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General Safety Practices

Biological Safety Cabinets, Chemical Fume Hoods, and other Primary Barrier Protections


All Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC) and Chemical Fume Hoods (CFH) within the Laboratory of Pathology are maintained and monitored for effectiveness by the Technical Assistance Branch of the Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) provides various services regarding certification, maintenance, repair, and decontamination of specific primary barrier equipment.

Technical Assistance Branch policies are located:

Chemical fume hoods and other ventilation systems known as local exhaust ventilation systems or LEVs (down draft tables and sinks, slot hoods, and canopy hoods) are certified when installed and on an annual basis. The certification of these systems includes inspection, verification of air flow velocities and direction, and smoke capture.  Maintenance for these units is done by NIH/ORF (301-435-8000).

Another type of primary barrier equipment is the biological safety cabinet. Most types of biological cabinets at the NIH provide product, environmental, and personnel protection. Biological safety cabinets are certified annually (every six months for pharmacy areas) according to the National Sanitation Foundation Standard/American National Standard 49 (NSF/ANSI 49), which is the accepted standard for the biological safety cabinet industry. Various field tests are performed to verify air flows, HEPA filter integrity, containment of contaminated cabinet air, and that the cabinet is safe to operate regarding other cabinet operational features. Maintenance and repair of biological safety cabinets is also provided.  To arrange for repairs or to request information on certification, contact the DOHS Technical Assistance Branch at (301) 496-3353 or (301) 496-3457.

Whenever biological safety cabinets are to be relocated or surplused, internal repairs are to be made, or when filters are to be replaced, these cabinets must be gaseous decontaminated. To arrange for decontamination contact the DOHS Technical Assistance Branch at (301) 496-3353 or (301) 496-3457.

Services are provided for other types of primary barrier equipment, such as, vertical and horizontal clean benches, cage change stations, animal racks, animal isolators, and HVAC HEPA filter banks.

The Use of Flammable Gas in a Biological Safety Cabinet

Use of Natural Gas/Bunsen Burner within a Biological Safety Cabinet

Last Updated 2/13/2012 12:40:29 PM

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