Legionella Testing / Biosafety Training
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Richard W Gilpin PhD Blog

Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) Start Up Procedure

BSC start up procedure published by NSF International NSF/ANSI 49 - 2016 Annex E

— follow manufacturer’s startup procedure. If cabinet alarm condition is present, investigate root cause before continuing.

— inspect air intake grilles for obstructions and foreign materials and remove any obstructions.

Remove all items from the work area.

— adjust view screen to proper height.

— turn on blower and allow five minutes to purge the air.

— wash hands and arms with mild, non-antimicrobial soap for 30 seconds. Put on a rear-fastening, long-sleeved gown with gathered cuffs. Put on a pair (or two pairs) of appropriate long sleeve (11 ½ - 12 inch) gloves (nitrile gloves are recommended for biological work). Consider, when appropriate, disposable sleeve protectors and a second or third pair of appropriate gloves. This will minimize the shedding of skin flora into the work area and also protect hands and arms from viable microbial contamination. Before and after work in a BSC, hands and arms should be washed mild, non-antiseptic soap.

— disinfect the interior surfaces of the BSC by wiping down with appropriate disinfectant for an appropriate contact time. 70% alcohol is not considered an appropriate disinfectant because it has no effect on fungal spores.

— place a plastic-backed pad on the work surface without covering the air intake/exhaust grills. This will prevent spills from hitting the stainless steel surface and creating aerosols.

— put all items for the experiment in the BSC and keep clean items segregated from dirty items by 12 inches (300 mm). Organize the material so that dirty "contaminated" items will not be passed over (cross contaminate) clean items.

— exercise care that no items be placed over the front intake grills. Materials should be arranged so that clean materials are separated from dirty (used) virus materials. Passage of contaminated materials over non-inoculated cultures or clean glassware should be avoided to prevent contamination. Transfer of viable materials should be performed as deeply into the cabinet (away from open face) as possible.

— allow air to stabilize for five minutes before starting work. This will rid the area of all "loose" contamination that may have been introduced with the items.

— work from "clean" to "dirty" areas and work at least six inches (150 mm) back from rear of the front air intake grill.

— move arms in and out of the work access opening perpendicular to the front of the BSC in a slow steady motion to minimize disruption of the front air curtain.

— minimize penetration of the work opening air curtain.

— a minimum number of needed items should be placed into the BSC to prevent overloading.

Work should be planned to minimize the number of times an operator's hands and arms must enter and leave the air curtain. Ideally, have everything needed for your procedure placed in the BSC before starting, so that nothing needs to pass in or out through the front air curtain until the procedure is completed. Do not raise your hands inside the BSC above the top level of the sash height. If you raise your hands above the sash height, air may flow up your hands to elbows and possibly out of the BSC.

— know your "safe working area". BSC safe working area is the work tray or depressed area. All work should be performed on or above the work tray. The area on or above and within 6 inches (150 mm) from the rear of the front grill is a non-safe working area.

— this is a general operational guideline to control airborne contaminants of low to moderate risk.  Procedure protocols defined in terms of the barrier or control concepts unique to BSCs must be developed for maximum safety and protection.

— for preparation of anti-neoplastic drugs, the following procedures summarize the OSHA Technical Manual TED 1-0.15A, Section VI, Chapter 2 "Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs". This document should be reviewed before preparing anti-neoplastic drugs in a BSC.

RICHARD W GILPIN PHD