Biohazards and Related Safety Measures

The World Health Organization (WHO)divides the Biohazardous Substances class into two categories: Category A: Infectious; and Category B:Samples (virus cultures, pathology specimens, used intravenous needles). The procedures for handling of all such materials, intermediates, products and waste, and the attendant protective equipment in laboratories engaged in biological research require special attention. The pertinent safety information and hazard assessment procedures, standard laboratory practices must be identified, maintained and disseminated in the form of a manual by the concerned faculty-in-charge. As indicated in section XIV, a wide-ranging compilation of biosafety and waste-disposal information is available at:

 Select critical requirements with respect to bio safety are summarized below:

  • Training of all personnel on standard procedures, techniques and safety practices to be adopted in microbial research
  • Identifying the level of hazard posed by each biological material handled in the laboratory (by use of standard classification schemes recommended by regulatory agencies)
  • Restricting access to all experimental apparatuses in use / display of appropriate bio-hazard signage
  • Use of appropriate safety equipment (bio-safety cabinets) and appropriately designed apparatus for preventing release of biological materials during processing
  • Use of specialized personal protection equipment during laboratory activities (face protection, gloves, respirators, coats, etc)
  • Use of any special immunization procedures that may be required for personnel working in the laboratory
  • Adherence to strict sterilization / decontamination procedures for laboratory equipment and exposed surfaces
  • Decontamination of bio-wastes prior to disposal
  • Development of emergency procedures to be adopted in the event of accidental spillage of biological materials
  • Avoidance of intake of food in the laboratory