Biosafety Level Determination


The Institutional Biosafety Committee requires that you identify the biosafety level appropriate for the agents with which you are proposing to work. Depending upon the Risk Group to which a biohazardous agent and its uses belong, there are varying precautions that must be taken to ensure laboratory or clinical safety. An important step is to determine the appropriate biosafety level. To assist you in this determination, the NIH Office of Recombinant DNA Activities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a matrix, which describes four recognized biosafety levels (BSL). Each level consists of combinations of laboratory practices and techniques, safety equipment and laboratory facilities, specifically appropriate for the operations performed, documented, or suspected routes of transmission of the infectious agent, and for the laboratory function or activity. To make the determination of what precautions are recommended as easy as possible, there are four resources - one for use of infectious agents, one for use of biohazards in plants, one for use of biohazards in animals and one for the use of DNA. These resources specify the requirements for protective clothing and eye covering, use of barrier facilities, locations for autoclaves, etc.

In requesting approval of the Biosafety Committee to use a particular agent(s), it is important to recognize that you are agreeing to ensure the integrity of physical containment of these agents by complying with the requirements and precautions outlined by the federal government.