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Risk Assessment

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A risk assessment is a process to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs. A business impact analysis (BIA) is the process for determining the potential impacts resulting from the interruption of time sensitive or critical business processes.

There are numerous hazards to consider. For each hazard there are many possible scenarios that could unfold depending on timing, magnitude and location of the hazard. Consider hurricanes:

A Hurricane forecast to make landfall near your business could change direction and go out to sea.

View from outer-space of a hurricane in Gulf of Mexico

There are many “assets” at risk from hazards. First and foremost, injuries to people should be the first consideration of the risk assessment. Hazard scenarios that could cause significant injuries should be highlighted to ensure that appropriate emergency plans are in place. Many other physical assets may be at risk. These include buildings, information technology, utility systems, machinery, raw materials and finished goods. The potential for environmental impact should also be considered. Consider the impact an incident could have on your relationships with customers, the surrounding community and other stakeholders. Consider situations that would cause customers to lose confidence in your organization and its products or services.

As you conduct the risk assessment, look for vulnerabilities—weaknesses—that would make an asset more susceptible to damage from a hazard. Vulnerabilities include deficiencies in building construction, process systems, security, protection systems and loss prevention programs. They contribute to the severity of damage when an incident occurs. For example, a building without a fire sprinkler system could burn to the ground while a building with a properly designed, installed and maintained fire sprinkler system would suffer limited fire damage.

The impacts from hazards can be reduced by investing in mitigation . If there is a potential for significant impacts, then creating a mitigation strategy should be a high priority.

Risk Assesment process diagram

Risk Assessment Process Diagram - Text Version

Use the Risk Assessment Tool complete your risk assessment. Instructions are provided on the form.

Natural Hazards

  • Meteorological -Flooding, Dam/Levee Failure, Severe Thunderstorm (Wind, Rain, Lightning, Hail), Tornado, Windstorm, Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, Winter Storm (Snow/Ice)
  • Geological -Earthquake, Tsunami, Landslide, Subsidence/Sinkhole, Volcano
  • Biological - Pandemic Disease, Foodborne Illnesses

Human-Caused Hazards

  • Accidents -Workplace Accidents, Entrapment/Rescue (Machinery, Water, Confined Space, High Angle), Transportation Accidents (Motor Vehicle, Rail, Water, Air, Pipeline), Structural Failure/Collapse, Mechanical Breakdown
  • Intentional Acts - Labor Strike, Demonstrations, Civil Disturbance (Riot), Bomb Threat, Lost/Separated Person, Child Abduction, Kidnapping/Extortion, Hostage Incident, Workplace Violence, Robbery , Sniper Incident, Terrorism (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), Arson, Cyber/Information Technology (Malware Attack, Hacking, Fraud, Denial of Service, etc.)

Technological Hazards

  • Information Technology - Loss of Connectivity, Hardware Failure, Lost/Corrupted Data, Application Failure
  • Utility Outage - Communications, Electrical Power, Water, Gas, Steam, Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning, Pollution Control System, Sewage System
  • Fire/Explosion - Fire (Structure, Wildland), Explosion (Chemical, Gas, or Process failure)
  • Hazardous Materials -Hazardous Material spill/release, Radiological Accident, Hazmat Incident off-site, Transportation Accidents, Nuclear Power Plant Incident, Natural Gas Leak Supply
  • Chain Interruption - Supplier Failure, Transportation Interruption

Risk Assessment Resources

  • Multi-hazard Mapping Information Platform - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Flood Map Service Center - FEMA
  • Earthquake Hazards information - United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Hurricane - FEMA
  • Landslide Hazards Program - USGS
  • Volcano Hazards Program - USGS
  • Protecting Workers from Heat Illness - Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Survey Your Workplace for Additional Hazards - OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start for General Industry
  • Workplace Violence—Issues in Response - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Risk Assessment Portal , guidance and guidelines - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Computer Security Resource Center , Special Publications, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Computer Security Division
  • United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team

Last Updated: 02/25/2022

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CTPAT risk assessment: Why it matters

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Visit BSI's Experts Corner: Home for insights from BSI’s practice directors and industry experts on digital trust, environmental, health, safety, security, and sustainability.

August 24, 2023 - In today's global business environment, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and vulnerable to security breaches. With the rise of these risks, it is crucial for organizations to take proactive steps to mitigate supply chain vulnerabilities.

In our second blog, CTPAT security guidelines: Protecting the global supply chain , we cover the five main areas of the security guidelines that organizations must follow to participate in the program. Now, we’ll focus on the importance of conducting and implementing a successful a risk assessment.

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program provides a framework for organizations to enhance their supply chain security and facilitate the flow of legitimate trade. However, to participate in the program, organizations must first conduct a thorough risk assessment.

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is a critical process that involves identifying potential security vulnerabilities within the supply chain, assessing the likelihood that these risks will impact critical parts of the supply chain, and developing plans to mitigate, avoid, or manage identified risks. The goal of a risk assessment is to ensure that an organization’s supply chain security measures are effective and efficient in mitigating potential disruptions.

