DePaul University Research Services > Research Protections > Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) > Risk Group/Biosafety > Category 1: Infectious Agents
BSL1 is suitable for work involving well characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in immunocompetent adult humans and present minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment.
The laboratory is not separated from the general traffic patterns in the building. Work is typically conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices. Special containment equipment or laboratory design is not required, but may be used if appropriate. Laboratory personnel have specific training in the procedures conducted in the laboratory and are supervised by a scientist with general training in microbiology or a related science.
Laboratory bench and sink required.
Biosafety Level 2 builds upon BSL1 and is suitable for working with agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment.
It differs from BSL1 in that:
Biological Safety Cabinets (Class I or II) or other appropriate personal protective or physical containment devices are used whenever:
Protective laboratory coats, gowns, smocks, or uniforms designated for laboratory use must be worn while working with hazardous materials. Protective clothing must be removed before leaving for non-laboratory areas (e.g., cafeteria, library, and administrative offices. Protective clothing must be disposed of appropriately, or deposited for laundering. Laboratory clothing should not be taken home.
Eye and face protection (goggles, mask, face shield or pother splatter guard) is used for anticipated splashes or sprays of infectious or other hazardous materials when the microorganisms or materials must be handled outside of the biological safety cabinet or containment device. Eye and face protection must be disposed of with other contaminated laboratory waste or decontaminated before reuse. Persons who wear contact lenses in the laboratory should also wear eye protection.
Gloves should be worn to protect hands from exposure to hazardous materials. Glove selection should be based on an appropriate risk assessment. Alternatives to latex gloves should be available. Gloves must not be worn outside the laboratory. BSL2 laboratory personnel should:
Eye, face, and respiratory protection should be used in rooms containing infected animals as determined by the risk assessment.
Biosafety Level 3 is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is conducted with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure by the inhalation route of exposure.
Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in handling infectious agents and associated procedures. All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets or other physical containment devices or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and devices. The laboratory has special engineering and design features, such as access zones, sealed penetrations, and directional airflow.
Biological Safety Cabinets (Class I, II, or III) or other appropriate combinations of personal protective or physical containment devices are used for all activities with organisms containing recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules which pose a threat of aerosol exposure.
Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or a related agent with unknown risk of transmission. Agents with a close or identical antigenic relationship to agents requiring BSL4 containment must be handled at this level until sufficient data are obtained either to conform continued work at this level, or re-designate the level.
Laboratory staff must have specific and thorough training in handling extremely hazardous infectious agents. Laboratory staff must understand the primary and secondary containment practices, containment equipment, and laboratory design characteristics. All laboratory staff and supervisors must be competent in handling agents and procedures requiring BSL4 containment. The laboratory supervisor in accordance with institutional policies controls access to the laboratory.
All procedures within the facility with agents assigned BSL4 are conducted in the Class III biological safety cabinet or in Class I or II biological safety cabinets used in conjunction with one-piece positive pressure personnel suits ventilated by a life-support system.
The maximum containment facility consists of either a separate building or a clearly demarcated and isolated zone within a building.
For additional detailed standards refer to the NIH Guidelines and the BMBL.