Biosafety - General Lab Procedures Containment Level 1 & 2

General Laboratory Procedures Minimum requirements for Containment Level 1 

Please refer to The Canadian Biosafety Guideline:

Containment Level 1: Physical Design and Operational Practices

Additional Laboratory Procedures for Containment Level 2

The following are the minimum procedures required for a laboratory that handles biohazardous agents requiring up to containment Level 2. They are in addition to the general laboratory procedures for Containment Level 1.


  1. Post hazard warning signs indicating the nature of the hazard (e.g. name of agent or containment level) outside each laboratory. If the infectious agents require special provisions for entry, this information must be included on the sign. The name and contact information of the lab supervisor must also be listed.
  2. Restrict entry to laboratory staff, animal handlers, maintenance staff, and other persons on official business. Children under the age of sixteen years should not be permitted in the laboratory. Pregnant women and immune-compromised persons should be advised of the potential risks.
  3. Maintenance workers, service persons and cleaning staff who enter the laboratory must be informed of the potential hazards. Cleaning staff should clean only the floors. Laboratory personnel are responsible to maintain the laboratory safe for routine cleaning.
  4. Trained laboratory personnel must accompany trainees. Visitors must be provided with training, personal protective clothing and equipment and supervision commensurate with their anticipated activities in the laboratory.
  5. An emergency plan for handling spills of infectious materials must be developed and be ready for use whenever needed.

General Practices

  1. Laboratory doors should be self-closing.
  2. Employ good microbiological laboratory practices intended to avoid the release of contaminated agents.
  3. Class I or Class II biological safety cabinets must be used for any procedures that may produce infectious aerosols and when high concentrations or large volumes of biohazardous material are involved. Air from the biosafety cabinets may be recirculated to the room only after passage through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
  4. Animals or insects that have been experimentally infected must remain in the laboratory or appropriate containment facility.
  5. Vacuum lines used for work involving Level 2 agents must be protected from contamination by HEPA filters or equivalent.

Personal Protection

No additional procedures

Decontamination, Sterilization and Waste Management

  1. Centrifugation must be carried out in closed containers, which are opened only in the biological safety cabinet described above.
  2. Where chemical disinfection procedures are practiced, ensure that effective concentrations and contact times are used.
  3. An autoclave must be located in or near the laboratory and operators must be instructed in its use and record keeping requirements.
  4. Contaminated glassware must not leave the facility. Decontaminate using procedures demonstrated to be effective. If the autoclave is outside the laboratory, contaminated materials must be disinfected chemically or double bagged and transported to the autoclave in durable, leak-proof containers that are closed and the outside surfaces treated with an appropriate disinfectant before leaving the laboratory.