Material Control & Accountability

Material accountability procedures should be established to track the inventory, storage, use, transfer and destruction of dangerous biological materials and assets when no longer needed. The objective is to know what agents exist at a facility, where they are located, and who is responsible for them.

To achieve this, management should define:

 1) the materials (or forms of materials) subject to accountability measures;

 2) records to be maintained, update intervals and timelines for record maintenance;

 3) operating procedures associated with inventory maintenance (e.g., how material is identified, where it can be used and stored);

 4) documentation and reporting requirements.

It is important to emphasize that microbiological agents are capable of replication and are often expanded to accommodate the nature of the work involving their use. Therefore, knowing the exact “working” quantity of organisms at any given time may be impractical. Depending on the risks associated with a pathogen or toxin, management can designate an individual who is accountable, knowledgeable about the materials in use, and responsible for security of the materials under his or her control.