Biological Safety Cabinets

A biological safety cabinet (BSC) is a primary engineering control used to protect personnel against biohazardous or infectious agents and to help maintain quality control of the material being worked with as it filters both the inflow and exhaust air.  It is sometimes referred to as a laminar flow or tissue culture hood.

These filtered cabinets are primarily designed to protect against exposure to particulates or aerosols.   A portion of the air in most BSCs is recirculated back into the lab through its exhaust HEPA filter.  This purifies the air of potentially infectious aerosols, animal dander, or both but does not reduce exposure to chemicals.

All procedures should be performed in a manner that reduces the generation of aerosolized material and prevents spills. Operations such as centrifugation, vortexing, sonication, and opening containers of infectious materials whose internal pressure may be different from the ambient pressure are known aerosol-generating procedures.   These procedures should be conducted inside the BSC or additional measures must be available to mitigate the safety concern.

Contact the EHS representative assigned to your BSC or the EHS main line at (734) 647-1143 for guidance regarding proper BSC:

  • Selection
  • Placement
  • Certification
  • Maintenance
  • Warranty repairs
  • Use of biological safety cabinets

Standard Operating Procedures, Guidelines, and Manuals

The following documents may be required for your research operation, depending on what type of research you are performing, the potential hazards you and your staff will be exposed to, and the engineering controls you are implementing.  Some of these documents are in a downloadable “Word” format so that you can print them for your operation as is, or download and modify them to meet your unique needs.  When you click the link it will automatically go to the download file.

EHS Engineering Controls of Standard Care

Lab Director Responsibilities

Lab directors (faculty/lab managers/supervisors) must:

  • Perform due diligence to select the proper BSC for their laboratories
  • Write the lab-specific BSC standard operating procedure that supplements the EHS Biosafety Cabinet SOP
  • Designate a contact person to facilitate communication regarding the BSC annual inspections, routine maintenance, and other functions EHS performs
  • Train lab personnel to properly use the BSC
  • Maintain certification and training documentation for the BSC
  • Report all problems with the BSC to EHS at (734) 647-1143
  • Keep personnel from using a BSC when it is:
    • Posted as “Out of Service”
    • Broken
    • In Alarm
    • Past due in its certification
  • Report all accidents and complete the:

Lab Personnel Responsibilities

Lab personnel must:

  • Follow the lab-specific BSC standard operating procedures as well as the EHS Biosafety Cabinet SOP
  • Use the BSC as instructed by the lab director
  • Notify all problems with the BSC to your lab director
  • Refrain from using a BSC, when it is:
    • Posted as “Out of Service”
    • Broken
    • In Alarm
    • Past due in its certification
  • Report all accidents to your lab director immediately

Certification

Biological safety cabinets must be inspected and certified by EHS:

  • When newly installed
  • After repairs
  • After being moved
  • Annually

If your BSC has not been certified within the last year, or if you have any questions regarding BSCs, call EHS at (734) 647-1143.