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Work with Biological Materials Print
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 14:01


A complete Experiment Safety Sheet (ESS) is required before work can be done at the ALS. This ESS is either a part of the proposal process or may be completed as an independent document. In the ESS, identify each material (including all biological materials) with which you will be working. The regulatory oversight for biological work is very complicated and we need to understand the risk levels involved with the material you plan to use at the ALS, whether they are materials of biological origin (e.g., organisms, cells, viruses), plant or soil samples (USDA quarantines), recombinant DNA, or blood-borne pathogen.

Biological Use Authorization

The great majority of biological work at the ALS is risk group 1 or lower with few other complicating issues. ALS has created an umbrella authorization that most users can use for bio-safety level-1 materials. This Biological Use Notification (BUN) is maintained by the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (BPM) at ext. 6568. Simply completing the ESS process will not automatically take care of the institutional authorizations. If your work is an exception and involves Risk Group 2 or other higher risk materials, then a separate authorization will need to be developed. Notifying the BPM early (30-60 days before) is strongly advised for experiments involving higher risk materials in order to allow for proper development and review time.


All resident LBNL users (those whose work authorization includes a JHA) must take the standard LBNL training courses for biological safety: (1) EHS0739 Biosafety Training and (2) EHS0730 Medical/Biohazardous Training. However, non-resident users (those whose work does not require use of the ALS Biology Lab) can receive credit for this standard training by going through an orientation given by the BPM. This orientation includes all of the relevant parts of the standard training, but focuses on just those elements relevant to users. This is typically done as part of the ESS review and takes just a few extra minutes.

Bio Lab

Complex biological work, or work with toxic or large quantities of biological material will usually be performed in our Bio Lab where fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, incubators, etc. are available. There is a standard training and orientation procedure that must be completed to obtain access to this space. A more detailed work description will be needed to review and approve work there. See the ALS User Biology Program ISM Plan for more information.


There is very limited storage space for biological material, and in general ALS does not store biological materials after the user experiments have been conducted. However, if you have a substantial reason for storing materials for a limited period of time, please consult the BPM. In limited cases with a strong justification materials may be stored, but they will have strict labeling and deadlines associated with them.


It is preferred that you return your materials to your home institution. Contact Experiment Coordination (ext. 7222) for assistance in preparing them for transport. All standard rules for shipping materials to the ALS apply to their return. If you must dispose of hazardous materials, this must be arranged before the user run begins, and be reviewed and approved as part of the ESS process.


Before beginning work with hazardous materials, you should familiarize yourself with the LBNL Emergency Response Guide flipchart. Location-specific copies are posted on bulletin boards around the ALS floor.

If any spill results in an emergency, call the Lab’s emergency number directly (ext. 7911). All spills should be reported to the Control Room (ext. 4969). Until help arrives, follow the SWIMS guidelines:


Warn others
Isolate the area
Monitor yourself
Stay until help arrives


For more information, contact the ALS EHS Program Manager (ext. 4499) or the User Biology Laboratory Program Manager (ext. 6568).