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Laboratory Safety at UTMB

UTMB is known worldwide for its expertise in biosafety training, which helps ensure that all faculty, staff and students who work in any of the labs at UTMB understand the risks associated with their work and are capable of following proven, documented procedures to control them.

Before any staff or students work independently in the BSL2, BSL3 or BSL4 labs at the Galveston National Lab, they complete a rigorous training program that includes both classroom learning and extensive, closely supervised hands-on training in UTMB’s training lab.

All trainees are independently evaluated to ensure that they understand and practice safe laboratory procedures. Staff or students who will work with laboratory animals receive specific training based on the requirements of their research protocols, and emergency procedures are also taught and drilled regularly.

Trainees learn about the laboratory safety and environmental protection features, equipment operation, waste management systems, and the use of special Personal Protective Equipment. Before anyone is allowed to work independently at the highest level of containment, they must complete 100 hours of supervised training in the BSL4 lab with a Principal Investigator who serves as his or her mentor.

Training is also provided to scientists from across the nation and around the world at the International Biosafety Training Center at UTMB.

The Goal of Training:Safety for All

Keeping staff, students, and the public safe, while conducting important medical research on some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens is serious business, but UTMB’s safety record is a good indication that this training pays off.

In the ten years since the GNL opened its doors, there has not been an incident or exposure that has led to illness.

UTMB takes every laboratory incident seriously, providing immediate medical attention as needed, with personnel safety the top priority. Any accident is seen as an opportunity to evaluate procedures, make changes in protocols or provide retraining as required.

UTMB is also committed to transparency and provides a database of laboratory incidents for institutional, regulatory and public review. You can see the list here .