The November 2021 Biosafety Manual is now online


The 2021 UW Biosafety Manual is now available online. All laboratories or facilities using biohazards must have an electronic link or paper copy of the current manual available to all personnel working in the lab or facility. Bookmark this link to the manual:

The UW Biosafety Manual is a reference tool to help keep you safe while conducting research involving biohazards. The 2021 Biosafety Manual has significant updates based on the 6th edition of the CDC Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), which recommends best practices for working safely in biological laboratories and serves as a tool to perform risk assessments and risk mitigations. The UW Biological Safety program makes best efforts to implement the practices described in the BMBL.

All updates to the UW Biosafety Manual are listed in the log of changes. The major changes are listed below.

  • Lab coats are required in BSL-1 labs when handling biohazardous agents to protect skin and personal clothing from contamination. Labs should update their Laboratory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hazard Assessment to include lab coats for BSL-1 work. The updated lab coat policy aligns with best practices and policies commonly found at other universities where lab coats and safety glasses are standard requirements for all labs. We recognize the new policy may be a culture shift for some labs; EH&S is available if you have questions about implementation.
    • Lab coats are also required when working with hazardous chemicals, radioisotopes, and other hazardous materials.
    • EH&S recommends that labs try to centralize laundry services as much as possible within a building or department. Disposable lab coats are also an option. Contact EH&S if you have questions related to lab coat laundry.
  • Eyewashes are required for BSL-1/ABSL-1 laboratories. BSL-1 and ABSL-1 (animal biosafety level 1) labs are required to have readily available eyewash stations. More information on eyewash requirements can be found on the EH&S Emergency Washing Equipment webpage. EH&S understands that not all BSL-1/ABSL-1 labs have eyewashes and may have challenges funding purchase and installation of new eyewash equipment. During 2022, EH&S will conduct a formal assessment to determine which laboratories are lacking the required eyewashes. For now, eyewashes are required for new construction and renovations for labs where biohazards are used.  
  • Post spill clean-up procedures in all locations where biohazards are used. All labs and facilities where biohazards are used are required to post biohazardous spill clean-up procedures. Post the EH&S Spill Response Poster to meet the requirement.
  • Train visitors on lab hazards. Labs and facilities have a responsibility to identify their visitors and provide training on all potential hazards, including hazards indicated on posted signage (i.e., Caution Sign, Biohazard Warning Sign). If a visitor will handle biohazards, or be present in an area where work with biohazards is occurring, the visitor must receive documented lab-specific hazard awareness training, in addition to any other required EH&S trainings. Contact EH&S if you aren’t sure what training to provide to a visitor.
  • Add occupational health requirements on Biohazard Warning Signs for BSL-2/ABSL-2 and higher. If your research has occupational health requirements, such as vaccination or medical counseling requirements listed on your Biological Use Authorization (BUA) letter, and your research is conducted in a BSL-2 or higher lab, the requirements must be identified on your Biohazard Warning Sign. More information about the biohazard sign is in Appendix B of the Biosafety Manual and on the Biohazard Warning Sign webpage.
    • List any occupational health requirements in the “Special Procedures, PPE or Precautions for Entry/Exit” section.
    • For the small number of labs that have more requirements than will fit on the Biohazard Warning sign, EH&S will work with you directly to post the information separately.
  • Include in-line HEPA filters on vacuum lines in BSL-2 labs and label aspiration flasks. If you use vacuum lines with biohazards at BSL-2 and higher, an in-line HEPA filter is now required in addition to liquid disinfectant traps. In-line HEPA filters (or equivalent) with a pore size of 0.3 microns are recommended. Replace filters at least annually or if they become visibly contaminated. Label aspiration flasks or bottles as "biohazard waste" and treat with bleach prior to disposal.
  • Restrain or tie back long hair during lab work if it has the potential to contact hands, equipment, containers or specimens during lab work. Avoid using hands (bare or gloved) to touch your hair or face during lab work. Only touch your hair and face after washing your hands.

Have questions or need help?

If you have any questions about the Biosafety Manual or the latest changes, please contact the EH&S Biosafety team at or 206.221.7770.