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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for BSL-1 and BSL-2 Labs


There are four biosafety levels. This protocol provides information for both biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) and biosafety level 2 (BSL-2). The BSL-1 classification is for labs working with low-risk microbes posing little to no threat of infection or disease in healthy humans. Many of the precautions are meant to protect individuals from potential accidents such as spills. BSL-2 is different because it includes labs that work with agents associated with diseases in healthy humans. BSL-2 includes all of the precautions needed in BSL-1, however there are additional precautions that lie beyond PPE.


Watch the video for tips on using PPE in the lab.


  • Lab coat
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection and face shields, as needed


  1. Your lab coat should be buttoned to protect your body and clothing from potential spills.
  2. Gloves should fit well enough to be snug to your hand, but not so tight that you cannot perform your duties. Be sure to try out different sizes to know your fit. It is best to not reuse gloves. Dispose your gloves in a biohazard waste container.
    • Your lab coat and gloves should not be worn in "common areas" such as the lunch room, offices, and bathroom. These items should remain in the laboratory. When traveling between lab spaces, take your glove off of one hand and use your bare hand to open doors.
    • For those with latex allergies, be aware that some gloves may contain latex. Consider nitrile gloves as an alternative.
    • For extra precautions, tuck your sleeves into your gloves to prevent potential spills down your sleeve. This may or may not be possible depending on the type of sleeve.
    • Lastly, don’t touch your face!
  3. Close-toed shoes and long pants should be worn to protect your legs and feet from potential spills. If wearing open-toed shoes, cloth coverings or “booties” can be used to protect your feet.
  4. *Pro-Tip* If they are able, sometimes scientists work for a long time while standing. Wear comfortable shoes that cushion your feet.

  5. Eye protection such as goggles and/or face shields can be used as needed. For BSL-2 work always wear glasses/goggles in addition to the BSL-1 requirements.


Although simple, following appropriate PPE protocol goes a long way. It is the easiest way to ensure that you’re doing your work in the safest way possible. Protecting yourself is important!

Disclaimer: The SOP presented here has been designed by the Addgene nonprofit plasmid repository and is being shared outside of Addgene for informational purposes only. If you choose to reuse or repurpose this SOP in another location, please note that you do so at your own risk; you should ensure that any local guidance is also adhered to. None of the authors, contributors, administrators, or anyone else associated with Addgene, can be held responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked to from these web pages.