Needless to say, there are a lot of rules that govern the use of a biological safety cabinet. These are common sense things that apply whenever personnel is working in them for their safety as well as to avoid any type of breach. Here is a general rundown of the guidelines and rules that all biosafety cabinet testing protocols should address, at a minimum.
The rules that apply to external containment equipment apply to all work performed in a biosafety cabinet in order to attain biosafety cabinet certification. Biosafety cabinets are not substitutes for a chemical fume hood and toxic and volatile chemicals are not allowed inside. Room traffic has to be planned to ensure minimum disruption and exposure. No open flames of any sort. Training is performed by laboratory staff for all personnel who might enter the biosafety cabinet.
Gloves and personal protective equipment and clothing must be work at all times per the guidelines for biosafety cabinet classification. When possible, a “double-glove” arrangement is preferred.
All intake grills must remain clear of any equipment, materials, supplies or debris, and all materials, including aerosol generating equipment, must be stored in the back of the unit, but away from the rear grill. Workflow should always go from clean to contaminated across work surfaces.
Move slowly and allow one minute for air currents to settle before beginning work. Avoid placing anything on grillwork. Decontaminate surfaces before and after work as well as after a spill. Ensure that all necessary disinfectant agents are located within the cabinet and keep the total number of items inside to a minimum.
Cabinet size should be determined by performing risk assessments of Risk Group 1 – 4 agents, radionuclides and volatile toxic chemicals as well as product and environmental contamination. All biosafety cabinets have to have current safety certification.
UV lights and spills have their own protocols. The only way to ensure a biosafety cabinet’s integrity is up to specification is to routinely perform biosafety cabinet testing
. Work should be halted or not commenced if there are questions about adherence to the guidelines at any point in time.