Biohazardous Materials

In keeping with Federal regulations, before a scientific project can begin, the laboratory must be "certified" to work with radioactive materials, recombinant DNA, infectious agents and/or select agents. Some sponsors require a copy of an environmental health and safety approval letter signed by an authorized institutional official or head of the University's Environmental Health and Safety Department. Other sponsors may require that the PI complete a checklist.

The Office of Biological Safety facilitates the Committee on Microbiological Safety (COMS) is a standing faculty committee that reviews all research involving recombinant DNA as well as work involving biohazards at Harvard and its 16 affiliated institutions. The Office provides the administrative support for the Committee and the technical review of COMS applications. The Office also supports the biosafety programs at these institutions by providing additional risk assessment as well as establishing policies and procedures.

Harvard University's Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) is responsible for ensuring University compliance with the laws and policies that apply to Harvard’s overall physical environment, including laboratory safety. The EH&S website provides a comprehensive overview of laboratory safety topics, including safety plans and manuals for the following topics: