2012 Biological Safety Cabinet Survey Results

By Lab Manager

Biological safety cabinets (biosafety cabinets or BSCs) are enclosures that protect users and the environment from biohazards and samples from contamination. Whether performing research or production activities, the proper degree of protection should be maintained and is required based on the biosafety containment level of the lab or application.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Biosafety Cabinet:

  1. Do the samples/specimens/cultures need to be protected from environmental particulates? Answering this question determines what type of BSC you require.
  2. Are chemicals involved in your application? Hazardous (toxic or volatile) vapors are not filtered by the HEPA/ULPA filters found in BSCs. Different BSC designs are available.
  3. What are your size limits? Know your maximum space allotment so that you don’t end up with equipment that is too big for your lab, or so small that you can’t work.
  4. Does your procedure require modifications to the equipment that are uncommon? BSCs should be built to an appropriate standard and listed by a testing agency. Some modifications can lead to the equipment being unsafe. Reputable manufacturers will not provide such alterations.
  5. Cost is always a concern. Avoid looking at the sticker price of a BSC; Inquire instead about the lifetime cost of each BSC. This includes energy savings, service life, and a proven product track record.


Top ten factors/features considered by our readers when purchasing a biosafety cabinet:
Durability of product 97%
Safety and health features 95%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 93%
Ease of use 91%
Performance of product 91%
Controlled airflow 86%
Low operating costs 83%
Service and support 82%
Warranties 82%
Value for price paid 79%


Containment level of our respondents’ labs:
Containment level 1 35%
Containment level 2 55%
Containment level 3 9%
Containment level 4 1%


Types of biosafety cabinets being used in our readers’ labs:
Class I Biological Safety Cabinet 9%
Class II Biological Safety Cabinet 83%
Class III Biological Safety Cabinet 3%
Other 4%


Respondents using Class II biosafety cabinets are using the following sub-types:
Type A Class II 51%
Type B Class II 22%
Unsure of sub-type 26%


Respondents’ agreement with the following safety statements regarding biosafety cabinets:
Test labels are properly affixed to all BSCs tested 91%
Storage in BSCs is kept to a minimum & doesn’t impede proper airflow 90%
Workers using biohazards, toxins & regulated carcinogens have received the proper training 90%
BSCs containing regulated carcinogens, biohazards & radioactive materials are properly labeled 90%
Samples/specimens/cultures are protected from environment particulars 90%*
All BSCs in the lab have been tested within the past year 88%*

*These two values were incorrectly reported in the print, digital & pdf versions

Completed Surveys: 223

For more information on biological safety cabinets, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/biosafety-cabinets

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Categories: Surveys

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