Biosafety Office

Biosafety Levels

“Biosafety Level” refers to the containment principles, technologies and practices that are implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their accidental release.

Laboratories are designed based on the containment needs of the work being performed from basic, Biosafety Level 1(BSL1), to maximum containment, Biosafety Level 4 (BSL4). Biosafety level designations are based on a composite of the design features, construction, containment facilities, equipment, practices and operational procedures required for working with agents from four corresponding Risk Groups (1 – 4).

                             Biosafety level is not a synonym of agent Risk Group! 

Normally agents are handled under equivalent biosafety level of their risk group classification. In other words, usually a Risk Group 2 agent is handled under BSL2 facilities and practices. But in reality, the biosafety level determination should be driven by professional judgment based on a risk assessment.This assessment takes into account the risk group of the agent and other factors, such as pathogenicity of the organism, route of exposure, host range of the organism, availability of disease prevention and treatment.

At UC, most of the laboratories working with biohazard materials are BSL2 laboratories.

Contact us


Biosafety Office 

University Hall                                                 51 Goodman Drive, suite 238                   Cincinnati, Ohio 45221  




Marcia Espinola, DVM, MS, CBSP
Director, Biological Safety Office
Biological Safety Officer


Gary E. Dean, PhD
IBC Chairman