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Purchasing Guide

Biological safety cabinet
Credit: Lab Manager

Purchasing Guide: Biological Safety Cabinets

Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are designed to protect sensitive samples from environmental contaminants and to keep workers safe from the potentially hazardous or infectious samples they are working with

by Lab Manager
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Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are designed to protect sensitive samples from environmental contaminants and to keep workers safe from the potentially hazardous or infectious samples they are working with. Purchasing the right unit for your application and using it as recommended will ensure you get the most out of your BSC. For a list of BSC manufacturers, see our online directory: LabManager.com/BSC-manufacturers

5 Questions to Ask When Buying a BSC:

  1. What class/type of BSC do you need for your application?
  2. Where can you place your BSC to avoid turbulent airflow (e.g., away from doors and high-traffic areas)?
  3. What external gas services or utilities (vacuum, CO2, etc.) will you need to integrate with your BSC?
  4. Will the BSC’s lighting and noise allow staff to work comfortably in it for several hours?
  5. How will you train your staff on proper techniques and safety precautions?

Responding to Alarms Safely and Effectively

Encouraging a culture of lab safety involves ensuring that all staff know how to handle safety incidents. BSCs are equipped with various alarms to indicate a high sash, drops in airflow velocity, and more. While BSC interfaces are relatively user-friendly and easy to understand, many operators still lack knowledge on what to do when an alarm is triggered. This can be remedied by working with your lab’s embedded safety professional to train staff on how to safely and swiftly respond to every kind of alarm that your lab’s BSC has.

Using the Right Chemical Disinfectant with Your BSC

Cleaning your BSC with an incompatible cleaner like iodine or bleach can stain or even rust the metal. One common method is to wipe down the interior of the BSC with a 1:10 fresh bleach solution to disinfect the metal, then rinse it with 70 percent ethanol to avoid corrosion.