Preparation and Training

Preparing to do BSL2 work


1-1. A written Standard Operating Procedure for work involving infectious agents or biological toxins is available and routinely followed.

A standard operating procedure (SOP) is required for all work involving infectious agents or biological toxins. UVM template SOPs can be found at

Standard Operating Procedure Templates (automatically downloaded in Word format)

If lab work involves human or simian tissues, blood, body fluids or primary cell lines follow the UVM Exposure Control Plan for Laboratory Work.

1-2. Biosafety cabinets have current annual certification of their airflow and filter integrity.

Biosafety Cabinets used at UVM are required to be inspected, tested and certified annually for the protection of both the lab worker and the product. More information on the proper use of biosafety cabinets can be found by taking the Environmental Safety online training, Safe Use of Biosafety Cabinets at

1-3. Centrifuge rotor integrity is verified.

Over time centrifuge rotors show signs of metal fatigue. Manufacturer guidelines should be followed regarding when to derate (permanently lower the speed) and when to retire centrifuge rotors. Centrifuges are designed to contain the rotor in the event of a failure but there have been documented incidences of rotor failures that were not contained and caused injury to property and personnel. Preventive maintenance for centrifuges should include an inspection of the rotors by trained personnel. Keeping a use log for ultracentrifuges can assist in calculating hours of use, which can then be used to determine when a rotor should be derated or retired.

More information can be found at

1-4. Storage of select agents or select agent toxins is within regulatory limits.

An initial submission IBC Protocol Form (found in Word format at ) should be completed for any Biotoxin use involving government-designated Select Agents. These are biological agents considered to be at risk for weaponization. A list of Select Agents can be found at

More information on select agents can be found at

If you are working with any of these listed agents contact Environmental Safety at


2-1. IBC approved protocols are in use for work involving rDNA, infectious materials and biotoxins and are updated when appropriate.

For specific information about IBC Protocol submission, see the UVM IBC Manual For Researchers Who Use Biohazardous Materials

2-2. BBP training is completed and documented annually if using human blood, primary cell lines, tissues or OPIM.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard requires all UVM employees at risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure to complete an annual bloodborne pathogen safety training. The on-line version of this training can be found at New employees and departments needing live, classroom training can contact Environmental Safety for assistance.

More information on the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard can be found at

2-3. Hepatitis B Vaccine documentation is complete if using human blood, primary cell lines, tissues or OPIM.

The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard requires that all UVM employees at risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure either receive a vaccination for Hepatitis B or complete a consent/refusal form stating that they decline the vaccination. Specific information regarding UVM procedures can be found at

2-4. ES training transcripts in the Lab Safety Notebook reflect that all required biosafety training is complete.

A list of required Biosafety Training can be found at

2-5. Transportation of potentially infectious material is according to ES protocol.

In Laboratory Transport

Primary containers (e.g., vial, tube or covered well plate) containing infectious or potentially infectious agents should be transported in the laboratory within a covered, sealable, secondary container (e.g., Tupperware or screw top, gasketed plastic jar). Gasketed jars can be obtained by contacting Environmental Safety.

Transport outside the laboratory within buildings or by foot

In addition to secondary containment, tertiary containment - a hard plastic, locking cooler (for example, an Igloo cooler) - is required for transportation of infectious or potentially infectious material outside of the laboratory

Transportation over public roads

Transportation of infectious agents over public roads is regulated by the Department of Transportation with regard to packing and labeling of containers. These regulations are well described at


Have another question about preparing for laboratory work? Try checking at the bottom of this page, after the checklist items, for additional questions and answers. If you don't find your answer e-mail us at so that we can add your question to this database.

1) The Lab Safety Notebook is complete and current.

- See for a table of contents listing the required sections to include in your Lab Safety Notebook and links to all the required paperwork.

- Please store your Lab Safety Notebook on the back of your main lab door (inside the room) or as close to the door as possible. This location makes it easy to find should you not be immediately available.

- If the Notebook cannot be kept on the back of the lab door, place a note on your main entry door saying where it is being kept.


