2014 Biological Safety Cabinet Survey Results

Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are enclosures that protect users and the environment from biohazards by removing particulates and aerosolized pathogens from the work area through HEPA filtration, then recirculate or exhaust the purified air, hence, cleansing the workspace air.

By Trevor Henderson

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Biological Safety 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 what the maximum space allotment is 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.

Types of biological safety cabinets used by survey respondents:

Class I Biological Safety Cabinet 16%
Class II Biological Safety Cabinet 78%
Class III Biological Safety Cabinet 4%
Other 3%

Applications performed by survey respondents within their BSCs:

Cell/tissue culture 28%
Microbiology plating/speciments 21%
Pathogen handling 13%
PCR/qPCR 10%
Sample and reagent storage 9%
Mycology 5%
Gross dissection 5%
Laboratory animal handling 5%
Other 3%

Nearly 24% of respondents plan on purchasing a BSC in the next year. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of aging biosafety cabinet
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab
First time purchase of a biosafety cabinet

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a BSC:

Durability of product 94%
Performance of product 94%
Safety and health features 94%
Low maintenance/Easy to clean 92%
Controlled airflow 90%
Ease of use 89%
Value for price paid 84%
Service and support 82%
Low operating costs 81%
Warranties 80%

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

See the most recent survey results

Categories: Surveys

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