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Safe Laboratory Practices
Laboratory Biosafety Level Criteria
Table1: Summary of  Recommended Biosafety  Levels for Infectious Agents
Table1a: Summary of Vertebrate Animal Biosafety Levels (ABSL)
Biological Emergencies
Biosafety Cabinets (BSC's)
Types of BSC's
Comparison of BSC's Characteristics
Selection of a BSC Through Risk Assessment
IBC Application Forms
Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL1)

Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL-1) is suitable for work involving well characterized agents that are not known to cause disease in healthy adult humans, and that are of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment.

A. Standard Practices
  1. The animal facility director establishes policies, procedures, and protocols for emergency situations. Each project is subject to pre-approval by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).   Any special practices are approved at this time.

  2. Only those persons required for program or support purposes are authorized to enter the facility.  Before entering, persons are advised of the potential biohazards and are instructed on the appropriate safeguards.

  3. An appropriate medical surveillance program is in place.

  4. A safety manual is prepared or adopted.  Personnel are advised of special hazards, and are required to read and follow instructions on practices and procedures.

  5. Eating, drinking, smoking, handling contact lenses, applying cosmetics, and storing food for human use should only be done in designated areas and are not permitted in animal or procedure rooms.

  6. All procedures are carefully performed to minimize the creation of aerosols or splatters.

  7. Work surfaces are decontaminated after use or after any spill of viable materials.

  8. All wastes from the animal room (including animal tissues, carcasses, and contaminated bedding) are transported from the animal room in leak-proof, covered containers for appropriate disposal in compliance with applicable institutional or local requirements.  Incineration is recommended.

  9. Policies for the safe handling of sharps are instituted.

  10. Personnel wash their hands after handling cultures and animals, after removing gloves, and before leaving the animal facility.

  11. A biohazard sign must be posted on the entrance to the animal room whenever infectious agents are present.  The hazard warning sign identifies the infectious agent(s) in use, lists the name and telephone number of the responsible person(s), and indicates the special requirements for entering the animal room (e.g., the need for immunizations and respirators).

  12. An insect and rodent control program is in effect (see BMBL 4th edition: Appendix G).
B. Special Practices None

C. Safety Equipment (Primary Barriers)

  1. The wearing of laboratory coats, gowns, and/or uniforms in the facility is recommended.  Laboratory coats remain in the animal room. Gowns and uniforms are not worn outside the facility.

  2. Persons having contact with non-human primates should assess their risk of mucous membrane exposure and wear appropriate eye and face protection.

D. Laboratory Facilities (Secondary Barriers)

  1. The animal facility is separated from areas that are open to unrestricted personnel traffic within the building.

  2. External facility doors are self-closing and self-locking.  Doors to animal rooms open inward, are self-closing, and are kept closed when experimental animals are present.  Cubicle room inner doors may open outward or be horizontal or vertical sliding.

  3. The animal facility is designed, constructed, and maintained to facilitate cleaning and housekeeping.  The interior surfaces (walls, floors, and ceilings) are water resistant

  4. Internal facility appurtenances, such as light fixtures, air ducts, and utility pipes, are arranged to minimize horizontal surface areas.

  5. Windows are not recommended.  Any windows must be resistant to breakage.  Where possible, windows should be sealed.   If the animal facility has windows that open, they are fitted with fly screens.

  6. If floor drains are provided, the traps are always filled with water and/or an appropriate disinfectant.

  7. Ventilation should be provided in accordance with the Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, latest edition.  No recirculation of exhaust air should occur.  It is recommended that animal rooms maintain negative pressure compared to adjoining hallways.

  8. The facility has a hand washing sink.

  9. Cages are washed manually or in a cage washer.   The mechanical cage washer should have a final rinse temperature of at least 180F.

  10. Illumination is adequate for all activities, avoiding reflections and glare that could impede vision.


Reproduced from "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, BMBL 4th Edition" with permission from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
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