(Revised from UBC Biosafety Manual)

Bio Hazard Level Definitions


3.1.1  Biohazardous Materials are biological substances that either present or have the potential to present a hazard to the health or well being of an individual. Biohazard safety and containment levels are assigned dependent upon the classification of the agents involved as per the risk criteria outlined in Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (CBSG) and The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Biohazard Level 1

3.1.2  Biohazard Level I involves work with Risk  Group 1 agents which present a low risk to the individual. They include microoganisms, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites which are unlikely to cause disease in healthy workers or animals.  Therefore, work with these agents may be conducted on an open bench with no special containment required.                                                           

Facilities for Biohazard Level 1 should meet the following criteria:

  • Room should be separated from public areas by a door which should be kept closed
  • Coatings on walls, ceilings, furniture and floors should be cleanable.
  • All functional windows should be equipped with fly screens.
  • Hand washing facilities should be provided.
  • Eye wash stations must be provided as per WCB Regulations 5.85-5.96.

Biohazard Level 2

3.1.3  Biohazard Level II involves work with Risk 2 agents which present a moderate risk to individuals. They have the ability to cause disease in humans or animals but under normal circumstances are unlikely to be a serious hazard to healthy workers or animals.

When working with Biohazard Level 2 organisms or substances:

  • An inventory of all Risk 2 organisms must be maintained and records of all de-microbanking and destruction must be kept.
  • Lab coats and gloves, which do not leave the lab, must be worn. Depending on the procedure, safety glasses may also be required.
  • If a known or suspected contamination occurs clothing must be decontaminated prior to laundering. 
  • Open wounds should be covered with waterproof dressings.
  • Any work which may create an aerosol must be performed in an annually certified BSC.
  • Work surfaces must be cleaned and decontaminated with a suitable disinfectant at the end of each day and after any spill of potentially biohazardous substance. Permeable surfaces must be repaired or replaced.
  • Contaminated materials must be appropriately decontaminated prior to disposal.
  • Autoclaves must be periodically monitored with biological indicators regularly to ensure efficacy. Records of these tests and results and cycle logs (temp, temperature, and pressure) should be kept on file.
  • All individuals working in the containment area should be adequately trained in the operational protocols involved in their anticipated activities in the lab. This includes technicians, students, custodial and maintenance staff. Training should be documented and signed by both the employee and employer.
  • Emergency procedures for spill clean-up, BSC failure, fire, and other emergencies are posted in the Microbiology Containment Hood room behind the door.
  • Spills, accidents, or exposures must be reported to a laboratory supervisor.  Written records of the incidences must be maintained.

 Facilities for Biohazard Level 2 should meet all the criteria for Level 1 with the additional requirements:

  • Lab should be located away from public areas and general offices
  • Biohazard signs indicating the level of containment and two emergency contact names and phone numbers must be posted on the outside of all doors entering the lab.
  • Doors should be self-closing and be kept closed.
  • Work surfaces must be impervious and readily cleanable.
  • An autoclave must be available in or near the laboratory.