Biological Safety

Biotechnology research is overseen by the Marshall University Institutional Biosafety Committee.  The IBC has established biosafety policies, procedures, and training.


Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for ensuring that Marshall University remains in compliance with federal and state regulations for the management, storage, and disposal of potentially infectious wastes.

In accordance with West Virginia state regulations, the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center maintains an Infectious Waste Management Plan that outlines how these potentially infectious items must be managed (collected, transported, treated, and disposed of) in order to ensure the safety and health of the University’s visitors, students, faculty and staff.

For departments outside of the Biotech Center, this waste management plan is applicable and should be followed until such time as Environmental Health and Safety has approved a specific departmental plan.


Environmental Health and Safety maintains and annually updates the University’s Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.


To assist Emergency Responders, all rooms and laboratories at Marshall University that house biohazard materials must be labeled with a Biohazard sign. A Biohazard Sign Template is available in Word and instructions are provided.


There are several general requirements to keep in mind when working with biological materials:

  • Remove gloves when exiting laboratory areas. Contaminated gloves are a concern to others working in the building, please be considerate of others and remove gloves every time.
  • The use of carts to transport biological materials is preferred, and is mandatory when transporting liquids.  Carts should have trays to provide secondary containment in the case of a spill.
  • When a cart is not available and biological materials must be carried, remember to use the “one glove” technique.  This will enable you to open door handles and push elevator buttons without using a gloved hand.
  • When collecting biologically contaminated liquids, ensure that the container used to collect the liquid is in a tray that provides secondary containment, and that it is labeled as to the hazard present by using a biohazard sticker.
    • Vacuum traps used with cell culture work must consist of two flasks, a primary and a secondary, or overflow flask.
    • Both flasks should contain a 10% bleach solution to provide decontamination of the cell culture waste.
    • The bleach solution should be changed weekly to ensure adequate decontamination.
    • When full, the flask should be decontaminated again by the addition of enough bleach to create a 10% dilution (e.g., 50 ml of bleach in a 500 ml flask) and allowed to sit for 24 hours before being taken to the autoclave room.
    • A HEPA filter can be located in line between the second (overflow) flask and the vacuum inlet to protect the system or pump.
    • The trap system must be set in a secondary containment tray to contain potential spills or overflow.
  • Solid biohazard waste must be collected in two, orange, autoclave bags; and contaminated broken glass and other sharp items must be collected in a sharps box or double autoclave-bagged broken glass box with a biohazard label/sticker.
  • Pipettes must be collected in a separate container that allows all pipettes to be oriented in the same direction to prevent protrusion. The container must be double orange-bagged.  Note: Pasteur-type pipettes must be collected in an appropriately labeled sharps container or broken glass box due to their increased risk of puncture.
  • Uncontaminated glass must be collected in an appropriately labeled broken glass box. If a cardboard box is used, it must be labeled as uncontaminated broken glass. Alternatively, broken glass boxes can be purchased



If you experience or discover a spill of potentially infectious materials, please follow the spill response guidance provided in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center’s Management of Spills of Infectious Medical Waste Plan.

Additionally, if you work with infectious materials in your lab, it is highly advisable that you print a hardcopy of the spill response guidance and retain in your lab in case of emergency.


Self Inspection:

All laboratories must comply with the Health & Safety requirements. One way to evaluate this progress is to conduct a self inspection. The Laboratory Safety Self-Audit Checklist provides an excellent checklist of key Health, Safety, and Environmental concerns that should be reviewed. For problems that cannot be corrected by laboratory personnel, contact our office for assistance.

Additionally, a more specific checklist is available for BSL 1 & BSL 2 laboratories.  The Biosafety Self-Audit Checklist covers biosafety issues more in depth than the general lab safety checklist, and should be completed by all labs working with biological materials.

Submit completed self-audit checklist forms to Health and Safety by emailing to, and maintain a copy in the Department records.



The following training presentations are available for review online. They are presented in person by Environmental Health and Safety staff, and employees are required to complete an appropriate Bloodborne Pathogen training either in person or online annually.

Biosafety in Research Laboratories – includes Bloodborne Pathogen training – intended for research faculty, staff and students working with in research laboratories with biological hazards

Bloodborne Pathogens and Regulated Medical Waste Training – intended for non-research employees who have occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens

US DOT Hazardous Material Employee Training – Regulated Medical Waste – intended for employees that manage Regulated Medical Waste, particularly those who sign waste manifest paperwork

Additional training presentations are available on the Marshall University Institutional Biosafety Committee web page, in the right hand column under the header Training Seminars.


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