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General Standard Operating Procedures

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses and a laboratory coat must be worn whenever biological work is conducted in the laboratory.


Hands must be washed immediately or as soon as feasible after removing gloves or other personal protective clothing. 

Use of Sharps

Minimize the use and exposure to sharps in the workplace. Never recap, bend, or shear needles. When possible, replace glassware with less damaging materials such as plastic. Keep sharps containers readily available in all locations where sharps waste may be generated.

Clean Areas

Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses in the laboratory are prohibited in work areas where there is a reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure.

Aerosol Generation

Any procedures that could potentially generate aerosols or other inhalation hazards must be performed in a manner that will minimize airborne pathogen transmission.

Proper Labeling

Place a color-coded label incorporating the universal biohazard label on the work surface of any potentially contaminated equipment or work surface to warn others of biohazard contamination that may not be easily visible. This includes freezers, refrigerators, and incubators.

Autoclave Safety

Always wear heat resistant gloves, goggles or safety glasses, and a laboratory coat when opening an autoclave. Be sure to allow the superheated steam to exit before attempting to remove the contents.


Always clean spills from the periphery of the spill towards the center. All cleaning materials must be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Mouth Pipetting

Mouth pipetting may lead to accidental ingestion of biological specimens and is strictly prohibited. 

Decontamination Procedures

A disinfectant such as 0.5 percent sodium hypochlorite (a freshly prepared 1:10 dilution of household bleach), Lysol, or other appropriate substance must be used to decontaminate equipment and work surfaces.

Local Transport of Infectious Materials

All infectious materials transported to and from the laboratory must be enclosed in a primary container with sealed lid or top, which must then be enclosed in a secondary leak proof, non breakable container (e.g., Coleman cooler) appropriately labeled with the biohazard symbol. Any specimens transported to and from off campus satellite facilities must be handled by a trained laboratory worker.


All infectious materials to be stored must be clearly labeled with the universal biohazard symbol. The storage space (e.g., freezer, refrigerator) must also be similarly labeled.

Blood borne Pathogens

All PI's using human or non-human primate blood or blood products, unfixed tissue, body fluids or organ or cell cultures of human or non-human primate origin, must follow the procedures outlined in the UW Oshkosh Blood borne Pathogen Plan.

Human Organ and Cell Culture

All PI's using human organ or cell cultures (primary cultures, cell strains, cell lines), must handle all such cultures under BL2 conditions and in accordance with the Blood borne Pathogen Standard, unless a lower standard of containment has been accepted in the scientific literature and amongst the scientific community.

Waste Disposal

All biologically infectious waste must be autoclaved or otherwise treated before disposal.

Biohazardous Spills

For spills that staff are able to clean up safely, a person wearing protective equipment (gloves, goggles, long sleeved lab coat) must first disinfect the area before wiping up the spill with disposable paper towels and disposing of all spill materials properly. Broken glass should be handled only by remote means such as tongs or forceps.

For spills that staff may not be able to clean up safely, the room must be evacuated and personnel must be prevented from entering the area. The lab director or supervisor and University Police  at 424-1212 must be contacted immediately. After 5 p.m., dial 9-911.


All injuries and accidental autoinoculation, ingestion or inhalations of infectious agents must be reported immediately to the lab director or supervisor.

Affected employees should be sent to their primary care physician for evaluation, possible treatment and/or possible referral. Dial 9-911 immediately for any medical emergency.

Additional information about reporting injuries received at the workplace can be found at:

Information on reporting student injuries can be found at:

In order to track injuries that occur at the workplace, a “Yellow Safety Card” should also be completed and submitted to


All domestic and international shipments of biological agents, infectious substances and diagnostic specimens must follow all applicable Federal and International regulations. Proper permits/licenses must be obtained as required before importing or exporting biological material.

Other Emergencies

In case of natural disasters, fires, or power failure the following precautions must be taken:

  • In power failures, immediately discontinue all work until power is restored. If a tissue culture hood is being used, then all open containers must be closed, gas turned off and hood sash closed.
  • In case of fire, personnel must immediately follow standard emergency procedures (evacuate area, call 9-911). Temperatures sufficient to ignite materials will inactivate infectious agents used in the laboratory. However, emergency personnel should don personal protective equipment before entering the lab and follow disinfecting procedures described above for decontaminating any released infectious materials not involved in the fire.
  • In natural disasters, personnel must immediately follow standard emergency procedures (take shelter, wait for further instructions). Upon return to facility, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used when entering a lab to decontaminate any disaster related release of infectious material. Contain released material using spill procedures. Emergency personnel should don personal protective equipment before entering lab and/or areas housing infected animals.

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