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Oklahoma State University
University Research Compliance

A unit in the Division of the Vice President for Research

Biosafety - Biosafety Containment Level

Biosafety Containment Level

The term “containment” is used to describe safe methods for managing infectious agents and organisms containing recombinant DNA molecules in the laboratory environment. The purpose of containment is to reduce or eliminate exposure of laboratory workers, other persons, and the outside environment to potentially hazardous materials. The elements of containment include laboratory practices, containment equipment, and special laboratory design. A risk assessment specific to the work to be conducted with the agent will determine the appropriate containment level.

The Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition (December 2009) manual describes four levels of general containment in Section IV on pages 41-71. Additionally, this same manual provides guidance on Animal Biosafety Containment levels located in Section V on pages 72-114. If the research activities involve recombinant DNA it is also advised to review the guiding principles outlined for containment levels in the NIH guidelines. General biocontainment levels are outlined in Appendix G, the animal biocontainment levels are outlined in Appendix Q, and the plant biocontainment levels are outlined in Appendix P of the NIH guidelines. OSU does not allow any research to be conducted at a BSL-4 containment level.