Risk assessment steps

The following are the various steps involved in conducting a risk assessment for CTPAT:

  • Map the supply chain to understand where suppliers are located, how they are connected to each other, and where the key points of potential vulnerability are, such as container stuffing and transloading.
  • Identify supply chain vulnerabilities by reviewing your supplier’s security measures, conducting site visits or remote assessments, and interviewing key personnel who manage the supply chain, such as logistics, procurement, and other functions.
  • Assess the likelihood of a security incident by analyzing historical data, evaluating current threats, and forecasting potential future threats. It is important to have a broad view of supply chain risk, including issues such as forced labor, cyberthreats, or disruptions (such as labor strikes, port congestion, and natural disasters) that can have downstream or second-order effects on the security of the supply chain.
  • Develop a risk mitigation plan, including specific actions that you or your suppliers can take to manage or mitigate the risks identified in the steps above. This could include implementing additional security measures in high-risk areas, using lower-risk suppliers, or working with suppliers to decrease their risk profiles.
  • Implement and monitor: while executing the established risk mitigation plan, monitor all security measures to ensure that they are effective in mitigating the identified risks and work to continuously improve your supply chain’s security posture.

Conducting an assessment

The following are some recommendations for organizations looking to conduct a successful risk assessment:

  • Involve key stakeholders: It is important to involve key stakeholders, including supply chain partners and internal functions such as procurement, in the risk assessment process.
  • Conduct regular assessments: Risk assessments should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that the supply chain security measures remain effective. They should be done at least yearly or more frequently as major changes in the risk environment or your supply chain dictate.
  • Utilize technology: Technology can be a valuable tool in conducting a risk assessment. For example, automated supplier-assessment tools can help identify potential vulnerabilities more efficiently.

Conducting a risk assessment is a critical step in enhancing supply chain security and a requirement for participation in the CTPAT program. By identifying potential vulnerabilities, assessing the likelihood of incidents, and developing a risk mitigation plan, organizations can lessen potential risks, enhance overall supply chain security, and position supply chain risk management as a competitive advantage. Implementing effective security measures and conducting regular risk assessments will help organizations ensure that their supply chain is secure and compliant with CTPAT guidelines.

In part 4 of our CTPAT series, BSI’s Security & Resilience experts will focus on the different types of training that employees must undergo, including security awareness training, training on CTPAT security guidelines, and training on the organization's security policies and procedures.

Also, read our Supply Chain Risk Insights Report series as Tony Pelli weighs in on the benefits of supplier diversification to reduce risks within your supply chain. For more BSI insights on other EHS and Digital Trust topics, visit our Experts Corner . For real-time updates on top supply chain issues, register for BSI’s Connect SCREEN tool ; this platform provides daily analysis on the latest and most relevant global supply chain trends.

Tony Pelli

Tony Pelli, Practice Director of Security & Resilience, has extensive experience conducting enterprise-level supply chain and physical security risk assessments for global companies and their supply chain partners. Tony helps clients design, implement, and refine their risk mitigation programs.

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Risk Assessment Group Administration

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To download on your device search for "Risk Group Database" in Apple's iTunes App Store or in the Google Play App store.

In many countries, including the United States, infectious agents are categorized in risk groups based on their relative risk. Depending on the country and/or organization, this classification system might take the following factors into consideration:

  • Pathogenicity of the organism
  • Mode of transmission and host range
  • Availability of effective preventive measures (e.g., vaccines)
  • Availability of effective treatment (e.g., antibiotics)
  • Other factors

*Please note, the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, Fifth Edition. (2009) or “BMBL” outlines biological safety levels (BSLs), which are distinct from risk group levels. A proper risk assessment for biological agents must always be conducted before establishing a biological safety level.

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(search will sort by Species/Viral Group and show only top 500 matches )

You can search partial names using the asterisk (*) Example: pseud* (results: Pseudoalteromonas, pseudomycoides, Pseudallescheria, etc.)

You can use Boolean operators OR, AND anthracis AND bacillus anthracis OR bacillus

Feedback about the Risk Groups Database? (questions, comments, suggestions)

CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (2009)

Four Biosafety Levels (BSLs) are described in Section 4, which consist of combinations of laboratory practices and techniques, safety equipment, and laboratory facilities. Each combination is specifically appropriate for the operations performed, the documented or suspected routes of transmission of the infectious agents, and the laboratory function or activity. The BSLs described in this manual should be differentiated from Risk Groups, as described in the NIH Guidelines and the World Health Organization Laboratory Biosafety Manual. Risk groups are the result of a classification of microbiological agents based on their association with, and resulting severity of, disease in humans. The risk group of an agent should be one factor considered in association with mode of transmission, procedural protocols, experience of staff, and other factors in determining the BSL in which the work will be conducted.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health. "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, Fifth Edition.” (2009).

Biosafety Level 1 (BSL 1): suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in immunocompetent adult humans, and present minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment.

Biosafety Level 2 (BSL 2): builds upon BSL-1. BSL-2 is suitable for work involving agents that pose moderate hazards to personnel and the environment.

Biosafety Level 3 (BSL 3): applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities where work is performed with indigenous or exotic agents that may cause serious or potentially lethal disease through the inhalation route of exposure.

Biosafety Level 4 (BSL 4): dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or a related agent with unknown risk of transmission.

NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines) (USA, 2016)

Risk assessment is ultimately a subjective process. The investigator must make an initial risk assessment based on the Risk Group (RG) of an agent. Agents are classified into four Risk Groups (RGs) according to their relative pathogenicity for healthy adult humans by the following criteria:

Risk Group 1 (RG1) agents are not associated with disease in healthy adult humans.

Risk Group 2 (RG2) agents are associated with human disease which is rarely serious and for which preventive or therapeutic interventions are often available.

Risk Group 3 (RG3) agents are associated with serious or lethal human disease for which preventive or therapeutic interventions may be available.

Risk Group 4 (RG4) agents are likely to cause serious or lethal human disease for which preventive or therapeutic interventions are not usually available.

