Italian Workers Compensation Authority (INAIL)
The Italian Workers Compensation Authority (INAIL) is a public body (10.000 employees, 8 billion € turnover) and it manages major funding programs to improve safety of the Italian industry (200 M€/y).
INAIL promotes interventions ranging from prevention and safety at workplaces, develops a culture of prevention aimed at the accidents reduction and supports companies that invest in prevention with economic incentives. In 2010 INAIL has incorporated the Italian Research Institute for Prevention and Safety, which is now the INAIL Research Area. Relating to research activities in the biotech field INAIL focuses on occupational and environmental safety in the industrial biotech applications for the sustainable development.
Task attributed to INAIL is the assessment of PHA production process with reference to work safety and health risks. The industrial strategies for PHA production need to be compared in order to optimize both the process efficiency and the work safety. In particular, the study will be focused on the definition of the bioreactor operating parameters, which directly affect some engineering aspects. According to the various operations provided for the PHA production process, the biohazard related to different exposure way to biological agents will be studied. A part of the project will be dedicated to the molecular analysis of biofilm involved in microbial PHA production from municipal residuals that can allow identifying not only the bacteria with PHA accumulating ability, but also for screening potentially human bacterial pathogens. As regards the professional chemical risk assessment, the actual wide use of chlorinated solvents in extraction and purification phases of PHA production might be associated to exposure to toxic solvent vapors, which may have an impact both on human health and on safety. Therefore, selection of process reagents to be used instead of chlorinated solvents has to be made in full compliance with EC Regulation.
Key persons involved
Dr. Biancamaria Pietrangeli is a Biologist (1983) specialist in “Hygiene and Public Health” (1986). Former experience (1988-1995) as researcher in Enitecnologie for the development of industrial biotech processes in the environmental & sustainable development fields. In INAIL (since 1995) the main activity is the assessment and management of safety in biotech applications. Management experience of Research Projects funded by National Bodies (since 1999); Member of national and international Working Groups on Biosafety and Biotechnology (since 1999); Adjunct Professor of “Biosafety”. Degree course "Medical, molecular and cellular biotechnologies” of the Faculty of Medicine. University of Rome “Sapienza” (since 2008). Author of over 100 scientific papers and technical reports in biosafety, environmental biotechnology and sustainable development.
Dr. Ing. Roberto Lauri is a Mechanical Engineer (2004), specialist in “Industrial Risk and Application of methodologies aimed at estimating the consequences of releases of hazardous compounds in the workplaces”. In INAIL (since 2004) the main activities are the safe management of chemical and DeNOX plants, explosive atmospheres and the study of predictive methods for estimating the effects of accidents (toxic releases, fires and explosions) on workers safety and health. Didactic seminars in Degree Course “Catalysis Science and Technology” of the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Rome “La Sapienza” (since 2012). His scientific activity is documented by more than 40 publications on the safe operation of chemical and DeNOX plants, explosive atmospheres and assessment of the possible consequences of the industrial accidents.
Dr. Emma Incocciati is a Chemist (1996), specialist in “Security and Risk Prevention in workplaces” (1999). Former experience (1998-1999) as researcher in the field of inorganic material synthesis and plastic material mechanochemical treatments at ENEA New Materials Department. Degree in: “Safety and Protection Engineering” (2012) with specialization in risk evaluation from explosive atmospheres in the industrial sector. In INAIL (from 1999) the main activity is the study of chemical risk assessment strategies and methods in different production sectors and laboratory activity aimed to analytical methods development and validation for airborne chemical and physical agents monitoring. Member of national working groups for the drawing up of national guidelines regarding chemical agents risk assessment and safety & health at workplaces. Author of over 80 scientific papers and technical reports on analytical chemistry, classification criteria for chemicals, waste treatment and sustainable remediation.
Dr. Domenico Davolos has experience of several years working in molecular biology research (e.g. mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences, microbial DNA) within European academic institutions and universities, including Sapienza University of Rome (Rome, Italy), where he started his studies in biological disciplines. He has extensive experience as an author of peer reviewed articles, and as a peer reviewer. He currently holds a research position at INAIL Research, Rome, Italy. His research interest focuses on diverse topics such as advances in molecular analysis methodologies for sequencing of microbial genomes and environmental DNA (metagenomics).