The Biosafety Unit oversees safety and compliance for all research involving biological materials on the CU Boulder campus. In collaboration with the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the Biosafety unit provides knowledge, support, and audits. Regulated biological materials in research include biological agents, infected animals or tissues, recombinant DNA, select agents and toxins, and work with human blood, bodily fluids, and tissues, or cells in culture.

Resources on this site are amassed to assist you in executing research involving biological material while staying safe and compliant.

The first step for all Principal Investigators using biological materials is to secure IBC authorization.

Learn About the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Online Training Through BioRAFT

CU Boulder Biosafety Manual

Biosafety Manual

Importing Biological Materials

If you are importing biologics from animals or humans, this video will help you import them successfully into the United States. Biologics and vectors are regulated for importation to protect others from the spread of infectious diseases.

Importing Biologics and Vectors: Know Before You Go

Biological Sample Inventories

It’s time to clean shop and create/update an inventory – do you know what’s in your lab’s freezers?

UCB researchers are responsible for what is in their laboratories. Please discuss this topic with your lab members and update your lab’s inventories of biological materials. It not only keeps you aware of the agents for which you are ultimately responsible, but it will also help create space in your freezers by getting rid of those tubes that you no longer need. Freezer clean-outs are good laboratory practice, and they help keep your freezers running well and efficiently, thereby decreasing the risk of freezer malfunction and sample loss. A proper inventory should also greatly reduce the amount of time needed to find a sample from the freezer.

Below are a few examples of templates that can be used for your inventory:

Biosafety Audits

We conduct Biosafety audits annually to support ongoing safety. Laboratory PI’s will receive an email notification one month in advance. You can ensure that your lab will pass by using the Biosafety Audit Checklist. This audit is part of the IBC post-approval monitoring.

Procedures for Biological Material Involved Work-Related Injuries or Illness

For work-related injuries or illnesses that include animal bites, severe allergic symptoms, sharps exposures, and any exposure—or potential exposure—to recombinant DNA or any other biological materials, it is critical that all safety procedures be followed. These events must be reported to the campus Biosafety unit. It is the policy of the University that all incidents that result in an injury (or severe illness) to faculty, staff, or students be appropriately documented and reported. 

This Environmental Health & Safety guideline documentation is intended for researchers and laboratory personnel and provides information on medical treatment, reporting procedures, and worker’s compensation eligibility.

CU Boulder has workers’ compensation coverage for employees through:
University Risk Management
1800 Grant Street, Suite 700 
Denver, CO 80203 Campus Box 014 UCA
303-860-5682 | 888-812-9601 | f 303-860-5680 

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage that employers must provide to their employees. The cost of workers’ compensation insurance is paid entirely by the employer and may not be deducted from an employee’s wages.

University Risk Management (URM), not your health insurance, is responsible for payment of services related to an on-the job injury. Send any workers’ compensation related bills you receive from an authorized medical provider to URM.

If you are injured or sustain an occupational disease while at work, you may be entitled to compensation benefits as provided by law. Written notice must be given to your employer within 4 working days of the accident. If you don’t report your injury or occupational disease promptly your benefits may be reduced.

If you are unable to work as the result of a work-related injury or occupational disease, compensation (wage replacement) benefits will be based on 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to a maximum set by law. No compensation is payable for the first 3 days’ disability unless the period of disability exceeds two weeks.

You are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment of compensable injuries or occupational diseases. If you notify your employer of an injury or occupational disease and are not offered medical care, you may select the services of a licensed physician or chiropractor.

You may file a Worker’s Claim for Compensation with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. To obtain forms or information regarding the workers’ compensation system, you may call Customer Service at 303-318-8700, or visit the Division of Workers’ Compensation website

Colorado Division of Workers’ Compensation
633 17TH Street, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202-3626

If you are injured after hours, while traveling, or far from a DMP, go to the nearest closest urgent care facility or medical emergency room, then contact University Risk Management at 303-860-5682 or 888-812-9601 for further instructions.

In case of emergency, CALL 911 or go to the closest urgent care facility or medical emergency room.

For non-emergencies or for follow up care, you must be treated at a university Designated Medical Provider (DMP). Please referrence these DMP’s with facilities in the vicinity of Boulder and North Metro Denver.

Guidance for Cleaning Out Low Temp Freezers

The Guidance for Cleaning out Low Temp Freezers document describes procedures to help laboratories clean out and dispose of unused or unwanted items contained in ULT freezers and other freezers and refrigerators.  All items removed from any freezer or refrigerator must be carefully evaluated to ensure that they are disposed of properly. 

Post Exposure Plans

Do you work with any of the pathogens below? Check out these post-exposure plans to learn about what to do after you experience an exposure or just to gain some general knowledge of the pathogen. General background, appropriate disinfectants, routes of transmission and medical attention are just some of the many topics covered.

Pest Management

Maintaining pest control in biological laboratories is essential to overall campus safety. Facilities Management is charged with implementing and enforcing the campus-wide pest control use policy. Their staff is on hand to handle all pest control needs. To get help with pest control, complete a Service Request or contact the Service Center at 303-492-5522. CU Boulder Pest Control – Policy and Procedure.

Select Agents

Infectious agents and toxins that are considered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as having the potential to pose substantial harm or a severe threat to human, animal, or plant health or plant products are regulated as “select agents”.

Select agents in any quantity are not permissible at CU Boulder. Toxins are permissible when in exempt quantities only. If you would like to work with toxins in exempt quantities, please contact the Biosafety unit.