Containment Laboratories and Facilities

Laboratories, animal and plant facilities are used for the containment and control of biological agents and hazards, genetically modified organisms, animals and plants. A fundamental principle is the containment level. It is necessary to establish the containment level that will be required for the work with biological agents. The containment requirements are defined by the biological agents and hazards, genetically modified organisms, animals and plants involved in the work. Detailed guidance is given in the following documents.

 

 

Containment Levels

There are three containment levels used in university laboratories, animal and plant facilities. The exact containment level required depends on the work.

  • Containment level 1 (CL 1) for hazard group 1 (HG 1) and activity class 1 (Class 1).

  • Containment level 2 (CL 2) for hazard group 2 (HG 2) and activity class 2 (Class 2).

  • Containment level 3 (CL 3) for hazard group 3 (HG 3) and activity class 3 (Class 3).


The containment and control measures will depend on the nature of the biological agents and hazards, genetically modified organisms, animals and plants. This guidance is a summary of some important controls used for work in containment level 1, 2 and 3 laboratories but is not exhaustive and you will need to do other things as well depending on your specific work and risk assessments. General and specific derogations may apply in certain cases which involve using less than the standard minimum controls and containment level which are normally required for the work. It is not intended to describe all of the necessary control measures and more information on controls can be found on the SEPS, HSE, Scottish Government and DEFRA websites.

Containment Level 1

Low risk work with normally non-hazardous hazard group 1 biological agents and hazards, activity class 1 genetically modified organisms, animals and plants on the bench.

Containment Level 2

Medium risk work with hazard group 2 biological agents and hazards, activity class 2 genetically modified organisms, animals and plants on bench and in safety cabinets.

Containment Level 3

High risk work with hazard group 3 biological agents and hazards, activity class 3 genetically modified organisms, animals and plants usually in safety cabinets.

Laboratory Safety Files

Every laboratory should have a Laboratory Safety File. There should be at least an electronic copy of the Laboratory Safety File kept by the principal investigator and a hardcopy (eg documents in lever arch folders) placed in the laboratory. All documents should be written electronically so that they can be easily read, revised and modified and proper records can be kept. The Laboratory Safety File should comprise of general, COSHH, Biological COSHH and GM risk assessments, standard operating procedures (SOP), emergency procedures and any other relevant health and safety documents (eg MSDS, list of authorised persons etc). Key standard operating procedures and emergency procedures should be displayed in the laboratory.