2) The Laboratory Online Inventory is updated monthly with any new employees, emergency contact information, critical equipment needs and significant new chemicals.

- See to enter your lab's chemical inventory and emergency response information into the secure online database that is accessible by emergency responders, including Burlington Fire Department and UVM Physical Plant.

- List as many emergency contact numbers as you can. Not listing any current emergency contact numbers makes it impossible for emergency responders to contact you if there is an incident involving your physical laboratory space or research materials.

- Use the "comments" box to let emergency responders know about critical equipment needs, such as temperature regulated rooms upon which your research materials depend.

- You will likely have chemicals in your laboratory that are not on the HCOC list. We are only interested in adding additional chemicals to your HCOC inventory that would be in the two larger categories (i.e. more than 5 liters or 1 kg). If you have a chemical that falls into this category, please email this information to us at and we can add it to your lab inventory list.

- If you have a chemical mixture with a variety of components, report it as the hazardous chemical that makes up the largest component of the mixture. For example, if you have a mixture of

 Methyl Alcohol-28.7%, Propylene Glycol-14.4%, Phenoxyethanol-4.8%, Glutaraldehyde-2.8%, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate-0.3%, Amyl Acetate-0.3%, Water-50%

list the entire mixture as methyl alcohol, since the hazard of this mixture is flammability. Contact us at if you have more complicated mixtures and are unsure about how to report it correctly on your online inventory.

3) Policies and procedures for "Working Alone", "Unattended Operations" and "High Hazard Work" are current.

Working Alone and High Hazard Work

- See

-Every laboratory group should have a written “Working Alone Policy” that also addresses work with high hazard materials, equipment, and/or procedures for those working alone. This policy should be reviewed with the lab group regularly. As a general rule, working alone in a lab is discouraged and has inherent risk.

-Emergency planning should be included in a comprehensive "Working Alone Policy".

-Make sure that all lab personnel are trained to work with high hazard materials, equipment, and/or procedures regardless of whether they are alone or working with others nearby.


Unattended Operations

- See for a description of the things to consider and include while planning for any unattended laboratory work. The sample form should be used to alert emergency responders to potential hazards associated with the unattended work.

- Every laboratory group that might leave an experiment running unattended should develop a written lab procedure entitled “Unattended Operations”. These preparations will help emergency responders know how to react safely and perhaps protect your research materials.

- When conducting Unattended Operations, leave laboratory lights on, place an appropriate sign on the door, and provide for containment of hazardous substances. In the event of a failure to a utility service (such as electricity), this type of safety planning may be helpful to emergency personnel.

4) The chemical fume hood "tell-tale" indicates air is being drawn through the hood's sash opening at the proper speed.

- Environmental Safety staff no longer verify the face velocity of each fume hood annually. If the stickers for "Max Working Height", "Be safe work beyond this arrow" and "Side View of Hood" and orange tell-tale are not present, please email Environmental Safety at and we will schedule a time to update your fume hood signage.

- Remember, to visually check that air is flowing into the hood at the proper speed, the sash must be raised to the "Max Working Height" arrow level on the new sticker. Next, compare the angle of the tell-tale with the angle on the "Side View of Hood" sticker; the tell-tale should gently float inside the hood at approximately a 45 degree angle. NOTE: The tell-tale and the "Max Height" level should not be used to determine the "safest" level at which to do work inside your hood. They only signify that the air is flowing into the hood at the proper speed. If the tell-tale is flapping quickly then the air speed is likely too fast and maintenance will be required.

- It is best to lower the sash all the way down when not using the hood.

5) Chemical storage limitations and waste minimization considerations are reviewed before purchasing chemicals.

- Before ordering new chemicals, be sure you have room to properly segregate and store them in the lab.

- Do not purchase (or accept from others) chemicals you will not use within a year. Excess chemicals tax the storage capacity of a laboratory and complicate emergency response.

- Consider procedures that generate smaller volumes of chemical waste or that use less toxic chemicals.

- OSHA publishes a list of highly toxic and reactive chemicals at

EPA publishes a list of acutely toxic chemicals