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Biological Safety

The biological safety program covers the safe handling of biohazardous materials which include:

  • Blood
  • Body Fluids
  • Infectious Materials
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Biological Toxins

These materials may be harmful to humans, animals, plants, other organisms, and/or the environmental requiring suitable containment, handling, and waste disposal. This program applies to laboratories handling these materials as well as custodial and childcare activities.

Biosafety Program Resources

Biosafety cabinets

A biosafety cabinet (BSC) is an important engineering control to capture airborne material to protect workers and the environment. In addition, some also provide protection of the material being handled from contamination. Each BSC uses High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to capture airborne material. Biosafety cabinets are available in three classes:

  • Class I – protects the worker and environment, not the material.
  • Class II – protects the worker, environment, and product.
  • Class III – glove box style cabinets used for highly infectious materials.

Class II BSCs are the most common on campus, and most, if not all, return HEPA filtered to the room. HEPA filters do not adequately absorb volatile organics so these vapors would be exhausted into the room. Work requiring a biosafety cabinet while using volatile organic solvents must be conducted in a BSC fully exhausted outdoors.


Training requirements must be based upon the hazards a lab worker or student may encounter. Visit Training for more information.


The shipment of biological materials is regulated by the Department of Transportation (Shipment within the US) and the International Air Transportation Association (Certain carriers within the US and international shipments). Training is required for anyone involved in packaging, labeling, documenting, or handling the shipment. Contact EHS for assistance.


Workers handling blood, other potentially infectious materials, or certain infectious agents must be given the opportunity to be vaccinated – the most common being hepatitis B – and at no cost to the worker. Those who choose not to be vaccinated or those who have previously been vaccinated must sign a declination form indicating the vaccination was offered. The vaccinations offered must be based on the worker’s potential exposure.

Common Vaccinations

  • Hepatitis A – two doses over a 6-18 month period (based on manufacturer)
  • Hepatitis B – consists of 3 doses over a six month period
  • Hepatitis A & B – a combination vaccination is available

Institutional Biosafety Committee

The Boise State Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is an administrative compliance committee established to oversee research activities involved in:

  • Infectious agents, select agents, or toxins (requires prior agent approval or coincidental request for such approval).
  • Use of human blood, body fluids or tissues.
  • Recombinant DNA or DNA work.

Information and forms are available through the Office of Research Compliance.