WHO launches Risk Assessment Tool biosafety mobile app

Mobile app - WHO biohazard sign

The World Health Organization launched the RAST application for biosafety and lab biosecurity.

The World Health Organization has announced the launch of its new mobile app, the Risk Assessment Tool (RAST) for Biosafety and Laboratory Biosecurity.

The application is meant to assist in assessing laboratory risk

The mobile app is meant to support laboratory workers, who are at a risk as high as 1,000 times more than the general population when it comes to infections.  The RAST application is intended to be used alongside the Laboratory biosafety manual (LBM4) risk- and evidence-based approach from the WHO.

Mobile app - World Health Organization Logo on Building
Credit: Photo by depositphotos.com

The application is a reflection of the LBM4’s first two steps of the risk assessment framework, which are to gather information and to evaluate the risk.  By using this digital tool, the goal is to boost understanding of risks and hazards, while also promoting meticulous assessment and compliance with biological safety practices by people who work in laboratories.

Standing out from among other mobile app options for biohazard safety

There are other applications meant to help support lab workers in keeping safe from biohazards and biorisks. That said, most of those options are focused on providing information.  The tool released by the WHO is logic-based and can perform a number of calculations to measure complex risks.

It makes it possible for people who use it to obtain information about the potential hazards connected with the work they intend to do, whether it is in a research lab, a diagnostics lab, or even when they will be conducting field work.

The RAST mobile app is intended only for use in providing advice for the consideration of whether a risk is suitable and if adequate risk control measures have been applied. Since risk control measures will change from one region to the next, the recommendation made by the World Health Organization is to conduct a full manual risk assessment in alignment with the LBM4 recommendations, or to perform any other appropriate risk assessment process.

This tool is meant to supplement, not replace the manual steps taken by laboratory workers according to the recommendations made in the LBM4.

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