Access, Training and Regulations

Biosafety Registry

All groups conducting research involving biohazardous agents in laboratory space owned by the U of A, must register with the Biosafety Division and follow the University of Alberta Biosafety Guidelines.

All members of a research group working with biohazardous agents must submit a New Research Personnel Form in order to be added to their PI’s Biosafety Registry.


Ensure laboratory doors are locked when personnel are not on site.
Keep laboratory doors closed.
Lock fridges and freezers containing archived biohazardous agents and located outside the common laboratory work areas in cross-corridors or communal storage rooms.
Lock cold rooms and warm rooms located off non-secure public and semi-public hallways.
Report suspicious behavior or unauthorized personnel loitering around laboratory spaces to Protective Services.
Report evidence of attempted forced entry to Protective Services.
Report missing stocks of biohazardous agents to PI and if the stock is still unable to be located immediately file an Incident Report with EHS.
Ensure laboratory keys are returned or access is removed from swipe cards when personnel leave the group or no longer require access to the area.

Laboratory Access

Access to laboratories where biohazardous agents are handled and stored is restricted to authorized personnel. Personnel who have completed the proper orientation and training may work independently and unsupervised in the laboratory. All other personnel may only enter the laboratory under the escort of someone who has completed this training.

Training and Orientation of Personnel

Outlined below is the minimum training requirement for any University of Alberta personnel directly working with biohazardous materials (research or teaching).

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Training – U of A online course
Laboratory Safety Course – U of A online course
Concepts in Biosafety Course – U of A online course
Laboratory-Specific Orientation & Training

All training must be completed prior to starting independent biohazardous work.

Pathogen Safety Data Sheets and Material Safety Data Sheets

PSDSs (human and animal pathogens) and MSDSs (biological toxins and cell lines) should be available in paper or electronic format. Read the appropriate PSDS or MSDS for all biohazardous materials. PSDSs can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada website and MSDSs for various reagent supplies can be found at

Inventory of Biohazardous Agents

An inventory of the following is a federal requirement and must be maintained at all times:

Materials stored at -70 ˚C or in a liquid nitrogen dewar.
Materials stored at 4 ˚C for more than one month.
Materials stored at room temperature in a non-metabolic state (i.e., spore slant, sealed lyophilized vial, etc.) for more than two weeks.
Ongoing cultures in an incubator are not considered archival stocks.

The minimum record-keeping requirements for biohazardous materials include:

  • Genus and species
  • Location where stored
  • Number of containers of each biohazardous agent
  • Date of receipt or generation
  • Risk level
  • If/when they are transferred to another group

Inventories can be kept as paper or electronic documents. Inventories must be kept up-to-date and must be made available on request to EHS personnel.

Personal Protective Equipment for Biohazards

Personal protective equipment must be worn by all employees, supervisors, volunteers and visitors. As with any other lab, long pants, closed toe shoes, lab coat, safety glasses and gloves must be worn. Some exceptions these rule as are as follows:

When working with a microscope, safety glasses will impede your work so safety glasses can be removed.
It is unsafe to use a flame (e.g. Bunsen burner, alcohol burner) when wearing latex, nitrile or vinyl gloves. Gloves should be removed when working with a flame.
When working with a respiratory pathogen, appropriate respiratory protective equipment must utilized.

Remove PPE (gloves, lab coat and safety glasses) when exiting the lab.

Personal Hygiene in the Lab

Long hair must be tied back so that it does not fall into solutions or flames or contaminate work.
Avoid touching the face, eyes and other direct routes of exposure.
All open wounds should be assessed and the appropriate coverage must be worn to prevent accidental contamination or work must be postponed until the wound is healed.
Hand washing should be done frequently during the day with soap and warm water. Hands should be washed when leaving the lab and after removing gloves before continuing any work. If there is a potential for contamination under the gloves, gloves should be removed as soon as possible and hands thoroughly washed with soap and water.

Personal Electronic Devices

If you choose to bring your own smart phones, computers or tablets into a biohazardous environment, be prepared to decontaminate that device prior to leaving the facility. Decontamination can include wiping with a disinfectant or autoclaving the device.