirements mandatory for laboratory accreditation, certification and/or permits. Performs respiratory fit testing on laboratory staff to ensure Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1910.134) requirement is met prior to respirator use in the workplace. Encourages a culture of safety and reporting of actual and potential safety issues which may place staff and others at risk; assesses those risks; and implements redundant systems to keep risks to the absolute minimum. (25%)

EJF 2. Acts as the backup contact for the Laboratory Building Coordinator during laboratory building emergencies, such as, power outages, and water leaks; may be required to respond to emergencies during non-business hours and on weekends and holidays. Provide guidance and technical assistance to laboratory staff of the consequence of infectious diseases. Educates and trains staff on topics such as, but not limit to, working safely with biological materials. Provides training on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), implementing decontamination procedures following exposure, packaging and shipping of infectious agents, and reviewing waste management plans, including methods for recycling and disposal of biological hazards. (25%)

EJF 3. Conducts laboratory area reviews to evaluate compliance with biosafety regulations and develops action plans to address gaps. Consults with staff to identify training needs to address the identified gaps. Maintains documentation of area activities and required follow-up activities in regards to quarterly reports. Develop evaluation tools for determining program effectiveness and use statistics and trends to resolve problems. Provide written reports detailing performance in meeting requirements and identifying deficiencies. (25%)

EJF 4. Leads as an active member on the Laboratory Safety Committee to provide education and training on how to build an effective biosafety program. Provides input on emergency management and response policies and assists in implementation of processes and procedures in coordination with laboratory management. Must be able to left, push, pull and carry 50 lb items such as equipment, boxes, etc.; for all items over 50 lbs., assistance is required. (20%)

EJF 5. Other duties as assigned include but are not limited to: actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency’s obligations for disaster response and/or recovery or Continuity of Operations (COOP) activation. Such participation may require an alternate shift pattern assignment and/or location; and safe operation of either a state owned vehicle or personal is required to conduct state business and an acceptable driving record must be maintained in accordance with DSHS Policy OS-3901. Fleet Operations and Management & Procedures and standards developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. (5%)

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Comprehensive knowledge of bioterrorism agents and the select agent regulations.
  • Knowledge of microbiology and especially useful is knowledge of bacteriology and virology as related to disease transmission.
  • Knowledge of laboratory training techniques.
    Ability and skill in coordinating training and educational activities for biological and chemical threat agents.
  • Ability to utilize computer programs for spreadsheet analysis, word processing, and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).
    Skill in performing BSL1 – BSL3 procedures as part of a laboratory biosafety program.
  • Skill in using computer software such as word processing, database, spreadsheet and graphic presentation software.
  • Skill in effective customer service practices.
  • Skill in synthesizing and analyzing complex information for a variety of purposes.

To apply, please visit the TX Health and Human Services Job Center and search for Posting Number: 420366

To apply for this job please visit hhs.texas.gov.

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