General Biosafety Practices

  1. Maintain strict adherence to standard microbiological practices and techniques.
  2. Personnel working with infectious agents or materials must be aware of potential hazards and must be trained in the practices and techniques necessary for handling such material.
  3. The PI must maintain a Biological Safety Manual which identifies the hazards and safety procedures designed to minimize or eliminate risks.
  4. Access to areas where infectious agents harmful to persons are used shall be limited to authorized personnel and appropriate warning signs will be posted.
  5. Personnel must wash their hands after they handle viable materials and animals, after removing gloves and before leaving the laboratory.
  6. All procedures must be performed carefully to minimize the creation of splashes or aerosols.
  7. Work surfaces must be decontaminated at least once a day and after any spill of viable material.
  8. All contaminated liquid or solid wastes or potentially infectious biological material will be autoclaved or properly disinfected prior to disposal. Materials must be transported in durable, leak-proof containers and closed for transport from the laboratory.
  9. An insect and rodent control program must be in effect, if applicable.
  10. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, coats, gowns, shoe covers, boots, respirators, face shields and safety glasses must be provided by the individual’s department. Use of PPE is required when working in certain animal studies, during animal necropsy, when handling pathogenic organisms, or when conducting maintenance or service in the laboratory.
  11. The use of vaccines may provide an increased level of personal protection. Some work requires specific vaccines to be administered before work can begin.
  12. Primary containment barriers must be provided to protect personnel and the laboratory environment from exposure to infectious agents. A biosafety cabinet (BSC) is the principal device used to provide primary containment of infectious aerosols. A sealed safety centrifuge cup or sealed tube are other examples of primary containment.
  13. Secondary containment provides protection of the environment and the public external to the laboratory from exposure to biohazardous materials. Examples of secondary containment are sealed boxes for carrying primary tubes of biohazardous materials and the design of the laboratory room itself. Facility design protects personnel working inside and outside of the laboratory from biohazardous materials which may be accidentally released. The recommended secondary barrier(s) will depend on the risk of transmission of specific agents.