Biological Safety Training

Information on this web page applies to VUMC researchersVU researchers should refer to VU Biosafety.


Training needs will vary based upon what a person works with in the lab.

Lab-specific biosafety training is needed for all lab members. A spreadsheet can be used to document all lab training completed for each lab member. This New Lab Member and Temporary Lab Member checklist can be used to document some of the lab-specific training.

Training Title Frequency Required for everyone who
Biosafety 101 Once works with biological materials in a lab
Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) Once works in a BSL2 lab
Biosafety 201 Once works in a BSL2 lab
Working Safely with Human-
Derived Materials in the Lab
Annually
(per OSHA)
works in a lab with
human-derived material
ABSL-2 Training Once works at ABSL-2 in ACUP facilities
Basic Researchers Shipping
Biological Substances
every 3 years ships biological materials
Clinical Research Human Patient
Samples Shipping Training - USDOT and IATA
every 3 years ships human patient samples
Dry Ice Shipping - USDOT and IATA Training every 3 years  ships with dry ice
Regulated Medical Waste Shipping Training
for VUMC Lab Researchers - USDOT Training
every 3 years  ships regulated medical waste

For training that is only required once, Biosafety OCRS recommends that you review the training once every 5 years to stay up-to-date regarding any new information.

Questions about biosafety training?

Refer to the Biosafety Training Guide to determine what training requirements apply and how to satisfy those requirements. 

If you have specific questions regarding biosafety training needs, please send an email to biosafety@vumc.org. An OCRS Biosafety Team member will respond within 3 business days.


Biosafety 101: Standard Microbiological Practices

Target Audience:   All research personnel who will be working with biological materials and/or recombinant DNA molecules.  It is also an essential informational primer for all Principal Investigators whose research involves the use of biological materials.

Class Description:  Basic description of biological hazards and regulated biological materials; overview of biosafety levels, and standard microbiological practices including:

  • biohazardous waste segregation, handling and disposal,
  • hygiene practices to enhance lab safety and minimize potential cross-contamination,
  • spill and exposure prevention practices.

Class Length:  45 minutes

Class Schedule/Location:  Available online.  To enroll, log into the Medical Center Learning Exchange or University's Oracle Learn and search for the course title. When you have completed the lesson, keep a copy of your training certificate or confirmation email for your own records.  Then, forward a copy to your PI or supervisor for their records.
 

Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) Research Lab Safety Training

NOTE: Biosafety 101: Standard Microbiological Practices is a prerequisite for this course.

Target Audience: All research personnel who will be working with biological materials at Biosafety Level 2.  

Class Description: Introduces the different types of BSC with a focus on class II cabinets. Describes how to use a BSC for containment of hazardous biological materials, including how to maintain good air flow, and how to decontaminate before and after use. This is a prerequisite for the Biosafety Principles training course.

Length: 40 minutes

Location: Online. To enroll, log in to the Medical Center Learning Exchange and search for the course title. When you have completed the lesson, keep a copy of your training certificate or confirmation email for your own records.  

Biosafety 201: Biosafety Principles & Bloodborne Pathogens Control Topics (formerly Principles & Practices of Biosafety)
course schedule

NOTE: VUMC personnel must complete prerequisites Biosafety 101: Standard Microbiological Practices and Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) Research Lab Safety Training.  

This course is an instructor-led virtual training course offered via Microsoft Teams. In addition, there is a required reading assignment which registrants must review in advance and have on hand during the presentation. Pre-registration is required and will be closed three business days before the scheduled course date.

In order to pre-register for this course, you must:

  • Send an email request to biosafety@vumc.org, and put “Biosafety training request” in the email subject line.
  • Attach a copy of the training certificates (VUMC Learning Exchange) or a screenshot of the course transcript (VU Oracle Learn View Transcript page), to verify completion of prerequesite courses.
  • Include your desired course date.  

You will receive an email from a Biosafety team member confirming your registration. Attendees will receive a separate email with advanced reading materials and a Microsoft Teams meeting invite with instructions to complete registration from the course instructor.

Target Audience:  Investigators and research staff members who handle biological materials that require BSL-2 containment. Such materials include:

  • Agents infectious to humans, animals or plants
  • Toxins of a biological origin
  • Human or non-human primate derived materials including blood, body fluids, unfixed tissues and cells (including immortalized cell lines)

Class Description:  This course builds on the information covered in the Biosafety 101: Standard Microbiological Practices course. This course includes and emphasizes the following topics:

  • routes of exposure and lab-acquired infections
  • personal protective equipment selection and use
  • biological safety cabinet best practices
  • sharps selection, handling and disposal considerations
  • special equipment hazards
  • exposure and spill response actions

Class Length:  2 hours (including bloodborne pathogens exposure control review)

Class Schedule/Location:  See Course Schedule.
 

