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Facility Safety Requirements

3.1 Signage

Biohazard Signs or Labels must be posted in/on:

  • entrance doors to biological laboratories/ work areas (BSL-1, BSL-2)
  • biosafety cabinets
  • equipment (centrifuges, refrigerators, freezers, etc.) used with biohazardous materials
  • transport containers for biohazardous materials
  • secondary containers for biohazardous waste
  • any other equipment used to store or manipulate biohazardous materials
  • sample containers for biohazardous materials.


3.2 Hand Washing Station

Laboratories must have a sink for hand washing. The sink may be manually, hands-free or automatically operated. It should be located near the exit door.


3.3 Biological Spill Kit

Laboratories and related work areas handling biohazardous materials must have access to a Spill Kit which meets the specific needs of a biohazardous spill.  

Contents should be contained within a handled bucket and include:

  • disposable lab coat or coveralls
  • disposable gloves
  • face shield/mask
  • protective footwear
  • spray disinfectant
  • clean-up supplies (e.g., forceps, dustpan, autoclave bags, spill pillows and socks)
  • sign that reads “Biohazard Spill DO NOT ENTER”

Expiration date on disinfectant must be checked periodically; expired disinfectant must be replaced.

If respiratory hazard is indicated on Risk Assessment Forms for the BSL-2 agents in question, respiratory protection in the form of respirators must be provided separately by the laboratory; it will not be included in the Spill Kit. These units must be fit-tested by EHS. Contact EHS to arrange.

All personnel working with BSL-2 materials must receive lab-specific training for Biohazard Spill Kit use.


3.4 Required Maintenance Of Safety Equipment In Facility

3.4.1 Eyewash Station

Eyewash must be flushed for a minimum of 5 minutes weekly. For correction of functional problems or for repairs, contact University Facilities or your building’s Facilities manager.

A log sheet documenting weekly flushes per eyewash must be kept by the Laboratory Manager or other designated personnel.

3.4.2 Safety Shower

EHS verifies proper functioning of safety showers on an annual basis. For correction of functional problems or for repairs, contact University Facilities or your building’s Facilities Manager.

3.4.3 Fire Extinguishers

Extinguishers which are located in laboratories must be checked monthly for proper charge by lab personnel.

Those located in hallways are checked monthly by custodial staff, building maintenance/ Facilities staff, or other designated personnel.


3.5 Laboratory Security and Personal Responsibility

The access doors to BSL-2 work areas must be closed when any work is being performed with BSL-2 materials.

All access doors to the BSL-2 area must be locked when no one is in the lab for an extended period of time.

Storage of BSL- 2 material that is located in an area accessible to the public or to any non-BSL2 lab personnel must be kept locked unless removing or adding material.

If your physical/mental condition at any given time is compromised in some way (e.g., sleep-deprived, ill, exhausted, emotionally distraught, etc.) such that you are more likely to make serious mistakes, then postpone and reschedule any complex manipulations with biohazardous materials that you may have planned to do in the lab.

If you need to work in the lab outside of regular hours, such as at night, or on weekends/holidays, either arrange to work with a ‘buddy,’ or let a responsible person know what your timeframe for working in the lab will be. Pre-arrange with that person to 1) check on your status if you have not left the lab or arrived at your home by your stated time, and 2) contact your supervisor if it seems your safety could be in question.


3.6 Restricted Entry For Health Reasons

The PI must discuss lab hazards with individuals who wish to enter the lab area but have health concerns regarding immunocompetency. If circumstances warrant, and/or in consultation with the Occupational Health physician or nurse, the PI can restrict access to the lab for such individuals for the sake of their health and well-being.


3.7 Visitor Access To / Presence In The Lab

Visitor access will be determined by the PI.

Prior to entry into the laboratory, all visitors must be informed of:

  • Basic emergency evacuation procedures.
  • Health hazards specific to the work occurring in the lab, as well as specific safety practices for avoiding those hazards. They must be told to avoid physical contact with all research equipment, material and working surfaces, unless invited and/or approved to do otherwise by authorized personnel, who will provide appropriate supervision.

Infrequent visitors (i.e., those who enter the area less than once a month) must be made aware of the above items upon each visit.

Frequent visitors (i.e., those who enter the area at least once a month) can be informed initially, and updated as needed if conditions change in the lab.

