Campuses: Twin Cities | Crookston | Duluth | Morris | Rochester | Other Locations


Home > Frequently asked Questions > Biosafety

Frequently Asked Questions - Biosafety

  1. How do I do dispose of and/or replace my sharps container?

    To dispose of sharps containers:
    • Seal the container when 3/4 full.
    • Place next to regular waste for pick up.
    • Do not place sharps containers or other biohazard waste containers in public areas such as hallways or non-secured dock areas.

    • NOTE: Custodians should be properly trained on how to dispose of sharps containers and red biohazard bags. If they are not, or if biohazardous waste is not normally picked up in your area, call 624-2900 for a pick-up request.

    To replace sharps containers:
    • Laboratories must purchase their own sharps containers through U Stores or other laboratory supply venders.
    • Containers should be puncture proof, have a top that can be tightly sealed, and be clearly marked with a biohazard symbol.

    For additional information regarding proper handling of sharps see the Sharps section of the Biosafety Manual.

  2. How do I do dispose of unclaimed biological material from freezers or refrigerators?

    Biological materials that are from unknown sources should be handled as infectious biological waste:
    • Wear gloves to handle and place material in a red biohazard bag. Place bag next to regular waste for pick up. Do not place biohazard waste containers in public areas such as hallways or non-secured dock areas.

    • NOTE: Custodians should be properly trained on how to dispose of sharps containers and red biohazard bags. If they are not, or if biohazardous waste is not normally picked up in your area, call 624-2900 for a pick-up request.
    • Alternatively, the material can be placed in a clear autoclavable bag and autoclaved for 60 minutes. Then place in regular waste container.
    • For additional information regarding disposal of biological waste, see the Infectious Waste Disposal Chart or the Waste Handling Procedures section of the Biosafety Manual.


  3. How do I dispose of biohazardous waste?

    Biohazardous waste can be disposed of by autoclaving or placing in a red bag for pick-up. When possible, autoclaving is the preferred method.
    • Place material in a clear autoclavable bag. When 3/4 full close top of bag loosely to allow steam to circulate and autoclave for 60 minutes. Let cool, seal top of bag tightly, and place in regular waste container.
    • Alternatively, place material in a red biohazard bag, close bag when 3/4 full, and place bag next to regular waste for pick up. Do not place biohazard waste containers in public areas such as hallways or non-secured dock areas.

    • NOTE: Custodians should be properly trained on how to dispose of sharps containers and red biohazard bags. If they are not, or if biohazardous waste is not normally picked up in your area, call 624-2900 for a pick-up request.
    • For additional information regarding disposal of biological waste, see the Infectious Waste Disposal Chart or the Waste Handling Procedures section of the Biosafety Manual.

Top of Page

  1. How do I get my biological safety cabinet certified?

    The University does not provide biosafety cabinet certification services. Each researcher is responsible to hire a contractor to perform certification. The University is not endorsing any of the following contractors that offer biosafety cabinet certification services in Minnesota http://www.dehs.umn.edu/bio_pracprin_biosafecab_cert.htm.

  2. How do I select proper disinfectants and decontaminate and clean up spills?

    See Biohazards and Toxin Decontamination & Spill Clean-up fact sheet at http://www.dehs.umn.edu/PDFs/chemicalDecontaminate.pdf. Also the Biological Decontamination & Spill Clean-up Plan template, http://www.dehs.umn.edu/Docs/DecontaminationTemplate.doc, can be used in writing lab specific Standard Operating Procedures.

  3. How do I receive a Certificate of Environmental Compliance for my DOD grant application?

    • Print the Environmental Health and Safety form at http://www.dehs.umn.edu/Docs/DODForm.doc.
    • Fill the form out completely and have it signed by the P.I. on the grant application.
    • Bring the above form, the DOD Certificate of Environmental Compliance form, and an abstract to Environmental Health and Safety's office, W140 Boynton Health Service.


  4. How do I find out what training is required and when it is offered?

    • Discuss training requirements with your departmental Research Safety Officer
    • View training that is offered by Environmental Health and Safety
    • See the training fact sheet for an overview of training requirements


  5. How do I document training?

    Work with your departmental Research Safety Officer to learn how your department documents and manages training records.

  6. How do I do a risk assessment, assign a biological safety level, or write SOPs for biohazardous material?
    See the Risk Assessment section of the Biosafety Manual.

  7. How do I find out about shipping and transporting requirements for biological materials, toxins, and dry ice?

    • All shipping of dry ice and non-exempt biological material requires a training certificate from Environmental Health and Safety. Training is required every two years.
    • Use the Shipping Classification Guide - January 2011 Division 6.2 Infectious Substances to determine the risk classification for the material you wish to ship.
    • For assistance in international shipping, permits, and additional shipping information see the Shipping section of the Biosafety Manual.

    Shipping help for people who rarely ship hazardous material or have to ship a type of material they are not trained to ship may use the DEHS shipping service. For more information see http://www.dehs.umn.edu/hazwaste_hazwastetrans.htm

Top of Page