Biosafety level criteria provide guidance for containment and practices for research projects and are verified through Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) registration. Standard microbiological practices are common to all laboratories. Special practices enhance worker safety and environmental protection and address risks associated with handling agents requiring increased levels of containment. Biosafety level criteria are published in the BMBL, 6th Ed. Section IV-Laboratory Biosafety Level Criteria. DRS uses a Biosafety Level 2 (BL-2) checklist based on these criteria.
The IBC requires a BL-2 audit of all rooms where BL-2 work is conducted or where BL-2 materials are stored. Initial BL-2 audits are scheduled when the Principal Investigator has submitted an IBC project for the first time at the University of Illinois working at BL-2 containment or when adding a room to a project that has not been at BL-2 containment previously. After the initial BL-2 audit, the BL-2 containment practices are reviewed annually as part of the annual audit program.
Occasionally, work with certain materials may require using biosafety level 3 practices in a biosafety level 2 facility. A separate form is used:
Animal biosafety level criteria provide guidance for the use of experimentally infected animals housed in indoor research facilities. In general, biosafety levels in vivo are comparable to in vitro; however, research with animals presents unique hazards. For example, animals may generate aerosols, bite, or scratch. It is necessary to assure all parties involved in the research are aware of potential hazards as they relate to specific procedures or duties (e.g., the administration of infectious materials by researchers and animal husbandry procedures performed by animal facility personnel). Animal biosafety level containment and practices are verified through IBC registration. Animal biosafety level criteria are published in the BMBL, 6th Ed. Section V-Vertebrate Animal Biosafety Level Criteria for Vivarium Research Facilities. DRS uses an ABL-2 checklist based on these criteria.
The IBC requires an Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABL-2) audit for all animal rooms where ABL-2 work is conducted. With all parties present, the PI or senior lab member gives a brief overview of the experiments and specifies any special practices or equipment requirements. This allows each representative to ask questions and ensure all aspects of the research are addressed.
Laser audits are initially performed for first time laser registrants who want to start using class 3b or class 4 lasers. DRS arranges the audit with the laser registrant or laser safety contact for the group. The audit focuses on measures to control the beam, access control to the hazard zone, and the use of adequate PPE. Thereafter, evaluation of the safety for lasers in use and confirmation of the laser inventory are performed during the annual Laboratory Safety Audit. Consultations including audits of new laser systems can be arranged upon request.
All laboratories possessing radioactive materials in open or sealed form are audited at least annually during the Laboratory Safety Audit. The audits ensure compliance with state regulations and are a requirement to maintain the campus radioactive materials license. The audits focus on safe operating procedures, signage and record keeping (contamination surveys and inventory control). Groups using open source material may be audited more frequently at the discretion of DRS. For example, laboratories possessing 1 mCi or more of open source material will be audited quarterly.
X-ray audits are conducted during the annual Laboratory Safety Audits for all laboratories using x-rays or particle accelerators. Audits are an important tool to prepare x-ray users for regularly occurring state inspections and to prevent issues with non-compliance. Audits focus on user authorization, safety equipment, and record keeping where required. For open beam x-ray units audits will focus on measures to reduce exposure to x-rays. Emphasis will be on lowering the chance of accidental exposures.