Office of Research

Multi-PI Labs and Pathogen Safety Data Sheets

This appendix is taken from an IBC guidance document developed in 2012. It helps provide background on the issues surrounding multi-user labs as well as provides a little bit of additional guidance.


Background:  In the 1990s laboratory design usually provided researchers with individual laboratories with a few common use areas.  More recently and including with the opening of the Life Sciences Building, research facility designs have been moving toward an “open area” laboratory design which allows for greater collaboration between researchers and research programs and to make more efficient use of resources.


Purpose: The purpose of this guidance document is to present some recommendations for researchers to consider when sharing space and equipment and when conducting activities under BSL1 containment when assigned to work in a multi-room laboratory or animal suite where work is conducted by others under BSL2 containment.


Guidance: The following procedures are recommended for shared space and equipment usage:

  • All research personnel who utilize multi-room laboratories where both BSL1 and BSL2 activities are performed must comply with BSL2 practices as described in the 5th edition of the BMBL1.  In essence, the higher BSL containment level trumps.
  • Clemson University Biosafety Manual, other related documents and protocols/SOPs/Pathogen Safety Data Sheets should be available in a common location for all users of the research suite.
  • All workers within the suite should be informed of the risks associated with the infectious agents or hazardous materials that are used.
  • Principal Investigators who are assigned to a multi-room laboratory will work together co-operatively to insure the safety of all workers (research personnel).
  • Research Safety is available for consultation and assistance with risk assessment.
  • Risk Group 2 agents must be secured unless in use at all times. If an RG2 agent is used in a shared space, the agent must not be left unattended.


1 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition, Revised December 2009.