Working with Biological Agents
Biosafety has developed guidance documents for specific organisms. The purpose of the safety sheets are to provide investigators with sufficient information to conduct informed risk assessments when working with biologcal agents in the lab. Such information includes the virology of the agent, suggested biosafety containment level, appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), required containment procedures, appropriate disinfection practices, and the risks associated with its use in animal models.
The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for including guidance documents, such as, safety sheets and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that address specific biohazards used in their lab. Moreover, all research personnel working with viruses classified as risk group 2 or above, must develop and incorporate safety sheets into their lab-specific biosafety manuals (LSBM). Examples are listed below. PIs conducting activities with any of these materials should print out the provided document(s) and include them into your LSBM, if they apply to your laboratory or use them as a guide to create your own. For questions on developing SOPs or safety sheet, please contact Biosafety.
What is a biological safety sheet?
A biological safety sheet features background information on a particular biological agent (e.g. agent epidemiology, mode of transmission, environmental stability, physical/chemical modes of disinfection, availability of medical therapies, history of lab acquired infections) as well as, suggested biosafety level, handling, storage, spill and exposure procedures. Additionally it allows the user to understand the risks of working with a biologcal agent. Biological safety sheets are a great tool for developing laboratory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and providing succinct agent-specific laboratory training. A biological safety sheet differs from a laboratory SOP.
What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?
An SOP is a written set of instructions that documents how to safely perform work involving a biological agent (e.g. safety transporting cell from one building to another, DNA extraction, cell culture, virus propagation, etc).
Animal Work Involving Biohazards:
All animal activities involving biohazards must be registered with the University Animal Welfare Committee (UAWC). Animal research utilizing recombinant materials must be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Personnel must be listed on the IBC and UAWC approved protocols and all relevant training must be completed before beginning research.