Working Safely with Human-Derived Materials in the Lab

Required by:  Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, OSHA 1910.1030

Frequency:  Initial with annual retraining

NOTE:  New personnel should complete this training via an instructor led course if at all possible.

Target Audience:  Any staff/faculty exposed to human blood, body fluids, tissues or cells, or exposure to one of these viruses: HIV, HBV or HCV in a laboratory setting.

Class Length:  Self-paced if completed online; 30 minutes if completed as part of an instructor-led training session.

Class Schedule/Location:   Available online in the Medical Center Learning Exchange.  This training is also provided in an instructor-led session in conjunction with the Principles & Practices of Biosafety training.

  • VU and VUMC staff receive this training online in the Learning Exchange. It is available as a self-assigned course.  It is also assigned by administrators to certain groups, such as those working in medical research laboratories. 
  • VUMC School of Medicine faculty receive this training based on responses to the VUMC SOM Faculty Compliance Training Profile.
     

Target Audience:  Investigators and research staff members who have previously completed either Biosafety 101: Standard Microbiological Practices or Principles & Practices of Biosafety. Refresher training is offered by OCRS Biosafety in the Fall only. All biomaterials researchers are encouraged to complete refresher training in the Fall regardless of their last training completion in order to stay “on cycle” with meeting annual training requirements.

Class Description:  This session will provide a review of biocontainment and infectious agent exposure control principles, using findings from recent lab visits to demonstrate concepts. Topics will change from year to year.

Class Schedule/Location:  You must log in to either the VUMC Learning Exchange or VU Oracle Learn to sign up for this training. The OCRS Biosafety team cannot assign this course to you.
 

ACUP Facility Orientation Biosafety ABSL-2 Rooms (ABSL-2 Training Curriculum)

Target Audience: 

Investigators and research staff members who will be carrying out animal studies that require animal biosafety level 2 (ABSL-2) containment. (These studies typically involve the administration of an agent infectious to humans in an animal model.)

Class Description:  This training course provides an overview of animal biosafety levels and general containment practices applicable to the lab animal research setting. The training focus is adhering to ABSL-2 principles while conducting common procedures including challenge, sample collection, cage change and terminal procedures. This class is only open to personnel who have been added to an ABSL-2 IACUC protocol or who are in the process of being added to such a protocol.

Class Length:  1.5 hours

Class Schedule/Location: Online.

To request this training, your PI or Designated Oversight Person (DOP) must complete this REDCap form.  The form asks for the applicable IACUC animal protocol number, the trainee's name, and date the trainee was added to the IACUC protocol.
 

Basic Researchers Shipping Biological Substances

Basic researchers who need to ship biological materials but are not currently certified to ship these in accordance with hazardous materials/dangerous goods regulations should contact Richard DiTullio at richard.ditullio@vumc.org for assistance.
 

Clinical Research Human Patient Samples (with Dry Ice) Shipping Training - USDOT and IATA

Clinical researchers who need to ship human patient samples and Dry Ice as part of clinical research activities can access an online training course in the VUMC Learning Exchange. This course will only provide training for individuals who need to ship samples as UN3373 Biological Substance, Category B.

Target Audience: This training is for VUMC employees whose job requires them to ship human clinical specimens for IRB research protocols.

Required by: U.S. Department of Transportation 49 CFR 172.700 - 172.704, and International Air Transport Association Dangerous Goods Regulations

Frequency: Initial with refresher at least every two years; Refresher training is required more frequently when there are significant regulatory changes.

Class Schedule/Location: Online. To enroll, log in the VUMC Learning Exchange, and search for "Clinical Research Human Patient Samples Shipping Training".
 

Regulated Medical Waste Shipping Training for VUMC Researchers in VU Buildings - USDOT Training

Required for: VUMC employees working in VU research buildings.

Required by: U.S. Department of Transportation 49 CFR 172.700 - 172.704

Frequency: Initial with refresher at least every three years; Refresher training is required more frequently when there are significant regulatory changes.

Target Audience: This training is for Vanderbilt University employees whose lab-related job tasks require them to prepare Regulated Medical Waste shipments or sign for Regulated Medical Waste pick-ups from VU labs serviced by Stericycle or BioWaste, LLC.

Class Description: Topics include the general requirements of the Hazardous Materials regulations, and the regulations specific to regulated medical waste; To receive certification, participants must successfully demonstrate understanding of these elements through testing.

Length: 30 minutes plus test completion time.

Prerequisite Course: Biosafety 101: Standard Microbiological Practices

Class Schedule/Location: Online. Send a request to biosafety@vumc.org and OCRS Biosafety will assign you the course. Include the title of the course, the name of your PI and your lab location in the request. Do not take the clinical regulated medical waste training in the VUMC Learning Exchange which is available for self-assignment, as it is NOT the correct course.