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Summary of Biosafety Levels Recommended for Infectious Agents

Biosafety Level Practice Technique Safety Equipment Facilities
1 Standard Microbiological practices None: Primary containment provided by adherence to standard laboratory practices during open bench work. Basic
2 Level 1 practices plus: laboratory coats; decontamination of all infectious wastes; limited access; protective gloves and biohazard warning signs as indicated. Partial containment equipment (e.g., Class I or II Biosafety Cabinets) used to conduct mechanical and manipulative procedures that have high aerosol potential that may increase the risk of exposure to personnel. Basic
3 Level 2 practices plus: special laboratory clothing; controlled access. Partial containment equipment used for all manipulations of infectious materials. Containment
4 Level 3 practices plus: entrance through a change room where street clothing is removed and laboratory clothing is put on; shower on exit; all wastes are decontaminated on exit from the facility. Maximum containment equipment (e.g., Class III Biosafety Cabinet or partial containment equipment in combination with full-body, air-supplied, positive-pressure personnel suit) used for all procedures and activities.


Maximum Containment

A full description of each biosafety level recommendation is available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health publication "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories" or through ESSR and the Biological Safety Officer.