Biological Safety

This page is an overview of the basic daily procedures and requirements for the use and handling of biohazardous materials at KUMC. Biohazardous materials include all biological materials in a laboratory or medical setting and present a potential risk to human health.  Please refer to the KUMC Biosafety Plan for a more detailed discussion on biosafety.

Some common categories of biohazardous materials are:

  • Tissue/cell culture products
  • Bacterial cultures
  • Virus
  • Antibodies
  • Most proteins that have been produced in a laboratory.
  • Bodily fluids (animal or human)
  • Animal or human tissues

Biohazardous materials are common to most labs on the KUMC campus.  All researchers should be trained in proper handling techniques, personal decontamination, and basic equipment decontamination appropriate for the materials being used in their labs. 

Biosafety cabinets must be certified for use with BSL (Bio-Safety Level) of the materials you are using, and must have up-to-date inspections.  Individual laboratories arrange for inspections by contacting the EHS office at

Personal protective garments must be worn properly, and must be suitable to the level of risk.

Decontamination solutions must be easily accessible in all areas in which biohazardous materials are used, and must be suitable to the materials being used in that area.

For information about select toxins, please follow the link below:

Select Toxins 

Biohazardous Waste

The Biohazardous Waste Management Program has been produced in accordance to the EPA, OSHA, and Kansas State regulations. Stericycle is the contractor who handles all of the biohazardous waste that is shipped off campus. All biohazardous waste must be contained within a 28 gallon red tub (supplied by Stericycle). Biohazardous waste must be discarded in red or orange biohazardous waste bags. All biohazardous waste is removed from the labs by the Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) office. If your waste requires autoclaving, ensure that the bag you use is autoclave safe. Please consult the Biological Waste Disposal Instructions for more information about the disposal of biohazardous waste.

Biohazardous waste can be defined as contaminated or potentially contaminated:

  • Liquid or semi-liquid potentially infectious materials 
  • Contaminated items that would release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed 
  • Items caked with dried blood or other potentially infectious materials 
  • Contaminated and non contaminated sharps 
  • Pathological and microbiological waste containing blood or other potentially infectious materials

Types of biohazardous waste include (but are not limited to):

1.  Cultures, stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals including:

  • Specimens from medical, pathology and research laboratories;
  • Disposable culture/petri dishes;
  • Devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures;
  • Wastes from the production of biologicals; and
  • Discarded live and attenuated vaccines.

2.  Human blood, blood products, body fluids, and cell lines.

3.  All sharps (contaminated and uncontaminated) such as:

  • Needles and syringes;
  • Scalpels, razors, microtome blades;
  • Lancets-also know as "fingerstick" devices
  • Infusion sets

For more information about sharps please refer to the Sharps Waste page and/or the Guidelines for the Safe Handling of Sharps page.

4.  Carcasses, body parts and bedding from animals exposed to pathogens in research. (See Animal facility protocol for waste management)

5.  Other laboratory wastes including but not limited to:

  • Specimen containers;
  • Disposable gloves, lab coats, masks and aprons;
  • Disposable serological pipettes;
  • All cell culture materials; and
  • All microorganisms constructed using recombinant DNA;
  • Pipette tips; and
  • Solidified blood and body fluids.
  • All wastes that have been steam sterilized

Rendering "non-viable"

Some biohazard waste needs to be rendered "non-viable" before disposal. This includes liquid waste that will be disposed of in the sewer system. Please contact the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) office prior to disposal of 10 liters or greater.  Materials that must be rendered non-viable include any material that has been generated inside a BSL3 laboratory and any materials that contain or have come into contact with:

  • Living infectious microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses, fungi) or prions
  • Any human or non-human primate blood, tissues, or cell lines.
  • Spore-forming organisms
  • Functional biological agents or toxins
  • Organisms constructed using recombinant DNA
  • Any liquid that contains infectious or potentially infectious material to humans, animals or plants
  • Any liquid that contains cells or tissue with recombinant DNA

Acceptable methods of rendering materials "non-viable" include autoclaving or using disinfectants, such as bleach or certain alcohols, known to effectively kill infectious agents.  Each of these methods must be done properly in order to be effective.  Please consult your supervisor or the EHS office before attempting to disinfect or autoclave materials if you have not been appropriately trained in these methods. Also consult the Selected EPA-registered Disinfectants website for approved disinfectants.

If you are unsure whether you waste needs to be rendered "non-viable", please contact your supervisor or contact the EHS office and we can assist you in making that determination.


There are many autoclaves located on campus. All are supervised by an autoclave monitor and by the EHS office. Biological indicators are run quarterly to test the efficacy of each autoclave. Results are kept in the EHS office if you require them. In the event that an indicator was to fail, the use of the autoclave would be immediately stopped until maintenance was provided and additional biological indicators pass the efficacy test.

Autoclaving Materials

After determining whether your waste needs to be autoclaved and can be autoclaved, the proper training and access to the autoclave rooms needs to be obtained. Please contact your supervisor for more information. Certain precautions need to be taken when handling autoclave waste and when transporting waste to the autoclave rooms. Please follow the general guidelines:

  • Red bag waste must be tied to prevent contents from spilling.
  • The bags used must be autoclave safe.
  • Waste must be transported in a durable, leak proof container and secured for transport.
  • Sharps containers must always be closed and upright.
  • Waste should be placed on a cart and never carried.

Most autoclave rooms are equipped with the 28 gallon red tubs. Place all autoclaved waste into these tubs for removal. If you notice these tubs getting full, please contact the appropriate autoclave monitor.

If you have any questions, please contact the EHS office at 8-1081 or

Last modified: Jan 29, 2014
Contact Us

Charles "Sonny" Cherrito
Biological Safety Officer

Nathan Bushue
Biohazard Technician