VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Research Safety and Security
Lab research submissions must be made to the VAPHS Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Coordinator:
Research Office Building
Mail Code 151
Pittsburgh, PA 15240
Submissions may be made via email, fax, mail, or hand-delivered. Only one copy is required. Submissions will not be reviewed unless all required components have been received.
Basic Laboratory Safety Training
Take the Research Lab Safety Course training online; refresh the page to have the files to load. Read the material, take and pass the quiz, and email the certificate to Beth Toth via interoffice mail to 151U-H.
Questions or comments about this page? Contact us.
The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for research subjects (human and animal) and all research personnel. As such, all research involving biological, chemical, physical and/or radiation hazards must be reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) in addition to reviews conducted by the IRB (for human research), IACUC (for animal research) and RSEC (for research which does not involve animals or humans).
Below please find information relating to research safety at VAPHS, including a review of the forms and procedures you will need to complete and submit to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to assure we have appropriate oversight and continue to maintain safe research facilities.
Initial Submission Forms and Procedures
The determination as to whether or not a researcher needs to submit materials to the IBC is based upon answers provided on Part I: Request for Review or the completion of the ProSPECT study application (for human subjects studies). If you are required to submit to the IBC you must complete and submit the following documents, as applicable:
- Part I: Request to Conduct Research
This document initiates a submission within the research office. Please complete all applicable parts. The way you fill out the form will help determine which other "Parts" (II-V) you will need.
- Part II: Research Protocol Safety Survey
- Attachment A: Definition of Hazards
- Attachment B: Description of Biosafety Levels(BSL)
- Attachment C: Biological Safety Cabinets
- Attachment D: Listing of Common Controlled Substances
- Chemical Matrix
This form must be completed and submitted to document all chemicals which will be used in conjunction with your project.
- Part V: Application to Use Radioactive Materials
See Radiation Safety page for more information.
- Research Staff Form
Amendments/Modifications Forms and Procedures
Any revision or modification to your project, including changes in staff must be reviewed and approved by the VAPHS IBC before it can be implemented. To request an amendment, please submit the IBC Amendment Request Form.
Continuing Review Forms and Procedures
A continuing review must be submitted to the IBC annually. A continuing review submission form will be sent to the Principal Investigator approximately 90, 60, and 30 days prior to the project's expiration.
Depending upon the nature of your protocol, agents used, and procedures conducted in your lab other documents may also need to be submitted. Instructions regarding the submission of these documents are provided below.
- Application to Access Research Secured Area
This form must be completed by each individual requesting access to a secured research area and signed by the Principal Investigator of the laboratory. Completed forms must be submitted directly to the Administrative Officer for Research and Development.
- Request for Staff Access to Research Secured Area
This form must be completed by the Investigator to request access for his/her employees and staff to secured research areas. Completed forms must be submitted directly to the Administrative Officer for Research and Development.
- Research Laboratory Hazardous/Select Agent Certification Form
This form is used to verify the absence/presence of hazardous and/or select agents in use laboratory space. The form is required annually.
- Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) Safety Manual
This document can be used as a template to develop specific operating procedures used in a BSL-2 laboratory. Any specific operating procedures will be reviewed annually by the VAPHS Biosafety & Chemical Hygiene Officer during laboratory inspections.
- Laboratory Hazard Assessment Tool
This form is used to record the hazards associated with work conducted in your laboratory and to assess the type of PPE needed to protect staff from such hazards. These forms must be updated annually and will be reviewed by the VAPHS Biosafety & Chemical Hygiene Officer during laboratory inspections.
Research Safety Guidelines
- Guidelines for Use of Cytotoxic Agents
- Guidelines for Flammable Solvent Disposal
- Guidelines for Ethidium Bromide Disposal
- Guidelines for the Safe Use of Liquid Nitrogen
- Guidelines for PIs Vacating Research Laboratories
- IBC Guidance on Biosafety Level Assignment for Adeno-associated Virus (AAV)
- Guidelines for Polyacrylamide Gel Disposal
- Guidelines for Moving Lab Equipment
IBC Policies and Standard Operating Procedures
- S-001: Waste Anesthetic Gas (WAG) Policy
- S-002: Research with Lentivirus and Lentiviral Vector Systems
- S-003: Exposure Control Policy
- S-004: IBC Policy for Partnership with University of Pittsburgh
- S-005: Visitor Policy for Research Laboratories
- S-006: Research Laboratory Hazardous Agent Control Program Policy
- S-007: R&D Departmental Emergency Response Plan
- S-008: VAPHS Research and Development Departmental Continuity of Operation Plan (COOP)
- RD-014: Material Transfer Agreement
- Incoming Material Transfer Agreement Form
- Outgoing Material Transfer Agreement Form
- VAPHS Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Laboratory and Clinical Research Safety/Biosafety Manual and Chemical Hygiene Plan
Research Safety Training Requirements
All personnel who work in a research laboratory and are funded by the VA must complete the required training. Details regarding Research Safety Training Requirements can be found in the VAPHS Research Staff Training Document.
All Research personnel who work with recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules must review the Overview of the NIH Guidelines and the brochure of Investigator's responsibilities under the NIH Guidelines.