Biological Research Safety

The Biological Safety program at LSU is designed to maintain safe conditions in biological research and prevent harm to humans, animals and the environment. Safe biological research includes appropriate facilities and equipment, adequate training, proper laboratory practices and safe working conditions. Biological safety helps protect the LSU community of students, faculty, staff and visitors. It also helps maintain our academic excellence and integrity and ensure research funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding sources. Good biological safety practices protect the environment from release of potentially harmful agents. The Biological Safety program includes oversight for compliance and safety, training and outreach, institutional support for incident response, building design, and collaboration with LSU committees such as the  Inter-Institutional Biological and Recombinant DNA Safety Committee (IBRDSC or IBC), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Biological Research Approval

The Biological Safety Program and Inter-Institutional Biological and Recombinant DNA Safety Committee (IBRDSC) oversee and approve all research at LSU involving biological materials and procedures for procurement, use, storage, transportation and disposal of biohazardous materials.  Visit the Registration of Biological and Recombinant DNA Research webpage for more information. 

Biosafety Laboratory Inspections

All biological labs at LSU are subject to lab inspections at a recurring interval depending on the hazards present int he lab.  The goals of the biosafety inspections are to ensure lab practices and facilities comply with relevant regulations, to provide guidance on biosafety issues, to verify required annual safety trainings have been completed, and to facilitate communications between researchers and EHS. Please refer to the appropriate inspection checklist on the Reference Materials webpage. For questions regarding an inspection, or to schedule an inspection, please email Dr. Abigail Fish at

Biological Safety Cabinets

Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are used to protect personnel, products and the environment from exposure to biohazards and cross contamination. Knowing how to work safely in a BSC is key. To learn more about safe practices and how BSCs work, please complete the Biosafety Cabinet Training in EHS-Assistant. Visit the Biological Safety Cabinets webpage for more information about BSCs.

Decontamination and Biohazardous Waste

Decontamination is a combination of processes that remove or destroy contamination so that infectious agents or other contaminants cannot cause infection, or other harmful responses.  There are various methods and levels of decontamination depending on the hazards of the organism in question and the object needed to be decontaminated. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a list of registered antimicrobial products that are effected against certain organisms. Procedures for appropriate decontamination vary and are lab specific.  Details for your lab's procedures for decontamination of lab waste can be found in the approved IBRDSC protocol. If you need help selecting an appropriate disinfectant, you can contact the Biological Safety Manager, Dr. Abigail Fish at

LSU requires that all biological waste be completely sterilized before the waste can be discarded as regular trash. For details regarding disposal of biohazardous waste please review the Biohazardous Waste Disposal Procedures

Biohazardous Spills

If a spill of biohazardous material or recombinant DNA occurs, follow the Biohazardous Spill clean-up instructions (in development).  Print these instructions and keep them in your spill kit.  If recombinant DNA is spilled, Federal regulations dictate that is must be reported to the EHS whether an exposure has occurred or now. Please email Dr. Abigail Fish at immediately to report the spill.  

Biohazard Warning Labels and Signs

Biohazard Warning Sign

The biohazard warning sign restricts laboratory access during work with biohazards, communications the agents in use, and specified any entry or exit requirements.  It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to properly identify hazards and restrict access to the laboratory, and to notify emergency and support personnel of any hazards in the lab. Biohazard signs should be updated annually or as hazards and emergency contact personnel change.  Please contact EHS to obtain new Biohazard warning placards.  Email Dr. Abigail Fish at

Biohazard Labels

All containers used to store, transport, or house waste must be labeled with the international biohazard warning sign. EHS does not provide these labels. Labels can be purchased from approved vendors or can be printed and fixed to containers. 

What can you do to stay safe?

  • Be sure all research with biological materials is registered and approved by the IBRDSC. 
  • Follow laboratory standard operating procedures (SOPs). 
  • Wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) and wear it properly. 
  • Complete your required safety training.
  • Be familiar with laboratory specific and LSU emergency procedures. 
  • Use safe practices when working inside a Biological Safety Cabinet. 
  • Ask for help when you don't know. 

Services Offered

EHS Biosafety Group can assist with training, consultation and help with any biosafety related questions.  Please contact Dr. Abigail Fish at for any questions.