WHO Classification of Infective Microorganisms by Risk Group (2004)

WHO Basis for Risk Grouping: Each country classifies the agents in that country by risk group based on pathogenicity of the organism, modes of transmission and host range of the organism. These may be influenced by existing levels of immunity, density and movement of host population presence of appropriate vectors and standards of environmental hygiene.

  • Availability of effective preventive measures. Such measures may include: prophylaxis by vaccination or antisera; sanitary measures, e.g. food and water hygiene; the control of animal reservoirs or arthropod vectors; the movement of people or animals; and the importation of infected animals or animal products.
  • Availability of effective treatment. This includes passive immunization and postexposure vaccination, antibiotics, and chemotherapeutic agents, taking into consideration the possibility of the emergence of resistant strains. It is important to take prevailing conditions in the geographical area in which the microorganisms are handled into account. Note: Individual governments may decide to prohibit the handling or importation of certain pathogens except for diagnostic purposes.

WHO Risk Group 1 (no or low individual and community risk). A microorganism that is unlikely to cause human disease or animal disease.

WHO Risk Group 2 (moderate individual risk, low community risk). A pathogen that can cause human or animal disease but is unlikely to be a serious hazard to laboratory workers, the community, livestock or the environment. Laboratory exposures may cause serious infection, but effective treatment and preventative measures are available and the risk of spread of infection is limited.

WHO Risk Group 3 (high individual risk, low community risk). A pathogen that usually causes serious human or animal disease but does not ordinarily spread from one infected individual to another. Effective treatment and preventive measures are available.

WHO Risk Group 4 (high individual and community risk). A pathogen that usually causes serious human or animal disease and that can be readily transmitted from one individual to another, directly or indirectly. Effective treatment and preventive measures are not usually available.

Australian/New Zealand Standard (2010)

Standard AS-NZS 2243-3:2010. Safety in laboratories – Microbiological Safety and Containment

The following classification has been drawn up for microorganisms that are infectious for humans and animals for Australia and New Zealand by modification of the WHO guidelines and is based on the pathogenicity of the agent, the mode of transmission and host range of the agent, the availability of effective preventive measures, and the availability of effective treatment:

Risk Group 1 (low individual and community risk) – a microorganism that is unlikely to cause human or animal disease.

Risk Group 2 (moderate individual risk, limited community risk) – a microorganism that is unlikely to be a significant risk to laboratory workers, the community, livestock, or the environment; laboratory exposures may cause infections, but effective treatment and preventive measures are available, and the risk of spread is limited.

Risk Group 3 (high individual risk, limited to moderate community risk) – a microorganism that usually causes serious human or animal disease and may present a significant risk to laboratory workers. It could present a limited to moderate risk if spread in the community or the environment, but there are usually effective preventive measures or treatment available.

Risk Group 4 (high individual and community risk) – a microorganism that usually produces life-threatening human or animal disease, represents a significant risk to laboratory workers and may be readily transmissible from one individual to another. Effective treatment and preventive measures are not usually available.

Belgium (2006)

Class of risk 1: micro-organisms known as nonpathogenic for the man, the animal, the plant and not-harmful for the environment or presenting a negligible risk for the man and the environment at the laboratory scale. This class includes, beside organisms whose harmlessness was proven, strains which can be allergens and opportunistic pathogens.

Human pathogens

Class of risk 2: micro-organisms that can cause human disease and might be a hazard for directly exposed persons; they are unlikely to spread to the community. There is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Class of risk 3: micro-organisms that can cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard for directly exposed persons. They may present a risk of spreading to the community. There is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Class of risk 4: micro-organisms that cause severe human disease and are a serious hazard for directly exposed persons. They may present a high risk of spreading to the community. There is usually no effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Animal pathogens

Class of risk 2: micro-organisms that can cause disease in animals and present, at different levels, one or other of the following characteristics: limited geographical importance, no or weak interspecific transmission, no vectors or carriers. The economic and or veterinary significance is limited. There is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Class of risk 3: micro-organisms that can cause serious disease or epizootics in animals. Interspecific diffusion can be important. Some of these pathogenic agents require the installation of sanitary regulations for species indexed by the authorities of each country concerned. Medical and/or sanitary prophylactic measures are available.

Class of risk 4: micro-organisms that cause extremely serious panzotics or epizootics in animals with a very high mortality rate or dramatic economic consequences in the affected farmingregions. Either no medical prophylaxis is available or only one exclusive sanitary prophylaxis is possible or obligatory.

Plant pathogens

Class of risk 2: micro-organisms that can cause plant disease, but that does not present an increased risk of epidemic in the event of accidental dissemination in the Belgian environment. They are ubiquitous pathogens for whom prophylactic and therapeutic means exist. Nonindigenous or exotic phytopathogen micro-organisms which cannot survive in the Belgian environment because of absence of hosts or plant-targets, or favorable climatic conditions also belong to the class of risk 2.

Class of risk 3: micro-organisms that can cause in the plant a disease of economic or environmental importance for which treatments are non-existent, difficult to apply, or expensive. The accidental dissemination of these micro-organisms can increase the risks of local epidemics. Exotic stocks of micro-organisms usually present in the Belgian environment and not listed as quarantine micro-organisms also belong to this class of risk.

Canadian Biosafety Handbook 2nd edition, 2016

Risk Group 1 (low individual and community risk) A microorganism, nucleic acid, or protein that is either a) not capable of causing human or animal disease; or b) capable of causing human or animal disease, but unlikely to do so. Those capable of causing disease are considered pathogens that pose a low risk to the health of individuals or animals, and a low risk to public health and the animal population. RG1 pathogens can be opportunistic and may pose a threat to immunocompromised individuals. Due to the low risk to public health and animal population associated with RG1 material, there are no physical or operational requirements for handling them. Nonetheless, due care should be exercised and safe work practices (e.g., good microbiological laboratory practices) should be followed when handling these materials.

