When engaging in research with biohazardous materials, safety is of key importance. The UA Biosafety program and the Office for Research Compliance are here to assist you with the necessary safeguards needed to conduct your experiments safely and in compliance with federal regulations and guidelines. Our offices are here to work on your behalf if the unexpected occurs. Our goal is to mitigate the inherent risks associated with the laboratory setting.
Applicable regulations and guidelines include but are not limited to:
Currently, the University of Alabama approves the use of Risk Group 1 & 2 biohazardous agents. Please contact the BSO for any proposed research involving Risk Group 3 organisms or biohazards. The university reserves the right to impose additional terms and conditions on investigators who conduct research on; or engage in teaching activities that involve microorganisms harmful to humans, animals, or the environment.
Meetings of the IBC are scheduled on the first Tuesday of the month unless otherwise arranged.
It is the policy of The University of Alabama to have all work involving biological material as well as all work involving recombinant or synthetic DNA reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Approval must be granted before work begins. To submit a project or protocol for review, please complete a Biological Use Authorization form through Formstack.
Tips for filling out the form:
Amendments to submitted or approved BUA’s can be made by email to the BSO and must be accompanied by the assigned BUA # (ex. 20-123-IBC) in addition to detailed changes requested.
It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) to ensure that all responsibilities within the “NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules” are met. Section IV-B-& Roles and Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator.
Information about ordering biological materials, chemicals, or other items can be found at EHS Ordering/Shipping Information. Shipping biological materials of any type are subject to DOT and/or IATA regulations. Additional information about the Sharps logs, Medical Waste, or Bloodborne Pathogen Programs can be found at:
The University of Alabama has an institutional biological safety program established to ensure that all research, testing, and teaching activities involving the use of biohazardous materials, and the facilities used to conduct such work, remain compliant with all external regulations and applicable university policies.
Applicable regulations and guidelines include but are not limited to:
The Institutional Biological Safety Committee (IBC) was established in order to conform to National Institute of Health (NIH) guidelines. The IBC is now involved in the oversight of all projects involving infectious agents and recombinant DNA (rDNA).
The responsibilities of the IBC are:
A BUA is required for:
PI submits New BUA to Office of Research Compliance (BSO):
The BSO reviews applications for the following:
Full Risk Assessment performed by BSO:
The BSO determines what the path of review will be:
Post-Approval Monitoring (PI, BSO, EHS, ORC):
Reporting is ongoing for the life of the authorization:
When completing forms, examine all biological hazards associated with the proposed work. Consider how the associated risks will be minimized. The IBC will review your forms.
Additional Safety signage and stickers for use in research labs.
Please note that CITI biosafety coursework and that which is assigned by EHS through Skillsoft are separate assignments.
You will need to initiate the CITI coursework aided by the instructions below.
Biosafety Education Through the CITI Program
While completing the decision questionnaire (ex. Question 6 Biosafety/Biosecurity), you should have the following coursework selected for your needs:
Required Primary Coursework:
Training for Investigators, Staff, and Students Handling Biohazards. (ID: 44244)
Additional courses that are not covered in the primary training, but may be necessary for your research:
For more information on the required training, contact Cynthia Rodenburg, Biological Safety Officer, at 348-5941.
The Potentially Infectious Material/Bloodborne Pathogens Program affects a variety of areas on campus. Employees and students may perform tasks that involve much more than simply working with human blood.
An employee or student is covered by this policy if they work with or are potentially exposed to any of the following materials:
CDC Donning/Doffing PPE Videos (YouTube)
Respiratory “Fit-testing” must be performed by EHS.
The University of Alabama adheres to the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant and Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and follows the recommendations of the NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP). Inspections by the BSO must be performed to ensure that laboratory standards are rigorously followed (Section IV-B-3-c-(1) NIH Guidelines).
In addition to adherence to NIH Guidelines, your BSO will evaluate SOPs, general safety measures, compliance with OSHA standards, training records, biomaterials inventory, biosecurity, and containment practices.
Inspections are not limited to those labs working with recombinant/synthetic DNA. BSL-2 labs must be inspected annually, and the BSO must inspect all NEW labs (see lab registration section) prior to the start of work. Annual completion of the Lab Biosafety Self-Audit Form in addition to the Biological Material Inventory Form is required. Please submit completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to order a chemical/material for use on the UA campus, you should first check the list of Regulated Chemicals.
If you are purchasing a chemical located on the regulated chemical list be prepared to declare this in the BuyBama purchasing interface. You will receive a request from EHS to provide a standard operating procedure (SOP) detailing how this chemical/material will be utilized in your research.
The office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) provides proper disposal of both biologically hazardous and regulated medical wastes through a contracted disposal service.
Information about the disposal of biological materials can be found on the EHS websites:
Additional information on infection control including sterilization guidance
‘Research’ or ‘Teaching’ lab space is considered a “NEW” space if:
In order to register a new lab, please complete the Lab Registration form or contact the Lab Safety Manager at 205-348-5905 if you have questions or concerns.
Thorough decommissioning MUST be performed by the exiting Lab’s PI, or the research group before any new laboratory personnel can move into that same space. Decommissioning pertaining to biological, chemical, and radiation hazards must be verified by both Biological Safety and EHS. For decommissioning guidelines contact Juliette Commodore-Botoklo in EHS.
Shipping and Receiving Biologicals
When planning to ship/receive biological hazards or specimens, please be aware that there is guidance available through many departments at the university including, Office of Research Compliance, Office for Innovation and Commercialization, and EHS.
SHIPPING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Contact EHS at 348-5905 for guidance and assistance.
The University of Alabama is responsible for complying with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations as they apply to all areas of our campus. If you intend on shipping potentially hazardous material, including chemicals, biological materials, or dry ice; please follow the EHS guidelines.
Depending upon the mode of transport and destination, hazardous material shipments are regulated by 49 Code of Federal Regulation parts 171-180 and/or International Air Transport Association (IATA). These items must be properly classified, documented, packaged, and handled. Federal law also requires that anyone who is involved in or responsible for preparing or transporting hazardous material, including those who prepare the paperwork for the shipment, must have DOT and/or IATA training and certification. Penalties for non-compliance with these rules are significant and could result in fines up to $500,000 and jail sentences up to 5 years.
EHS personnel have the appropriate DOT training to ensure the proper shipment of all hazardous materials.
A hazardous material/dangerous good is any article or substance, which poses an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or personal property when transported.
Examples of these materials include, but are not limited to: (Items in blue are specific to work with biologicals)
Currently, EHS does not ship any Chemicals Of Interest (COI) off-campus and/or to third parties. This includes original shipments, returns, samples, and/or specimens. Additionally, the university’s Campus Mail department cannot ship hazardous materials.
If you must ship hazardous materials, please complete a Request for Shipment of Hazardous Materials
Note: If you are shipping a hazardous material that is a commercially available product, it is often more cost-effective to purchase the material at the location to which you wish to ship. For example, if you are planning field research, requiring the use of hazardous chemicals, you may find it easier and less expensive to have a vendor ship the chemicals directly to your destination.
EHS – https://ehs.ua.edu/
Hazardous Materials Management:
last updated 06/16/21