Designer Notes Biological Security
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Basic Information

Microbiology facilites, pathology labs and the like, tend to be popular locations in sci-fi but, given that the general public rarely see the inside of such places, most people have no idea what biosecurity looks like. ArcanaWiki is here to help:

The following information is taken Verbatim from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and gives the minimum standards under English Law1 for the design of non-industrial facilities handling biological hazards:

PART II
CONTAINMENT MEASURES FOR HEALTH AND VETERINARY CARE FACILITIES, LABORATORIES AND ANIMAL ROOMS

Containment Level
Containment Measure 2 3 4
01 The workplace is to be separated from any other activities in the same building. No Yes Yes
02 Input air and extract air to the workplace are to be filtered using HEPA or equivalent. No Yes, on extract air Yes, on input and double on extract air
03 Access is to be restricted to authorised persons only. Yes Yes Yes, via air-lock key procedure
04 The workplace is to be sealable to permit disinfection. No Yes Yes
05 Specified disinfection procedure Yes Yes Yes
06 The workplace is to be maintained at an air pressure negative to atmosphere. No Yes Yes
07 Efficient vector control e.g rodents and insects. Yes, for animal containment Yes, for animal containment Yes
08 Surfaces impervious to water and easy to clean. Yes, for bench Yes, for bench and floor (and walls for animal containment) Yes, for bench, floor, walls and ceiling
09 Surfaces resistant to acids, alkalis, solvents, disinfectants. Yes, for bench Yes, for bench and floor (and walls for animal containment) Yes, for bench, floor, walls and ceiling
10 Safe storage of biological agents. Yes Yes Yes, secure storage
11 An observation window, or alternative, is to be present, so that occupants can be seen No Yes Yes
12 A laboratory is to contain its own equipment No Yes, so far as is reasonably practicable Yes
13 Infected material, including any animal, is to be handled in a safety cabinet or isolator or other suitable containment. Yes, where aerosol produced Yes, where aerosol produced Yes
14 Incinerator for disposal of animal carcases Accessible Accessible Yes, on site

For reference the containment levels referred to are (from the same regulations):

Group 1—unlikely to cause human disease; .
Group 2—can cause human disease and may be a hazard to employees; it is unlikely to spread to the community and there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available; .
Group 3—can cause severe human disease and may be a serious hazard to employees; it may spread to the community, but there is usually effective prophylaxis or treatment available; .
Group 4—causes severe human disease and is a serious hazard to employees; it is likely to spread to the community and there is usually no effective prophylaxis or treatment available.

Noting that any facility may be designed to a higher level than legally required and some group 1 pathogens will require higher containment due to the risk of economic or environmental damage (these regulations are only related to the protection of human health).

Sources

COSHH 02 Sch3, live from the UK government's legislation database.

Bibliography
1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Notes for the GM that wants an authentic biosecure area - like a path lab, autopsy facility, animal testing lab or general microbiology lab.
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