If visitors’ time spent in the lab will exceed a short stay, they will be:

  • Shown the emergency exit route from laboratory
  • Given a review of the Emergency Procedures list posted in the lab
  • Shown the locations and proper use of emergency eyewash and shower
  • Shown the locations of the nearest fire alarm and extinguisher

To minimize possible liability issues, it is highly recommended that documentation be kept which would record dates/times of these visits, and verify visitors’ receipt of lab hazard and emergency response information (i.e., a visitor sign-in/ sign-out/ receipt-of-training log).


3.8 Housekeeping And Service Personnel Access To/ Presence In Lab

The presence of housekeepers in the laboratory should be kept to a minimum.

PIs must coordinate with housekeeping supervisors to schedule housekeeping services that will be provided for the lab, and the frequency of service. Custodians/ housekeepers can be responsible for:

  • Emptying regular household trash
  • Regular sweeping and mopping of floors

PIs or their designees are responsible for informing housekeeping supervisors of any safety awareness issues for housekeepers entering their labs and performing their duties.

When repairs or other work needs to be done in the lab by service providers/facilities/movers:

  • Lab hazards must be secured in the service providers’ work area.
  • The area should be cleared, cleaned and decontaminated (if applicable) by the date that the work is to be done.
  • The PI or designee will ensure awareness by either ensuring that a responsible person from the lab will serve as escort for service worker entry into the lab, and convey pertinent hazard information to workers or posting a ‘Clearance for Lab Access’ form on main lab entry. The form should indicate that preparations have been made for workers’ safety, and documenting any hazards present that they need to be informed of. (Clearance for Lab Access form can be found in the APPENDICES of this manual, and on the EHS website.)

To minimize possible liability issues, it is highly recommended that documentation be kept which would record dates/times of receipt, and a brief description of any lab-specific hazard awareness training provided to custodial and service personnel.


3.9 BSL-1 And BSL-2 Activities Within The Same Lab Work Space

When separate BSL-1 and BSL-2 work is performed in the same laboratory space, the PI or designee will be responsible for ensuring that all lab workers in that space are aware of the hazards associated with the BSL-2 agents in use, and know how to avoid exposure.


3.10 Working With Different Biological Agents In Shared Lab Spaces

As more bioresearch groups work in open or shared lab spaces and use common equipment, there is an increasing need for sharing biohazard information across the groups.

Be aware that biosafety measures specific to your lab group are based in part on the risk assessments for the agents used, and are not necessarily applicable to other lab groups using biological agents with whom you share physical lab space; they will have their own lab-specific biosafety measures.

Lab personnel must receive awareness training on the agents/materials used by others with whom they share workspaces, and others must receive awareness training on the agents/materials used by your lab group. PIs or their designees will provide this training. See Section 5 for details.


3.11 Maintaining The General Condition Of The Lab Facility

Maintaining tidy, clean floors, sinks, benches and equipment, and well-organized/ inventoried shelves, cabinets, and supplies is essential for successful biological research and primarily will be the responsibility of laboratory personnel.

Specific cleaning practices will be determined by PI and Lab Manager and must be followed by all lab personnel.

Problems observed by lab personnel involving the lab air handling, plumbing, electrical power, security or lighting systems must be immediately referred to the PI, Lab Manager or designated person. PIs, Lab Managers or designees will communicate problems to, and request repairs from the appropriate university Facilities service group for that location.


3.12 Integrated Pest Management

Insect and rodent pests present a contamination risk and containment breach in laboratory areas, therefore an integrated pest management program is an important part of managing a research facility.

The most common approach to pest control is the application of pesticides as a preventive or remedial measure. This can be effective as a corrective action, but pesticide use has limited long-term effects when used alone. In addition, pesticides can contaminate the research environment via volatilization.

To minimize the presence of pests and the use of pesticides in the lab, a comprehensive effort is required that integrates housekeeping, maintenance, and pest control, and is the responsibility of the PI and laboratory personnel to manage this integration, as each situation necessitates.

An integrated pest management program prevents pest problems by managing the facility environment to make it less conducive to pest infestation in the following ways:

  • Food and drink, and food/drink storage are not allowed in any BSL-1 or BSL-2 space
  • Routine cleaning and mopping of floors must occur
  • The lab may place insect bait traps as needed, but must regularly monitor and replace them
  • Lab workers must maintain a daily visual awareness for the presence of vermin and insects
  • Lab workers must report any signs of insects/ pests to the PI or lab manager, who will then contact university Facilities to arrange pest control/removal by appropriate means; lab workers will document any service provided.