A biological safety cabinet (BSC) is a vital piece of technology for any laboratory requiring safe working areas, free from microbiological contamination. They are utilized in a wide variety of industries, both commercial and non-commercial, and safeguard users, materials and the environment from contamination. Therefore, selecting the right BSC is crucial and, to ensure that it fulfils the needs of your laboratory, certain considerations need to be taken into account.
Making the right decision requires experience and considerable technical knowledge, so it’s important to consult with the members of staff that will be using the technology day-to-day, as well as your environmental health and safety department. Their experience will enable you to make a better informed decision for the people who will ultimately be using the product. A white paper from NuAire details the most important things to consider when choosing a new BSC, read on for an overview of the key tips.
The first action is to arrange a risk assessment. Doing so will allow you to understand the specific requirements of your applications. Performed by qualified biosafety professionals, this assessment evaluates the major hazards encountered within your laboratory and provides the information needed to select a BSC, with the features and characteristics necessary for your application.
There are many features and characteristics of a piece of technology, which will affect its usability. For example, glare from the cabinet sash can hinder visibility, but this is a factor that can often only be known through experience. Learning from this experience can provide vital information, enabling you to select a BSC that suits your laboratory’s needs.
For routine batch processing, cabinets are commonly used for extended periods of time. To facilitate easy use and prevent repetitive strain injuries over time, the perfect BSC should have an ergonomic design. This judgement requires experience and so can only truly be made by those who interact with the BSC directly.
Poor choice of BSC can have a serious impact on productivity, as unreliable equipment is liable to disrupt work flows and compromise staff safety, whilst potentially also being costly to maintain. Work volume and the needs of your application must to be taken into account to help choose a cost effective but reliable BSC.
Most technology within a laboratory is likely to require some technical support at some point within its working life, therefore it might be beneficial to consult the people who have built relationships with technical support. These relationships are valuable to help facilitate smooth troubleshooting. This is another advantage of consulting with your laboratory staff who will have experience of understanding how to best work through technical issues with support staff. Effective support maximizes employee safety and minimizes laboratory downtime.