Risk Group 2 (moderate individual risk, low community risk) A pathogen or toxin that poses a moderate risk to the health of individuals or animals, and a low risk to public health and the animal population. These pathogens are able to cause serious disease in a human or animal but are unlikely to do so. Effective treatment and preventive measures are available and the risk of spread of diseases caused by these pathogens is low. Examples of RG2 human pathogens are included in Schedule 2 of the HPTA.

Risk Group 3 (high individual risk, low community risk) A pathogen that poses a high risk to the health of individuals or animals, and a low risk to public health. These pathogens are likely to cause serious disease in a human or animal. Effective treatment and preventive measures are usually available and the risk of spread of disease caused by these pathogens is low for the public. The risk of spread to the animal population, however, can range from low to high depending on the pathogen. Examples of RG3 human pathogens are included in Schedule 3 of the HPTA.

Risk Group 4 (high individual risk, high community risk) A pathogen that poses a high risk to the health of individuals or animals and a high risk to public health. These pathogens are likely to cause serious disease in a human or animal, which can often lead to death. Effective treatment and preventive measures are not usually available and the risk of spread of disease caused by these pathogens is high for the public. The risk of spread of disease to the animal population, however, ranges from low to high, depending on the pathogen. Examples of RG4 human pathogens are included in Schedule 4 of the HPTA.

European Economic Community (2000)

Directive 2000/54/EC and Directive 90/679/EEC (adopted 20 November, 1990; revised 18 September 2000) on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents at work provides for the Classification of biological agents into four infection risk groups on the basis of the following criteria:

Group 1 biological agent means one that is unlikely to cause human disease.

Group 2 biological agent means one that can cause human disease and might be a hazard to workers; it is unlikely to spread to the community; there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Group 3 biological agent means one that can cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard to workers; it may present a risk of spreading to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Group 4 biological agent means one that causes severe human disease and is a serious hazard to workers; it may present a high risk of spreading to the community; there is usually no effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

(See also Official Journal of the European Communities No L262/21 dated September 18, 2000.) Article 2. Definitions; Article 18. Classification of biological agents; Annex III.Community Classification. Introductory Notes).

Germany (2013)

Risk Group 1: biomaterials, where it is unlikely that they cause disease in humans

Risk Group 2: biomaterials that can cause human disease and might be a hazard to workers; dispersal in the population is unlikely; effective prophylaxis or treatment is normally possible

Risk Group 3: biomaterials, which cause severe human disease and present a serious hazard to workers; the risk of spread to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available

Risk Group 4: biological agents which cause severe human disease and are a serious hazard to workers; the risk of spread in the population is high under certain circumstances; there is usually no effective prophylaxis or treatment.

Singapore (guidelines are from 2012; updated list of organisms is from 2016): BATA Schedules

First Schedule Part I Risk Group 3 Biological Agents which can cause serious disease which is of high risk to the individual.

First Schedule Part II Description is the same as First Schedule Part I but they also have the potential to be weaponized.

Second Schedule Risk Group 4 Biological Agents which can cause severe / lethal disease, easily transmitted and of high risk to the individual and the community. These agents have the potential to be weaponized.

Third Schedule Risk Group 2 Biological Agents that need special attention in large scale production.

Fourth Schedule All Risk Group 2 Biological Agents (including those in Third Schedule) which cause disease in humans.

Fifth Schedule Microbial toxins that have the potential to be weaponized.

United Kingdom (2013)

Group 1 Unlikely to cause human disease.

Group 2 Can cause human disease and may be a hazard to employees; it is unlikely to spread to the community and there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Group 3 Can cause severe human disease and may be a serious hazard to employees; it may spread to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Group 4 Causes severe human disease and is a serious hazard to employees; it is likely to spread to the community and there is usually no effective prophylaxis or treatment available

Risk Group Database

Search database.

1. Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens. 2013. “The Approved List of biological agents” 3rd Edition. Health and Safety Executive – United Kingdom. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/misc208.pdf 2. Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2243.3:2010. “Safety in laboratories Part 3: Microbiological aspects and containment facilities”. https://law.resource.org/pub/nz/ibr/as-nzs.2243.3.2010.pdf 3. Belgian risk group classifications: https://www.biosafety.be/content/tools-belgian-classification-micro-organisms-based-their-biological-risks 4. Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz. 2013. “Verordnung über Sicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz bei Tätigkeiten mit Biologischen Arbeitsstoffen (Biostoffverordnung - BioStoffV)”. http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_biostoffv/englisch_biostoffv.pdf http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/biostoffv_2013/BJNR251410013.html#BJNR251410013BJNG000500000 https://www.bgbl.de/xaver/bgbl/start.xav?startbk=Bundesanzeiger_BGBl 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2009. “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories" 5th Edition. Government Printing Office http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/ 6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 2017. Select Agent Program - Select Agents and Toxins. http://www.selectagents.gov/SelectAgentsandToxins.html 7. European Union. 2000. Directive 2000/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000 on the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to biological agents at work. Seventh individual directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EC Official Journal of the European Communities L262/21. October 17, 2000 https://osha.europa.eu/en/legislation/directives/exposure-to-biological-agents/77" rel="external" data-box="_blank">http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32000L0054 https://osha.europa.eu/en/legislation/directives/exposure-to-biological-agents/77 8. Government of Canada. 2016. Canadian Biosafety Handbook, Second Edition. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/canadian-biosafety-standards-guidelines/handbook-second-edition.html https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/laboratory-biosafety-biosecurity/pathogen-safety-data-sheets-risk-assessment.html 9. National Institutes of Health. 2016. NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines) (April 2016). The current version of the NIH Guidelines can be accesses at: https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/NIH_Guidelines.pdf 10. Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH), Biological Agents and Toxins Act (BATA). Updated Biological Agents and Toxins List. https://www.moh.gov.sg/biosafety/newsupdate/newsdetail/Index/Updated%20Biological%20Agents%20and%20Toxins%20List 11. World Health Organization. 2004. "Laboratory Biosafety Manual". 3rd Edition. WHO, Geneva. http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/biosafety/Biosafety7.pdf?ua=1

