Content that belongs in Safety in Laboratories section (safety/lab)

Biowaste Management


Biohazardous and infectious (or potentially infectious) agents are routinely handled and manipulated in biomedical and animal laboratories. Biohazards include human samples and tissue cultures, bacteria, viruses, prions, parasites, toxins, recombinant DNA (rDNA) - which is used in expression vectors such as plasmids, infected or transfected/transduced cells, infected human or animal tissues, transgenic animals, and any material contaminated with a biohazardous agent.

Use of UV lamps in Biosafety Cabinets at UVM

Use of UV lamps in Biosafety Cabinets at UVM

Biological Safety Cabinet Training

BSC training is compulsory for researchers working in laboratories with a minimum biosafety level BSL2. Online training is available at:  Please, log in with your net ID and password and take the online training "Safe Use of Biosafety Cabinets".

BSC Certification Failure

If your cabinet has failed the certification, it means that it is not performing as it should. This may compromise the quality of your work (e.g, contaminated cells) or expose you and the environment to aerosols from infectious agents (e.g., exhaust filter damaged). You should not resume work within the BSC until it is repaired and passes the certification. Contact Environmental Safety at if you have any question or concern.

Contamination Problems in the BSC

Most BSCs (except Class I) are equipped with HEPA filters that supply clean air to the working area. If the supply filter is damaged or leaks, dirty air may be supplied to the BSC, contaminating the area. Schedule a certification with a specialized technician to check the performance of your BSC.

Biological Safety Cabinets and Clean Benches

While all types of biological safety cabinets protect personnel and the environment from exposure to contaminants within the cabinet, clean benches do not. In clean benches, contaminated air is directly blown towards the user and surrounding environment. For this purpose, clean benches should only be used to conduct work that requires sterile conditions (such as preparing sterile solutions) but that does not involve manipulation of biohazards, chemical hazards or radioactivity. 

Safe Use of Volatile Chemicals and Radioactivity in Biological Safety Cabinets

Work with biohazardous materials involving the use of volatile chemicals and/or radioactivity should exclusively be conducted in a biological safety cabinet that is vented outside the building.

Ducted Class II Type A2, Class II Type B1 and B2 (always hard-ducted), and Class III BSCs may be used with different amounts of chemicals/radioactive materials. Please review the following table for more specific details:


Ergonomics, Back Safety & Injury Prevention in the Lab


According to the Center for Disease Control, ergonomics is the scientific study of people at work. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture, and repeated tasks.

Safe Lifting Techniques

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