Barriers to implementation of optimal laboratory biosafety practices in Pakistan

Sadia Shakoor, Humaira Shafaq, Rumina Hasan, Shahida M. Qureshi, Maqboola Dojki, Molly A. Hughes, Anita K.M. Zaidi, Erum Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The primary goal of biosafety education is to ensure safe practices among workers in biomedical laboratories. Despite several educational workshops by the Pakistan Biological Safety Association (PBSA), compliance with safe practices among laboratory workers remains low. To determine barriers to implementation of recommended biosafety practices among biomedical laboratory workers in Pakistan, we conducted a questionnaire-based survey of participants attending 2 workshops focusing on biosafety practices in Karachi and Lahore in February 2015. Questionnaires were developed by modifying the BARRIERS scale in which respondents are required to rate barriers on a 1-4 scale. Nineteen of the original 29 barriers were included and subcategorized into 4 groups: awareness, material quality, presentation, and workplace barriers. Workshops were attended by 64 participants. Among barriers that were rated as moderate to great barriers by at least 50% of respondents were: lack of time to read biosafety guidelines (workplace subscale), lack of staff authorization to change/improve practice (workplace subscale), no career or self-improvement advantages to the staff for implementing optimal practices (workplace subscale), and unclear practice implications (presentation subscale). A lack of recognition for employees' rights and benefits in the workplace was found to be a predominant reason for a lack of compliance. Based on perceived barriers, substantial improvement in work environment, worker facilitation, and enabling are needed for achieving improved or optimal biosafety practices in Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalHealth security
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


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