Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines
Excerpts from pages 19-23, Laboratory Biosafety
Guidelines, 3rd edition, 2004. Published by the authority of the Minister
of Health Population and Public Health Branch, Centre for Emergency Preparedness
and Response, Government of Canada
(Immunology Department specific additions made September
3.1 Operational Practices for Laboratories
3.1.1 General Practices
The following general practices are required for all laboratories handling
- A documented, laboratory-specific procedural
(safety) manual must be available for all staff, and its requirements
followed; it must be reviewed and updated regularly. It should be posted in
the culture area and signed by all workers.
- Personnel must receive training on the potential
hazards associated with the work involved and the necessary precautions to
prevent exposure to infectious agents and release of contained material;
personnel must show evidence that they understood the training provided;
training must be documented and signed by both the employee and supervisor;
retraining programs should also be implemented.
- Eating, drinking, smoking, storing of either food,
personal belongings, or utensils, applying cosmetics, and inserting or
removing contact lenses are not permitted in any laboratory; the wearing of
contact lenses is permitted only when other forms of corrective eyewear are
not suitable; wearing jewelry is not recommended in the laboratory.
- Oral pipetting of any substance is prohibited in any laboratory.
- Long hair is to be tied back or restrained so that it cannot come into
contact with hands, specimens, containers or equipment.
- Access to laboratory and support areas is limited to
authorized personnel. **No children allowed.**
- Open wounds, cuts, scratches and grazes should be covered with waterproof
- Laboratories are to be kept clean and tidy. Storage of materials that are
not pertinent to the work and cannot be easily decontaminated (e.g., journals,
books, correspondence) should be minimized; paperwork and report writing
should be kept separate from such biohazardous material work areas. No
scientific equipment or materials in student carrel areas as these areas are
also used for coffee breaks or lunches.
- Protective laboratory clothing, properly fastened,
must be worn by all personnel, including visitors, trainees and others
entering or working in the laboratory; suitable footwear with closed toes and
heels must be worn in all laboratory areas. Lab coasts **must** be
worn for all BSC1
- Where there is a known or potential risk of exposure to splashes or flying
objects, whether during routine operations or under unusual circumstances
(e.g., accidents), eye and face protection must be used. Careful consideration
should be given to the identification of procedures requiring eye and face
protection, and selection should be appropriate to the hazard.
- Gloves (e.g., latex, vinyl, co-polymer) must be worn
for all procedures that might involve direct skin contact with biohazardous
material or infected animals; gloves are to be removed when leaving the
laboratory and decontaminated with other laboratory wastes before
- Protective laboratory clothing must not be worn in
nonlaboratory areas (student carrels, library); laboratory clothing must not
be stored in contact with street clothing.
- If a known or suspected exposure occurs, contaminated clothing must be
decontaminated before laundering (unless laundering facilities are within the
containment laboratory and have been proven to be effective in
- The use of needles, syringes and other sharp objects
should be strictly limited; needles and syringes should be used only
for parenteral injection and aspiration of fluids from laboratory animals and
diaphragm bottles; caution should be used when handling needles and syringes
to avoid auto-inoculation and the generation of aerosols during use and
disposal; where appropriate, procedures should be performed in a BSCa>;
needles should not be bent, sheared, recapped or removed from the syringes;
they should be promptly placed in a puncture-resistant sharps container (in
accordance with Canadian Standards Association [CSA] standard
Z316.6-95(R2000)) before disposal.
- Hands must be washed after gloves have been removed,
before leaving the laboratory and at any time after handling materials known
or suspected to be contaminated.
- Work surfaces must be cleaned and decontaminated
with a suitable disinfectant (i.e., 70% ethanol) at the end of the day and
after any spill of potentially biohazardous material; work surfaces
that have become permeable (i.e., cracked, chipped, loose) to biohazardous
material must be replaced or repaired. Do **not** use
bleach in hoods except in the case of spills - highly
- Contaminated materials and equipment leaving the laboratory for servicing
or disposal must be appropriately decontaminated and labelled or tagged-out as
such. It is your responsibility to autoclave and discard
all potentially biohazardous waste.
- Efficacy monitoring of autoclaves used for decontamination with biological
indicators must be done regularly (i.e., consider weekly, depending on the
frequency of use of the autoclave), and the records of these results and cycle
logs (i.e., time, temperature and pressure) must also be kept on file.
- All contaminated materials, solid or liquid, must be
decontaminated before disposal or reuse; the material must be contained
in such a way as to prevent the release of the contaminated contents during
removal; centralized autoclaving facilities are to follow the applicable
containment level 2 requirements.
- Disinfectants effective against the agents in use must be available at all
times within the areas where the biohazardous material is handled or stored
(i.e., 10% bleach, 1% SDS in water).
- Leak-proof containers are to be used for the
transport of infectious materials within facilities (e.g., between
laboratories in the same facility or clinic to lab).
- Spills, accidents or exposures to
infectious materials and losses of containment must be reported immediately to
the laboratory supervisor and Administrative Assistant, Karen Morrow; written
records of such incidents must be maintained by the Department, and the
results of incident investigations should be used for continuing
- An effective rodent and insect control program must be maintained.
3.1.2 Containment Level 2
In addition to the general practices required for all laboratories handling
infectious substances, the following describe the minimum operation practices
required for containment level 2.
- Good microbiological laboratory practices intended to avoid the release of
infectious agents are to be employed.
- BSCs must be used for procedures that may produce
infectious aerosols and that involve high concentrations or large volumes of
biohazardous material. Laboratory Officer/Institutional Biosafety
Committee, should perform a risk assessment to determine which procedures and
what concentrations and volumes necessitate the use of a BSC.
- Appropriate signage indicating the nature of the
hazard being used (e.g., biohazard sign, containment level) must be signed by
all workers and posted outside each laboratory; if infectious agents
used in the laboratory require special provisions for entry, the relevant
information must be included on the sign; the contact information of the
laboratory supervisor or other responsible person(s) must also be
- Entry must be restricted to laboratory staff, animal
handlers, maintenance staff and others on official business. **No
- All people working in the containment area must be
trained in and follow the operational protocols for the project in
process. Trainees must be accompanied by a trained staff member.
Visitors, maintenance staff, janitorial staff and others, as deemed
appropriate, must also be provided with training and/or supervision
commensurate with their anticipated activities in the containment
- Emergency procedures for spill clean-up, BSC
failure, fire, animal escape and other emergencies must be written, easily
accessible and followed. A record must be made of other people entering
the facility during an emergency.
1Biological Safety Cabinet