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Containment and control

Working with GMMs

The containment and control measures needed for work with GMMs drive the Activity classification of your work, so if you only need Containment Level 1 measures to control the risk, then your work is classified as Activity Class 1 and so on.


  • you only need to use one measure from the next Level to push the activity up to the next Class.

  • You need to use, as a minimum, all Containment Level 1 measures for Class 1 activities (and so on for Class 2-4).  However, for notified activities (ie Class 2 and above) you can ask for specific permission not to apply all the measures at a given level.  Make sure you that request any reduction in containment at the time of notification to HSE as any subsequent amendments are treated as a significant change to the assessment which will require an additional fee. 

  • In addition to the specific containment measures needed at any particular level, all work with GMMs should apply the principles of good microbiological practice (GMP) and good occupational safety and hygiene (GOSH).

NB: The containment and control measures necessary for work with GMMs are similar to those needed for work with unmodfied micro-organisms but there are some key differences. If you plan to work with both modified and unmodified micro-organisms, you need to ensure your laboratory meets all necessary requirements - if you need advice on whether your laboratory is suitable for your planned work, please contact the University Biological Safety Adviser.

Working with GMOs

There are no specified containment levels for work with GM animals or plants as there are for GMMs, but instead the containment and control measures used need to reflect the risks to human health and to the environment if the animal or plant were to escape eg could the animal survive and persist in the environment.

Summary (from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification - SACGM) of measures for:


Containment Levels 1-4

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