BSL3 Laboratory
(510) 643-5292

Training for work in the BSL3 Facility

Proper training ensures that each user of the BSL3 Facility knows and abides by the rules outlined in the Biosafety Manual. The training process consists of several steps:

Medical surveillance

The first step towards working in the BSL3 facility is to enroll in the TB surveillance program. All personnel working in the BSL3 must be tested regularly for exposure to M. tuberculosis. TB surveillance consists of a Tuberculin skin test (PPD test) or chest X-ray. Both of these tests are administered by the Tang Occupational Health Clinic.

  • Contact the Facility Director to add you to the list of personnel needing TB surveillance
  • Prepare an IOC form to pay for the test (check price with Clinic Nurse)
  • Bring a copy of any prior PPD tests or chest X-rays
  • If you have not been PPD tested – you must obtain a 2 step test (get tested twice)
  • If you are PPD+ (including those vaccinated with BCG) you are required to have a basal chest X-ray unless you have record of one from the last 12 months
  • Give the result of either the PPD test or chest X-ray to the Facility Director

All personnel working in the BSL3 are required to be tested every 6 months. The Facility Director will keep track of TB surveillance scheduling and contact personnel when they are due for their tests. However, it is the responsibility of the user to go to the Tang Occupational Health Clinic, have the test administered and deliver the results to the Facility Director. Failure to do this will result in barring the user from the BSL3 facility until the tests are completed.

  • TB surveillance is required every 6 months:
  • PPD– individuals are required to have a PPD skin test
    • In the event of conversion to PPD+, the user must immediately contact the Facility Director, who will then notify the Biosafety Officer and the Principal Investigator
  • PPD+ individuals must complete a semi-annual health survey
  • All symptoms of illness that may be related to infectious organisms being used in the lab must be brought to the attention of the Facility Director, who will then notify the Biosafety Officer and the Principal Investigator

PPD screening consists of subcutaneous injection of tuberculin, which must be read 48-72 hours later

PPD screening times:

Monday 10 to 11:30 AM
Tuesday 2 to 4 PM
Thursday and Friday (PPD reading and symptom reviews only) 2 to 4 PM

Respirator fit testing

Respirators must be worn at all times in the BSL3 facility. Proper fit of the respirator is critical for function and must be tested by EH&S.

  • Contact Sara Souza for respirator fit testing
  • Complete the respirator medical clearance form prior to being tested and submit to Tang Center for review

All users must be fit tested every year and are responsible for staying up to date. Failure to complete the required fit testing will result in the user being barred from entering the BSL3 facility.

EH&S biosafety training

UC Berkeley EH&S requires a general biosafety training classes for work with pathogens in the BSL3 facility.

Complete the general biosafety class – Biosafety for human, animal and plant pathogens (select “biosafety for human, animal and plant pathogens” Course Code “CBIO”). The course is 2 hours long and is offered approximately once per month.

BSL3 safety training

The BSL3 safety training is the most intensive and specific training required to work in the BSL3 facility. All aspects of the BSL3 safety training are outlined in this manual. The applicant is expected to have thoroughly read this manual before training begins.

To begin BSL3 training, an active BSL3 user will be chosen by the Facility Director to introduce the applicant to generalized BSL3 procedures and provide specific technical training based on the submitted protocols. All training must include identification and control of the hazards with which personnel will be working. Furthermore, regardless of the techniques required for the proposed protocol, the training program must include performing mock procedures that cover the following topics:

  • Adherence to general lab safety procedures, such as wearing double gloves and sterilizing gloved hands before removing them from the biosafety cabinet.
  • Setting up, cleaning out, and properly using the biosafety cabinets.
  • Bringing materials into and out of the cabinet.
  • Culturing and manipulating M. tuberculosis safely, with emphasis on the importance of avoiding aerosol generation during all operations.
  • Performing the essential procedures required of most protocols, such as centrifugation, plating, and incubating.
  • Disposing of waste.
  • Bringing materials out of the BSL3
  • Following emergency procedures, especially what to do in the event of a spill. Particular emphasis must be placed on the reporting of spills and accidents, no matter how minor the incident may seem.

At least two training sessions must be performed, with additional sessions at the discretion of the either the trainer or applicant. The applicant will be responsible for completing the Documentation of Training Form.

BSL3 safety testing

Following the training period, the applicant must demonstrate to the Facility Director proper BSL3 safety practices. The test will require the applicant to demonstrate their ability to follow all the approved biosafety practices outlined in this manual. Typically, the applicant will have to complete a mock procedure that covers general M. tuberculosis culturing and manipulation. If the applicant fails to show competence in properly handling M. tuberculosis, more training will be required specifically focusing on problems that arise during testing and the applicant will have to be tested again by the Facility Director.

After satisfactorily demonstrating biosafety techniques, the Facility Director will approve the applicant to work with live bacteria.

Supervised trial period

Given the complexities and risks associated with BSL3 work, any new user must undergo a supervised trial period. For the first 2 sessions of work in the BSL3, an existing BSL3 user must be present to help the new user if needed and observed the user’s technique. The new user will be responsible for documenting the date, time and who supervised these initial sessions and giving this information to the Facility Director.

After the supervised trial period, the new user will confer with the Facility Director to discuss any additional problems or suggestions and be able to work independently in the BSL3.