Biosafety Training on Biosafety Cabinets
Biosafety cabinets (BSCs), often incorrectly known as biological safety cabinets, microbiological safety cabinets, or hoods, are enclosed, HEPA- or ULPA-filtered workstations in laboratories that are used for safely working with biohazardous and other biological or chemical materials. Laboratories are specifically designed for work with biohazards. There are four biosafety levels (BSLs) for these laboratories. Based on the risk group of the biological material and the procedures to be used, work is assigned to a laboratory designed for the biosafety level needed for the work. Biosafety levels range from 1 to 4, with BSL-1 laboratories equivalent to an undergraduate biology teaching laboratory. BSL-2 laboratories are called containment laboratories, BSL-3 laboratories are called high containment laboratories, and BSL-4 laboratories are called maximum containment laboratories.
Since there are varying levels of risk, there are different biosafety cabinet designs. These are separated into different classifications: Class I, Class II, and Class III. Class I BSCs are not commonly used. Class II BSCs are designed for biosafety levels 1, 2, 3, and biosafety level 4 positive pressure suit maximum containment laboratories. Class III biosafety cabinets are used in biosafety level 4 laboratories where the BSC provides the containment for high risk biological agents. What differentiates Class I from Class II and Class III BSCs is that the first is designed for personnel and environmental protection while the latter are designed for protection of personnel, the environment, and the product itself.
Biosafety cabinets are essential pieces of primary containment equipment for proper laboratory work with pathogens, tissue culture, and recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid material. Proper biosafety training is a necessity to ensure your professionals have the knowledge they need to maintain a safe work environment for themselves and others. Visit the Control of Biohazards website for information on biosafety training and consulting or call (410) 961-6638.