Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) Work Practices

  • The HEPA-filtered air curtain at the work opening provides worker protection.
  • Do not allow others to walk rapidly behind you when you are working.
  • Be aware of drafts from ventilation systems, doors, windows, fans, etc.Plan procedures carefully.
  • Ultraviolet lights are not needed if good technique is followed.
  • Start-up biosafety cabinet and decontaminate with Wescodyne or suitable disinfectant.
  • Let biosafety cabinet run at least 5 minutes to purge air in the work area.
  • Do not place items over the front or rear intake grill.
  • Work at least six inches back from the front intake grill.
  • Separate clean from contaminated items on the work surface.
  • Place clean items toward front, contaminated toward rear.
  • Minimize movement of contaminated items over clean items (work from clean to dirty).
  • Use plastic backed towels on work surface to absorb spills.
  • Minimize storage items in or near the biosafety cabinet.
  • Wash hands and arms before and after work.
  • Wear a rear tie gown with gathered/knitted cuffs.
  • Wear long sleeve nitrile or latex gloves.
  • Hold tubes, bottles, and other vessels as horizontal as possible.
  • Use disposable loops, swabs, needles, syringes, etc. whenever possible.
  • Minimize arm movements in and out of the cabinet.
  • Nothing should pass out of a cabinet until work is complete
  • Use a horizontal pipette discard pan with disinfectant such as Wescodyne.
  •  Do not use vertical pipette canisters or boxes outside a biosafety cabinet.
  • Equipment that causes turbulence (centrifuge, blender, etc.) should be placed in back 1/3 of work surface. All other work in the cabinet should stop while apparatus is running.
  • Remove contaminated items only after closed or decontaminated.
  • Do not use a flame. Heat may cause air turbulence at the work opening and may damage filters. 
  •  Decontaminate after work is complete with Wescodyne or other appropriate disinfectant.

For more information contact:

Melissa A. Morland, MS, RBP, CBSP, SM(NRCM)
Environmental Health & Safety, Biosafety Officer

Safety Alert Index