EHSO Home Page
        Environmental Health and Safety Office     
Safe Laboratory Practices
Laboratory Biosafety Level Criteria
Table1: Summary of  Recommended Biosafety  Levels for Infectious Agents
Table1a: Summary of Vertebrate Animal Biosafety Levels (ABSL)
Biological Emergencies
Biosafety Cabinets (BSC's)
Types of BSC's
Comparison of BSC's Characteristics
Selection of a BSC Through Risk Assessment
IBC Application Forms

Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC)

As a safety equipment, Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC's), are the primary barrier or first line of defense used in the laboratory to protect against exposure to infectious biological aerosols generated during the manipulation of infectious agents, and to prevent contamination of the environment.  In order to achieve maximum protection, biological safety cabinets must be tested and certified as meeting manufacturer's specifications. Performance tests must be conducted yearly, after the cabinet has been moved to a new location or serviced, or if the cabinet is newly purchased or installed.

Guidelines for Working in Biological Safety Cabinets
  1. Make sure cabinet is tested and certified before use.
  2. Avoid exposure to cabinet's UV light.
  3. Turn air on and keep it running, allow air to filter for few minutes before starting work.
  4. Make sure everything needed for the experiment is inside the cabinet.
  5. Do not block cabinet's air grilles with material and equipment.
  6. Segregate contaminated Items (i.e. clean items to the left, contaminated items to the right.) to avoid mix-ups.
  7. Waste collection containers such as small bio-hazardous waste bags, should be placed inside cabinet to avoid bringing contaminated items outside of cabinet, and out into the lab.
  8. Liquid trap/sink must also be placed inside cabinet. A filter must be used between trap and vacuum spigot to prevent migration of contaminants into vacuum line or pump.
  9. Avoid frequent and rapid arm movement in and out of cabinet, to prevent disrupting airflow and bringing contaminants out to the lab.
  10. Always keep spill absorbent towels and decontaminating solution close by or in the cabinet.
  11. Prevent extended reaching, place materials as close as possible.
  12. Perform your work at least 6" back into the hood or BSC to maintain optimal airflow containment for material and personal protection.
  13. Always assume a proper posture. Use only adjustable chair or stool with built-in foot and armrest.

  Top of Page.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.