Brandon University Biosafety Practices

The Brandon University Biosafety Committee has adopted the Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines – 3rd edition Public Health Agency of Canada and the Containment Standards for Veterinary Facilities (2004) – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (1996) as its policy and procedure governing all aspects of research and teaching that involve the use of biohazardous materials (i.e. organisms, equipment, and work bi-products) and will use as a point of reference whichever is more stringent.

The following Biosafety Practices outline the REQUIREMENTS for all research and teaching laboratories using biohazardous materials.

Basic Biosafety Practices

  1. 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.
  2. Eating, drinking, smoking, storing of either food, personal belongings, or utensils, applying cosmetics, and inserting and removing contact lenses are not permitted. Long hair is to be tied back or restrained.
  3. 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. Protective laboratory clothing must not be worn in non-laboratory areas; laboratory clothing must not be stored in contact with street clothing.
  4. Where there is a known or potential risk of exposure to splashes or flying objects eye and face protection must be used.
  5. Gloves must be worn for all procedures that might involve direct skin contact with the biohazardous material or infected animals; gloves are to be removed when leaving the laboratory and decontaminated with other laboratory wastes before disposal.
  6. Hands must be washed after gloves have been removed, before leaving the laboratory and at any time after handling materials known or suspected of contamination.
  7. Work surfaces must be cleaned and where suitable, decontaminated with a suitable disinfectant 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, and also documented.
  8. Contaminated materials and equipment leaving the laboratory for servicing or disposal must be appropriately decontaminated and labeled or tagged as such, and also documented.
  9. 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. Leak-proof containers are to be used for the transport of infectious materials within facilities.
  10. Disinfectants effective against the agents in use (as outlined in the material safety data sheet – MSDS) must be available at all times within the areas where the biohazardous material is handled or stored.
  11. Spills, accidents or exposures to infectious materials and losses of containment must be documented and reported immediately to the laboratory supervisor and the Brandon University Biosafety Committee.

In addition to the basic biosafety practices outlined above the following are required for Level 1 or Level 2 containment laboratories. The containment level required for the biohazard can be obtained from the Office of Laboratory Security or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (if the biohazard is a zoonotic).

NOTE: Use of biohazards requiring Containment Levels 3 or 4 are not permitted at Brandon University.

Containment Level 1 Biosafety Practices

Containment level 1 (CL1) applies to the basic laboratory that handles agents requiring CL1.

  • CL1 requires no special design features beyond those suitable for a well-designed and functional laboratory.
  • Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are not required.
  • Work may be done on an open bench-top and containment is achieved through the use of practices normally employed in a basic microbiology laboratory.

Containment Level 2 Biosafety Practices

In addition to the basic practices required for all laboratories, the following minimal operational practices are required for agents requiring containment level 2 (CL2).

  • Laboratory practices intended to avoid the release of infectious agents are to be employed.
  • The appropriate BSCs must be used as outlined in the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the biohazard. Fume hoods and horizontal clean benches, laminar flow hoods or any cabinet that directs air towards the operator ARE NOT biological safety cabinets and MUST NOT be used for handling infectious, toxic or sensitizing materials. Only cabinets that meet the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Standard No. 49-2002 and bear NSF 49 seal can be used. The BSC requires annual certification by an experienced, qualified individual who has received NSF accreditation. A copy of the BSC certification report should be forwarded to the Biosafety Officer.
  • Appropriate signage must be posted on the door indicating: the biohazard; the containment level; special provisions for entry; contact information of laboratory supervisor or other responsible person(s).
  • 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.
  • The doors to the laboratory are to remain locked with access limited to authorized personnel only.
  • Autoclaves are to be used for waste treatment / disposal of biohazardous materials. For materials that cannot be autoclaved (e.g., contaminated with a chemical that might produce a toxic fume upon autoclaving), other proven technologies for waste treatment (e.g., incineration) can be used.
  • If windows can be opened, they must be protected by fly screens.

Useful links:

  1. The Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines, 3rd edition (2004), Public Health Agency of Canada.
  2. Containment Standards for Veterinary Facilities. Ottawa, ON: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Minister of Supply and Services Canada, No. 1921/E, 1996.
  3. Biological containment cabinets: installation and field-testing. CSA Z316.3-95. Toronto, ON: Canadian Standards Association, 1995.
  4. Canadian Council on Animal Care. Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals. Ottawa, ON: CCAC, 1993.
  5. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Guidelines for the management of biomedical waste in Canada. Toronto, ON: Canadian Standards Association. CCME EPC-WM-42E, 1992.
  6. International Air Transport Association. Dangerous goods regulations. 43rd edition. January 2003.