Containment Laboratory Testing, Classification and Guidance

It is the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) that containment measures are in place to provide protection to laboratory staff from working with biological agents, which can potentially cause severe disease and pose a serious risk to health. The primary aim of any containment laboratory should be to control the exposure to biological agents at source, using procedural and engineering control measures.

Containment laboratories are classified depending upon the types of biological agents being used. For a detailed explanation on the various classifications available contact us. If you know the containment level of your laboratory, see below for the differences in control measures for Containment Level 2 (CL2) and Containment Level 3 (CL3).

Differences in Control Measures Required for CL2 and CL3

Control Measure CL2 CL3
HEPA filtered extract air No Yes
Sealable for fumigation No Yes
Surfaces resistant to water Yes
Benches, floor and walls for animal labs
Surfaces resistant to
acids, alkalis, solvents & disinfectants
Benches, floor and walls for animal labs
Restricted access Yes Yes
Workspace separated
from other activities
No Yes
Workplace maintained
at negative pressure
Unless mechanically ventilated
Effective vector controls (pests, flies, etc.) No Yes
Observation window No Yes
Lab to contain own equipment No Yes
Ideally with dedicated autoclave

CL3 Documentation Required

  • Documented facility design and operational procedures, including a routine and emergency fumigation protocol
  • Operational verification prior to use and following any remedial or modification works
  • Annual re-verification, including integrity testing to ensure sealability for fumigation.

Routine Inspection

Crowthorne recommend annual testing of CL3 facilities (minimum) to ensure the laboratory provides adequate protection to lab workers.

Testing to include:

  • Room integrity and sealability
  • In-situ HEPA filter integrity testing (DOP testing)
  • Measuring air volumes and calculating air change rates
  • Inspection to ensure functionality of controls, interlocks and anti-blowback devices.

Sealability of CL3 and CL4 Facilities

All laboratories which require fumigation will need to provide evidence to the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) that sealability tests using smoke pencils have been undertaken and any identified leak paths adequately rectified.

Emergency CL3 Fumigation Scheme

Find out more on fumigation.

Take a look at our Containment facilities overview flyer below:

To discuss the annual inspection, verification and integrity testing of your CL3 laboratory, arrange a fumigation efficacy study, or register for our emergency fumigation scheme, get in touch.

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