  • Risk Groups; Biosafety Levels
  • Laboratory Safety

Risk Groups

Biological agents that are known to infect humans are classified according to Risk Groups (RG), with RG1 as the lowest/least harmful and RG4 as the highest.

  • RG1 Agents – Are not associated with disease in healthy adult humans or animals.
  • RG2 Agents  – Are associated with disease that can cause infection of varying severity; rarely lethal.  Host immune system is usually capable of controlling the infection; preventative or therapeutic interventions are often available.
  • RG3 Agents – Are associated with serious or lethal human disease for which preventative or therapeutic interventions may be available (high individual risk but low community risk).
  • RG4 Agents – Are associated with lethal human disease for which preventative or therapeutic interventions are not usually  available (high individual risk and high community risk).
  • Pathogenicity of the organism
  • Mode of transmission and host range
  • Availability of effective preventive measures (e.g., vaccines)
  • Availability of effective treatment (e.g., antibiotics)
  • Other factors

Biosafety Levels

Biosafety Levels (BSLs) prescribe procedures and levels of containment for the particular microorganism or material (including research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules).  BSLs  are ranked from 1-4, with BSL-1 procedures being suitable for working with the lowest/least harmful biological agents.  They correlate with but do not equate to biosafety risk groups.   A risk assessment will determine the degree of correlation between an agent’s risk group classification and biosafety level .

  • Well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in immunocompetent adult humans, and that present minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment.
  • Free of zoonotic diseases.
  • Not infected with, implanted with, or containing RG2 or higher agents or materials.
  • Work is typically conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices.
  • Laboratory personnel must have specific training in the procedures conducted in the laboratory and must be supervised by a scientist with training in microbiology or a related science.
  • Personal health status may impact an individual’s susceptibility to infection, ability to receive immunizations or prophylactic interventions.  Individuals having these conditions should be encouraged to self-identify to the institution’s healthcare provider for appropriate counseling and guidance.
  • Wash hands after handling viable materials, after removing gloves, and before leaving the laboratory.
  • Wear pants (or other clothing that covers legs) and close-toed shoes.
  • Lab Coats.   Are generally not necessary.  However, wear lab coat or other protective clothing when handling viable materials; remove protective clothing before leaving lab areas.  All protective clothing must be either disposed of in the laboratory or laundered by the work unit, it should never be taken home.
  • Gloves. Wear gloves whenever contact with microorganisms could be reasonably anticipated and/or whenever skin on hands is not intact – including if a rash is present.  Change gloves when contaminated, glove integrity is compromised/suspect, or when otherwise necessary.
  • Goggles.  Wear chemical splash goggles when conducting procedures that have the potential to create splashes of microorganisms or other hazardous materials.
  • Keep laboratory doors closed; only individuals who are involved with the work are allowed in the area.
  • Mouth pipetting is prohibited; mechanical pipetting devices must be used.
  • Perform all procedures with a focus on minimizing the creation of splashes and/or aerosols.
  • Food, eating, drinking, smoking, handling contact lenses, applying cosmetics, and storing food for human consumption are not permitted in laboratory areas (you don’t even want to be chewing gum in the lab!).
  • Pay attention to hand and mouth hygiene while working in the lab (e.g., do not put a pen in you mouth, or behind your ear).
  • Plants and animals not associated with the work being performed should not be permitted in the laboratory.
  • Provide sharps containers within easy reach of work stations.
  • Laboratory supervisors should adopt improved engineering and work practice controls that reduce risk of sharps injuries.
  • Needles must not be bent, sheared, broken, recapped, removed from disposable syringes, or otherwise manipulated by hand before disposal.
  • Broken glassware must not be handled directly.  Instead, it must be removed using a brush and dustpan, tongs, or forceps.  Plastic ware should be substituted for glassware whenever possible.
  • Work surfaces after completion of work and after any spill or splash of potentially infectious material with appropriate disinfectant.
  • All cultures, stocks, and other potentially infectious materials before disposal using an effective method.  Materials to be decontaminated outside of the immediate laboratory must be placed in a durable, leak proof container and secured for transport.
  • Follow the appropriate  decontamination procedures .
  • A sign incorporating the universal biohazard symbol must be posted at the entrance to the laboratory when infectious agents are present.  The sign must include the name and phone number of the laboratory supervisor or other responsible personnel, and may include the name of the agent(s) in use.
  • All persons entering the laboratory must be advised of the potential hazards and meet specific entry/exit requirements.
  • Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic agents and are supervised by scientists competent in handling infectious agents and associated procedures.  The laboratory supervisor must ensure that laboratory personnel demonstrate proficiency in standard and special microbiological practices before working with BSL-2 agents.
  • Access to the laboratory is restricted when work is being conducted.
  • Protective Laboratory Coats , gowns, smocks, or uniforms designated for laboratory use must be worn while working with hazardous materials.  Remove protective clothing before leaving the laboratory.  Dispose of protective clothing appropriately, or deposit it for laundering by the institution.  It is recommended that laboratory clothing not be taken home.
  • Change gloves when contaminated, glove integrity is compromised, or when otherwise necessary.
  • Remove gloves and wash hands when work with hazardous materials has been completed and before leaving the laboratory.
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* A Note on the BMBL Agent Summary Statements ” –  Section VIII of the BMBL provides Agent Summary Statements that describe the hazards, recommended precautions, and levels of containment appropriate for handling specific human and zoonotic pathogens in the laboratory and in facilities that house laboratory vertebrate animals .  Agent Summary Statements are included for agents that meet one or more of the following three criteria: 1) the agent is a proven hazard to laboratory personnel working with infectious materials; 2) the agent has a high potential for causing LAIs even though no documented cases exist; and 3) the agent causes grave disease or presents a significant public health hazard.

