Biological Safety Cabinets

Summary

The laminar flow biological safety cabinet (BSC) is an engineering control designed to provide protection to personnel, the research, and the environment. It is the primary means of containment developed for working safely with infectious microorganisms, so proper use is important. The biosafety cabinet requires routine maintenance and certification by an accredited technician to assure that it protects you, your experiments, and the environment. Each biosafety cabinet must be certified by an accredited technician when it is installed, after each time it is moved or repaired, and at least annually. Prior to moving a biosafety cabinet, it must be decontaminated by an accedited technician for the safety of the mover staff.

If a BSC needs to be relocated outside of its current location (either for disposal, storage, or use in another lab), it must first be professionally decontaminated with either formaldehyde gas or vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP). Contact EHS to arrange for decontamination. Costs for certification, decontamination, repairs, or replacement of HEPA filters is paid by the user. Contact EHS to schedule repairs, decontaminations, or annual recertification, or with any other questions.

Contacts

  • Laurie Graham, Laboratory Safety Manager, Biosafety Officer, (P) 541-346-2864

Process

Bunsen Burners

An open flame in a BSC creates turbulence, which disrupts the downward linear flow of HEPA-filtered air onto the work surface. Additionally, the recirculation of flammable gases presents an explosion hazard. Use of open flames and gas burners in BSCs is strongly discouraged; contact EHS for safer alternatives.

Vacuum Systems

When using the house vacuum system for aspiration, hydrophobic filters should be inserted in the tubing between the overflow flask and the vacuum nozzle to prevent contamination of the vacuum system.

Ultraviolet (UV) Lights

UV lights are commonly used in the BSC for disinfection purposes. While UV light is a very effective disinfectant, it has its limitations, and the equipment requires frequent cleaning, maintenance, and monitoring that is rarely able to be completed on schedule. More information can be found on The Baker Company website. CDC’s BMBL does not recommend using UV lamps in BSCs.