The World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced a mobile application designed for conducting biosafety risk assessments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced the Risk Assessment Tool (RAST) for Biosafety and Laboratory Biosecurity, specifically tailored to aid in laboratory risk assessment. This initiative responds to the heightened vulnerability of laboratory workers, who are reportedly up to 1000 times more susceptible to infections compared to the general population.

RAST is designed to complement the WHO Laboratory Biosafety Manual (LBM4) by adopting a risk- and evidence-based approach, focusing on the initial steps of gathering information and evaluating risks as outlined in LBM4’s risk assessment framework. The app’s objective is to enhance understanding of hazards and risks, encouraging comprehensive assessment and adherence to biological safety protocols among laboratory staff.

Unlike many biosafety/biorisk assessment apps, which primarily provide information, the WHO-developed app is logic-based and capable of conducting intricate risk calculations. It enables users to gather information regarding hazards associated with their specific work environment, whether in a research laboratory, diagnostics laboratory, or fieldwork setting.

It’s important to note that RAST is intended as guidance for considering appropriate risk control measures. As these measures may vary by region, WHO recommends conducting a comprehensive manual risk assessment in alignment with LBM4 or any other suitable risk assessment methodology.

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