Caveat:   No one should conclude that the absence of an Agent Summary Statement for a human pathogen means that the agent is safe to handle at BSL-1, or without a risk assessment to determine the appropriate level of containment.  Laboratory Supervisors should also conduct independent risk assessments before beginning work with an agent or procedure new to the laboratory, even though an agent summary statement is available.

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Earnings Perils: Redefining the Risks That Matter

Rob Stevenson

Looking at my twenty-five years of leading catastrophe modeling and exposure management teams, in my experience, the insurance industry has primarily focused its attention on what is regarded as ‘primary' perils, namely tropical cyclones and earthquakes.

This focus on these two perils is with good reason. Catastrophic events like Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Katrina (2005), and Ian (2022) and the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, all caused significant market losses and even insurer survival in some cases.  

I recall that the first Realistic Disaster Scenarios introduced by Lloyd’s in 1995 were likewise focused on these primary perils. Other less loss-generating perils were deemed 'secondary’ and were often overshadowed and overlooked.

These secondary perils are commonly defined as either producing small to mid-sized loss events or are perils that follow on as a secondary effect of a primary peril – such as flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, hailstorms, and tsunamis.

In the past decade, however, the catastrophe risk landscape has undergone significant changes. The insurance industry has witnessed a significant increase in losses from secondary perils which have also been exacerbated by factors such as exposure spread, climate change, and economic development.

These once 'secondary’ perils have therefore moved into the spotlight, and their financial impact on insurers and reinsurers has grown significantly. 

Death by a Thousand Cuts

It is largely true that while individual secondary events do not on their own cause significant industry-altering losses, their cumulative effect has led to alarming levels of loss for many (re)insurers.

In a situation reminiscent of a 'Death by a Thousand Cuts' scenario, numerous small events have had an enormous collective impact.

Some secondary events have led to their own multi-billion dollar losses such as the U.S. wildfires in 2018, and the 2021 flooding in western and central Europe. This raises the question of whether the industry should rethink the term 'secondary.'

According to a Gallagher Re report , during 2022, ‘… secondary perils were again the most expensive on an economic basis and exceeded those on the insured loss side.’

Estimating total insured losses of US$140 billion for 2022, the report stated that primary perils comprised US$67 billion (48 percent) of this total, with secondary perils making up the majority of losses at US$73 billion (52 percent).

Given the significant risk posed by these perils, this 'secondary' label now seems increasingly dismissive. Reconsidering the terminology could promote an enhanced appreciation and understanding of these risks, reflecting the true scope of their potential impact.

The Emerging Threat: Earning Perils

Catastrophe risk models have been in use for thirty-plus years and as computing power has grown substantially together with technological advances over recent years, the level of granularity required to accurately model high-gradient perils like floods, severe convective storms, and wildfires has now brought secondary perils into clearer focus. This has also helped to underline the threat they pose to earnings. 

Looking at business earnings, they are typically calculated as revenues less expenses, interest, and taxes. For a (re)insurer, simplistically, earnings are premiums collected on insurance policies (revenue) less claims paid out (expenses). 

While there are other expenses such as IT and human capital, these are typically smaller and much easier to plan for and predict. In contrast, outsized catastrophic losses and subsequent claims paid out are subject to much greater volatility for (re)insurers. 

Importance of Managing Earnings Risk

When firms consistently struggle to meet their cost of capital it raises concern among shareholders and board members.

Executives will question whether a firm understands both large-scale catastrophes and these risks that will erode year-over-year earnings, often driven by smaller, more frequent events from secondary perils.

This erosion of earnings represents a challenge known as earnings risk; a risk which is well understood within boardrooms but often not shared among practitioners involved in catastrophe management. 

Earnings risk is inherently tied to loss volatility, with natural catastrophe risk one of the main drivers. 

From a broader perspective, the volatility of (re)insurance earnings can be examined at a portfolio level and is often measured as a one-in-ten-year Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) normalized to the premium. 

One of the main challenges faced by the industry when dealing with secondary perils is their representation in risk models. Due to their unpredictable and localized nature, secondary perils are frequently linked to higher levels of under-insurance or coverage gaps, which can lead to significant disparities between insured and actual losses.

This lack of comprehensive modeling can result in a potential underestimation of losses, introducing unexpected earnings risk for (re)insurers. 

In addition, the frequency of secondary peril events typically outpaces that of primary perils. As a result, (re)insurers face a more consistent stream of claims, exerting pressure on their earnings.

Secondary perils are also more vulnerable to the impact of macroeconomic changes such as increases in property exposure, inflation, and supply chain issues – further amplifying earnings risk for (re)insurers.

