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Biological Safety

The development of a university biological safety program is undertaken for essentially the same reasons as you would develop any safety program.  Protection of the laboratory personnel and the environment is critical to all research and classroom activities involving biological agents.  Increasing awareness and knowledge of biosafety issues and providing applicable training opportunities will develop and maintain safe work practices and promote exemplary laboratory operations. 


The biosafety  program at CMU has been designed to comply with federal, state and local regulations. Although aseptic techniques have long been established, the administration of biosafety programs are evolving along with cutting edge molecular techniques and protocols involving recombinant DNA technology.  Institutional policies must be risk based, carefully assessed, and critically reviewed on a case by case basis.  Principal Investigators must work closely with biosafety professionals to provide key information for novel research projects and to monitor changes that could potentially increase the risks.  After the biological risks have been evaluated, approval is granted by the CMU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) .  Composed of diverse, knowledgeable and  interested members within the university and surrounding community, the IBC members collectively evaluate the research to be sure the work can be conducted in the safest manner possible.


Barriers and Biological Safety Cabinets

Primary Containment for Biohazards: Selection, Installation and Use of Biological Safety Cabinets​

Biosafety Information

Commonly Used Acronyms

ABSL: Animal Biosafety Level

APHL: Association of Public Health Laboratories

APHIS: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

BBP: Blood Borne Pathogens

BMBL: Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories

BSAT: Biological Select Agents and Toxins

BSC: Biosafety Cabinet

BSL: Biosafety Level

BSO: Biological Safety Officer

BPRP: Biological Personnel Reliability Program

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations

DEFRA: Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

DGR: Dangerous Goods Regulations

DHS: Department of Homeland Security

DHHS: Department of Health and Human Services

DOD: Department of Defense

DOE: Department of Energy

DOJ: Department of Justice

DOS: Department of State

DSAT: Division of Select Agents and Toxins

FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation

FDA: Food and Drug Administration

GMO: Genetically Modified Organism

HHS: Department of Health and Human Services

HSE: Health and Safety Executive

IACUC: Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

IATA: International Air Transport Association

IBC: Institutional Biosafety Committee

IES: Investigative and Enforcement Services

LRN: Laboratory Response Network

MIOSHA: Michigan Occupation Health and Safety Administration

MMWRA: Michigan Medical Waste Regulatory Act

NBL: National Biocontainment Laboratories

NIAID: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

NIH: National Institutes of Health

NSABB: National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity

NSF: National Sanitation Foundation

OBA Office of Biotechnology Activity

OIG Office of Inspector General

OPIM Other Potentially Infectious Material

ORSP Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration

PBSL Plant Biosafety Level

PPE Personal Protective Equipment

PI Principal Investigator

RBL: Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

RG: Risk Group

RM/EHS: Risk Management/Environmental Health and Safety

rDNA: Recombinant Deoxyribonucleic Acid

SAPO: Specified Animal Pathogen Order

TAMU: Texas A & M University

USAMRIID: U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases

USDA: United States Department of Agriculture

WHO: World Health Organization