Superfund Research Program
Biological Hazard Site Training in Emerging Technologies (BioSTET) for Health and Safety
Project Leader: Darrah Kaye Sleeth
Co-Investigator: Rodney G. Handy
Grant Number: R25ES033046
Funding Period: 2021-2026
Biological and pathogenic agents such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and genetically modified organisms present an ever-evolving and ongoing threat to occupational health, especially in site cleanup. However, current educational efforts emphasize chemical hazards, often to the detriment of biological hazards. Research on new and emerging technologies has offered promising inroads to safer resolution of these hazards; however, new and supplemental training, as well as further advances in research, are greatly needed.
This collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Utah (lead institution), California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), Montana Technological University, and Texas A&M University (consultation)) seeks to create academic and continuing education (CE) courses in emerging technologies specific to site biological/infectious agent safety. This collaborative, multidimensional educational experience will facilitate not only skills development and field application, but also create opportunities for innovative, cross-disciplinary research experiences and curriculum development on emerging technologies.
Aim 1 seeks to successfully develop, implement, and assess twelve continuing education modules and learner certificate program for site biological/infectious agent health and safety. This certificate program will be targeted towards both working professionals (e.g., industrial hygienists, safety professionals) and students in the style of a HAZWOPER-type supplement. The time required will be equivalent to a typical HAZWOPER refresher course (i.e., one 8-hour day) and will instruct participants in topics and techniques related to biological safety as well as novel and emerging technologies relevant to biological safety.
Aim 2 seeks to successfully develop, implement, and evaluate a collaborative and joint 4+1/graduate research topics course in site biological/infectious agent health and safety. This course will be offered at all participating institutions and will focus on emerging techniques and strategies in designing, developing, and integrating devices, systems, and controls into the site biological safety aspects of environmental characterization, clean- up, and remediation. Enrolled students will work as interdisciplinary teams with members from each partnering institution. Each student team will not only have a faculty advisor, but also an inter-institutional committee made up of at least 3 members.
Aim 3 seeks to successfully develop, implement, and evaluate a collaborative and joint graduate applied topics course utilizing products resulting from the research course in site biological/infectious agent health and safety.
The proposed course will be offered at all participating institutions and include the necessary rubrics from the 29 CFR 1910.120 OSHA standard for 40- hour HAZWOPER certification in addition to the additional biological and infectious agent health and safety supplemental material developed with this proposal.