While a single secondary-peril-driven event should not exhaust a reinsurance program, an aggregation of events can significantly impact a reinsurer’s profitability.

This shift aligns with the notion that reinsurance is bought vertically for primary risks, like cyclones and earthquakes, but horizontally for secondary perils, protecting against the cumulative risk of frequent, smaller losses.

Also adding to the complexity is the relentless progression of a changing climate. As our planet continues to warm, secondary perils like wildfires, severe storms, and floods are not only becoming more frequent but are also intensifying.

An uptick in severe weather events can lead to an increased volume and magnitude of claims, impacting a (re)insurer’s profitability.

While primary perils typically produce industry-wide losses impacting large swathes of the market, it is secondary peril losses impacting selected (re)insurers that result in the C-suite asking why earnings or financial performance lag behind their peers. 

So, perhaps now is the time to redefine ‘secondary perils’ as ‘earnings perils.’ 

The Role of Cloud-Based Catastrophe Modeling in Analyzing and Mitigating Risk

I should however note that the decision to classify a peril as an earnings peril or a primary peril will depend on a (re)insurer’s portfolio, given that a portfolio might have limited earthquake exposure but significant flood exposure.

Regardless, introducing the term ‘earnings perils’ underscores the significance of these risks and their potential impact on the profitability of a (re)insurer.

Measuring earnings perils poses a challenge that requires the use of risk models with a high level of detail, the ability to aggregate and measure correlation across multiple perils within the same event, and the capability to financially model complex policy terms and outwards reinsurance policies.

These capabilities provide underwriters with a more informed understanding of the frequency and severity of modeled perils.

With the availability of computing power through the cloud, firms can now more easily understand their 1-in-10 AEP and it is down to model vendors to ensure they can provide the necessary tools for firms to analyze and mitigate earnings risk effectively.

Moody's RMS offers its latest catastrophe modeling and exposure management applications through the Intelligent Risk Platform ™ , a cloud-native software as a service (SaaS) platform .

This suite of unified applications and high-definition risk models represent the next generation in resolution modeling, accounting for multi-peril and multi-region correlation.

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Rob Stevenson

Rob is a Senior Client Director within the U.K. sales team based at Moody's RMS offices in London. Before joining Moody's RMS, Rob was the Head of Operations at Apollo Underwriting and previously held senior roles including Head of Exposure Management and Head of Insurance Operations at Tokio Marine Kiln and Head of Exposure Management at Wellington Underwriting.

Rob helps to provide Moody's RMS clients with innovative, integrated solutions to manage risk challenges and to help their businesses excel.

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  • Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: variant risk assessments
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Risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2 variant V-23AUG-01 (or BA.2.86)

Updated 18 August 2023

Applies to England

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Part 1. Context and UK case

As of 3pm, 18 August 2023, 6 unrelated cases of a new variant BA.2.86 have been identified in 4 countries. This variant is notable due to a high number of mutations.

Israel published the first genome on 13 August 2023. Subsequently Denmark has identified 3 cases, and a single case has been identified in both the US and the UK.

The UK case was identified in a patient tested at a London hospital on 13 August 2023, with no recent travel history. The sample was sequenced routinely as part of local hospital based genomic research.

Part 2. Variant technical group assessment

Meeting and assessment 1pm, 18 August 2023.

The newly identified variant BA.2.86 has a high number of mutations and is distant from both its likely ancestor BA.2 and also currently circulating XBB-derived variants.

Despite the small number of sequences, the appearance of the variant rapidly in multiple countries which are still operating genomic surveillance, in individuals without travel history, suggests that there is established international transmission.

The sequences are similar across the world, potentially suggestive of a relatively recent emergence and rapid growth, but this is a low confidence assessment until further sequences are available.

The UK case has no recent travel history, also suggesting a degree of community transmission within the UK. This clinical site sequenced data rapidly locally, and data from surveillance systems from the same period is likely to follow, thus a more complete assessment of UK transmission will be possible in 1 to 2 weeks.

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At present the UK Health Security Agency ( UKHSA ) has designated this a variant for the purposes of tracking and assessment (V-23AUG-01). We will consider as signals of escalating concern the presence of phenotypic data confirming significant immune escape, other relevant phenotypic data, and signals of rapidly changing epidemiology in the UK or other countries where the variant has been detected.

UKHSA will share data from surveillance systems, variant growth rates, and phenotypic laboratory data when available. It is not possible to assess comparative severity by variant based on UK surveillance at present.

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Country Garden: How bad is China's property crisis?

HONG KONG, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The debt crisis at Country Garden (2007.HK) , China's largest property developer before this year and once considered a financially sound company, has triggered fresh contagion fears just two years after China Evergrande Group (3333.HK) defaulted.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT?

Since the sector's debt crisis unfolded in mid-2021, companies accounting for 40% of Chinese home sales have defaulted, most of them private property developers.

It has led to many unfinished homes, unpaid suppliers and creditors who are not only financial institutions but also ordinary folks who bought wealth management products linked to trust financing.

Many offshore bonds now trade at low double- or even single-digit cents on the dollar, and their share values have shrunk 90%. There is very little liquidity left in both the equity and debt markets as investors and creditors avoid the sector.

With home sales already very weak, the debt crisis could delay the prospect of a recovery of both the property market and the broader Chinese economy, in which real estate is a core pillar.

S&P Global Rating said on Wednesday it could adjust its forecast for property sales to a "descending staircase" figure from an "L" shaped recovery, if Country Garden officially defaulted.

Home-buyers could become even more wary of private developer brands, and home prices in many areas could come under greater pressure if Country Garden resorted to fire sales to raise cash.

