Biological Safety


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Biological Safety is the consistent application of safety measures to minimize or prevent exposure to the person handling the agent, the laboratory and building occupants, the community, and the environment. The Office of Biosafety will perform laboratory inspections on an annual basis for all Scott & White Healthcare research laboratories. A copy of the laboratory checklist is available on the Forms and Guidance Documents section. Email the Office of Biosafety Send an e-mail if you have any questions or concerns.

Hazardous Agent Registration and Review

Prior to beginning any research work or project, investigators should contact the Office of Biosafety regarding registration or review of procedures. If the work involves any agents reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the investigator will need to submit an applicaiton for review.

For more information, visit the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories

This CDC and NIH publication is the primary reference for biosafety in the U.S. The Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) provides an introduction to biosafety, biological risk assessments, principles of biosafety, descriptons of biosafety levels, vertebrate animal biosafety levels, various agent summary statements, and much more. It is a recommended resource for all researchers working with biological materials. It is available for free in PDF format on the CDC website.

Decontamination and Disinfection

Decontaminating and disinfecting your work area and equipment are fundamental in reducing your risk of exposure to the agents you are working with. The work area is only as clean as the disinfectant used. If the disinfectant is not appropriate for the agents used, it will not be effective against the agent. There are a few points to consider when selecting a disinfectant.

  • What organism or organisms are you targeting?
  • What disinfectants and in what form can it inactivate the organism?
  • What restrictions apply with respect to compatibility of materials?
  • What is the stability of disinfectant’s in use concentrations?

To assist with the selection process, please refer to the disinfectant comparison table PDF Document. If you have any questions or are unsure of what disinfectant is appropriate for your work, feel free to contact the Office of Biosafety for assistance.

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