4-OP-G-3 Biological Safety

Responsible Executive:‚Äč Finance and Administration

Approving Official: Vice President for Finance and Administration

Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Last Revision Date: Unrevised at this time



  • To prevent the transmission of potentially infectious organisms or toxins to humans, animals, or the environment from FSU operations. This is accomplished through a combination of education, regulatory compliance, adherence to suggested work practices, proper containment, and recommendations on the use of appropriate engineering and administrative control measures. Specific program element objectives are identified below.
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Prevention: To prevent the transmission of pathogens that may be contained in blood, saliva, other human bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials. This is necessary to control the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis viruses, or other similar human pathogens.
  • Recombinant DNA / Biological Safety Level Laboratories: To ensure proper control and containment of potentially infectious organisms that may cause harm to the environment or personnel working in or around these research laboratories. The use of recombinant DNA and its derivatives, as well as other biological materials requiring increased control measures as recommended by the BMBL and as identified by NIH guidelines, is required to be overseen by the FSU Biological Safety Committee and EH&S Biological Safety section.
  • Biomedical Waste Disposal: To ensure adequate sterilization, deactivation, and segregation of materials potentially contaminated with infectious organisms and compliance with packaging, transportation, and disposal of regulated biomedical waste.
  • Etiological Agents: To ensure compliance with the importation of certain infectious agents as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Select Agents and Toxins: To ensure compliance with heightened security requirements specified for certain biological agents that have been identified as having an increased ability to be used for inappropriate purposes.
  • Occupational Medical Monitoring: To ascertain professional medical opinions that an individual is of sufficient health and physical ability to perform specific occupational activities and/or tasks.
  • Food Safety: To reduce the potential for food-borne induced illnesses through insistence in the utilization of safe food preparation and handling practices.


  • The Biological Safety section within the Department of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) is responsible for protection of the environment and all individuals that may be exposed to biological agents as a result of Florida State University (FSU) operations. The scope of this section's responsibilities include programs related to the control of bloodborne pathogens, recombinant DNA, biological safety level determination and facility use, biomedical waste disposal, importation of etiological agents, select agent/toxin control, medical monitoring, and food safety oversight for non-registered entities. Biological Safety section personnel also facilitate, or assist with, University responses to identified biological events that may threaten our community. Faculty, staff, students, and visitors at all FSU facilities and field sites must protect themselves and others by adhering to all applicable federal, state, and local regulations.
      1. The Biological Safety section is responsible for the protection of the environment and all individuals that may be exposed to biological agents as a result of FSU operations. Individuals, or supervisors of personnel working with these types of hazards, are responsible for affording due protection and control against any potential exposures or releases that may result from their actions.
      2. Protection from biohazards is best achieved by preventing the transmission of these materials to the environment and community through the use of standard safety practices and precautions. These safety practices and precautions include prudent measures such as the use of gloves, laboratory coats, eyewear, face shields, biological safety equipment, respirators, and proper hand hygiene. This is especially critical for biological agents or microorganisms that may have the ability to replicate in uncontrolled areas or within individuals that have indirect/direct contact with the materials. The unintentional release of these materials may go unnoticed for long periods, possibly resulting in severe health consequences. Decontamination or treatments intended to eradicate these pathogens following an unintentional release may by very difficult and expensive to perform. The Biological Safety section works to ensure that established safety precautions and procedures are appropriately followed. This includes, but is not limited to, the safe containment, storage, handling, treatment, and disposal of all biological materials generated through FSU operations and procedures. In addition, the Biological Safety section provides safety training and assistance to all personnel involved in these processes and performs vigilant surveillance and inspections of operations in areas where biological materials are used and stored.
      3. Regulatory compliance issues related to biological safety can be easily overlooked or misinterpreted. The consequences for not adhering to program requirements or specified protocols can result in penalties ranging from small fines to the loss of substantial research funding opportunities for the entire University that may last several years. Therefore, it is imperative that the Biological Safety section be consulted prior to any operations involving these hazards. This is essential when lead investigators or other personnel in charge of research projects utilizing biological materials are not absolutely certain of the status and control measures required to perform the intended research.
      1. Biological Safety Manual
      2. Exposure Control Plan
      3. Medical Monitoring for Vertebrate Animal Users
      4. Working with Laboratory Animals
      5. Biohazardous Waste Disposal
      6. Public Health and Sanitation
      7. Food Safety