Local government could tighten more the escrow accounts where presale funds are kept in order to ensure homes can be completed and delivered - a top priority set by Beijing.

These would in turn squeeze the sector more and lead to additional defaults even among state-backed developers.

HOW IS THIS TIME DIFFERENT?

Country Garden's quick slip into financial trouble did not shock the market as much as Evergrande's because most private developers had already defaulted. However, it emerged when the property market and the economy are in much worse shape.

While Country Garden's total liabilities of 1.4 trillion yuan ($191.7 billion) are only 59% as big as those at Evergrande, the world's most indebted developer, it has 3,121 projects across all China's provinces, compared to around 800 for Evergrande.

Workers walk past a construction site of residential buildings by property developer Country Garden in Kunming, Yunnan

Workers walk past a construction site of residential buildings by property developer Country Garden in Kunming, Yunnan province, China September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Wong Campion/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Evergrande was already insolvent at the time of default, but Country Garden currently still has more assets than liabilities. Analysts warn that Country Garden could become insolvent if it had to write off large inventories, and run into negative equity if its asset values dropped over time.

IS THERE SYSTEMIC RISK?

This week, news of missed payments on investment products by leading trust firm Zhongrong International Trust Co highlighted the outsized exposure of China's $3 trillion shadow banking sector to the property sector.

Increasing defaults by developers had already raised Chinese banks' non-performing loan ratios to 4.4% at the end of last year from 1.9% in 2020, Moody's said.

But market experts generally do not think China is on the brink of a "Lehman moment" with one company's failure cascading into a broader financial collapse, as financial institutions' exposure to the real estate sector has dropped in the past few years.

China's property sector accounts for more than half of global new home sales and home building, and it is the largest asset class in the world, with an estimated market value of around $62 trillion.

The next thing to watch is how regional governments, many of which rely on real estate revenue, manage their debt. Local-government financing vehicles (LGFVs) are estimated to hold 66 trillion yuan in total debt by the International Monetary Fund.

WILL CENTRAL GOVERNMENT INTERVENE?

China's Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, fuelled speculation more stimulus is on the way when it omitted the often-repeated phrase that "houses are for living in, not for speculation" from a statement in late July in which it pledged to adjust property policies in a timely manner.

But so far no bold stimulus measures have been announced, and views are split among industry experts whether they will eventuate.

Many analysts are hopeful that Beijing, which has so far refrained from state-funded bailouts, will roll out drastic measures in the coming weeks to stem the downward spiral.

Some analysts, however, question the tools that Beijing can use while maintaining a balancing act between providing support to the housing market and keeping debt in check.

($1 = 7.3040 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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    The National Criminal Database is most effective when combined with the County Level Criminal Background Search. National Sex Offender Registry. Applicant's names are compared to sex offender registration sites across the nation. If your applicant is a registered sex offender, Risk Assessment Group will report it. Retail Price: $24.95.

  15. Risk Groups; Biosafety Levels

    A risk assessment will determine the degree of correlation between an agent's risk group classification and biosafety level. ... Laboratory Supervisors should also conduct independent risk assessments before beginning work with an agent or procedure new to the laboratory, even though an agent summary statement is available.

  16. Earnings Perils: Redefining the Risks That Matter

    Estimating total insured losses of US$140 billion for 2022, the report stated that primary perils comprised US$67 billion (48 percent) of this total, with secondary perils making up the majority of losses at US$73 billion (52 percent). Given the significant risk posed by these perils, this 'secondary' label now seems increasingly dismissive.

  17. Online Application/ Background Authorization Login

    If you have received login information from your prospective employer, please use that information now to log in. * Client ID

  18. Applicant Authorization

    If you need any other assistance, please call Risk Assessment Group at 866-777-1114. Thank you. ...

  19. Risk assessment: groups who are at risk

    Groups at particular risk. Remember - some workers may have specific needs and may be at particular risk. Find information on health and safety considerations for the following groups: young workers. migrant workers. new workers (information available in a range of languages) people with disabilities. new and expectant mothers.

  20. Privacy Policy

    All personal information collected by Risk Assessment Group will be used for legitimate business purposes consistent with this Policy. Risk Assessment Group may compile statistical information concerning the usage of the Site. This information allows Risk Assessment Group to monitor its utilization and continuously improve its quality.

  21. AM Best Assigns Preliminary Credit Assessment to Indigo Risk Retention

    Indigo RRG is a new risk retention group that intends to underwrite medical professional liability (MPL) insurance for individual physicians and physician groups. Concert is a specialty insurance ...

  22. Risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2 variant V-23AUG-01 (or BA.2.86)

    Meeting and assessment 1pm, 18 August 2023. The newly identified variant BA.2.86 has a high number of mutations and is distant from both its likely ancestor BA.2 and also currently circulating XBB ...

  23. Insurance Group NAIC Wants Power to Veto Credit Ratings, Drawing

    The proposed change could have big implications for US insurance companies, which reported $8.2 trillion in total cash and invested assets at the end of 2022. They're closely bound by rules that ...

  24. Environments

    The health risk assessment reveals that the concentration of potentially toxic elements in geothermal waters are lower than the guideline values for the protection of freshwater aquatic life and dermal exposure (bathing or balneology). ... (PCA, HCA): the first group is the Na−Cl type, TDS > 10 g/L, controlled by deep circulation, while the ...

  25. Country Garden: How bad is China's property crisis?

    By Clare Jim. August 17, 202310:33 AM PDTUpdated 11 days ago. HONG KONG, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The debt crisis at Country Garden (2007.HK), China's largest property developer before this year and ...