Biohazard Labeling Guidelines

Pursuant to OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), warning biohazard labels must be affixed to containers of regulated waste and other containers used to store, transport, or ship blood or other potentially infectious materials. The standard requires that the biohazard symbol and legend be in a contrasting color to a fluorescent orange or orange-red background.

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The Biohazard Warning Sign restricts laboratory access during work with biohazards, communicates with the agents in use, and specifies entry and exit requirements. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator or supervisor to properly identify and restrict access to the laboratory and to notify emergency and support personnel of any hazards in the laboratory.


The Biohazard Warning Sign must be permanently affixed to the entry doors of the following laboratories/rooms:

  • BSL-1 with standard practices
  • BSL-2
  • BSL-2 with BSL-3 practices
  • BSL-3
  • ABSL-2
  • ABSL-2 with ABSL-3 practices
  • ABSL-3

For BSL-1/ABSL-1 laboratories, no Biohazard Warning sign is required. The biohazard symbol is sufficient.


How to Complete the Biohazard Warning Sign:

  1. Download the Biohazard Warning Sign.
  2. Enter the room number and date on which the sign will be posted.
  3. BSL-2 is the default biosafety level. Use the dropdown arrow to select the appropriate biosafety level. For BSL-1, a Biohazard Warning Sign is not required unless specified by OLS or the IBC; the biohazard symbol on the permanently affixed GW Laboratory Entry Caution Sign next to laboratory entry doors is sufficient.
  4. Enter biological agent(s).
  5. Enter special procedures, PPE needed for work, and precautions for entry/exit. Include information on immunizations and respiratory protection, if applicable.
  6. Enter contact information for all Principal Investigators (PI) using the laboratory. Enter an emergency contact including an after-hours phone number.
  7. When finished, print in color on 8 1/2" x 11" white paper. This biohazard symbol on the sign is required to have the orange background with the symbol and lettering in a contrasting color.
  8. Post Biohazard Warning Sign as described above.