A Proper Biosafety Training Program is a Must

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A Proper Biosafety Training Program is a must

A biosafety cabinet can be an essential tool for effective laboratory work. However, it is also essential that a complete biosafety program be implemented in any laboratory that uses a biosafety cabinet. A biosafety cabinet program can help ensure that users of the cabinet and those around it stay safe and uncontaminated while work is being done.

Not implementing a program can have disastrous results. For example, just last week, an employee at the world-famous disease lab in Winnipeg was infected with a dangerous disease due to a lack of proper training and no formal safety instruction program in the lab.

The Importance of Proper Biosafety Training Program for Biosafety Cabinet Users

There are many components to a biosafety program, and one of the most important for those using a biosafety cabinet is proper routine training. The reason routine training is so crucial is that user error when operating a biosafety cabinet can have catastrophic results.

Routine training can help regularly remind both supervisors and employees of the important do’s and don’ts of safely working with a biosafety cabinet – and there are many for users to keep in mind. For example, a training program can remind users that simple things like an arm movement blocking the cabinet’s front airflow grill may result in contaminated air leaking out into the laboratory, as well as ruin the experiment inside the cabinet. It can also remind them that not working at the proper sash height may cause an imbalance of inflow and downflow velocities, resulting in contaminated air either entering the sterile work area or flowing into the laboratory. Routine training is one of the most effective ways to avoid simple user errors like those mentioned above and keep everyone safe.

Training Resources for a Proper Biosafety Training Program

If you are looking to develop the right biosafety program for your facility, one of the best resources is NuAire. NuAire is not only an expert on biosafety cabinets and their usage, but they also have a series of helpful Working Safely videos, which provide a wealth of important, easy-to-understand information about how to use a biosafety cabinet and what to keep in mind while you do so. NuAire’s videos provide instructions on all aspects of using a biosafety cabinet – from proper preparation to effective cleanup – and they are an extremely valuable tool for any lab looking to build and implement a regular training program for its biosafety cabinet users.

 

Watch Our Working Safely Videos Online →

Biosafety Cabinet Tips, Cleaning Up a Spill

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Cleaning a Spill within a Biosafety Cabinet

 

The Environmental Health and Safety Department at Iowa State University shows how to properly clean a spill in your Biosafety Cabinet.

Spills within the biosafety cabinet should be handled by removing the contaminated absorbent toweling and disposing it into a biohazard bag. Splatters onto items within the biosafety cabinet, as well as the cabinet interior, should be wiped with a towel dampened with an appropriate disinfectant. Hands should be washed whenever gloves are changed or removed.

It is also smart to spray and wipe potentially contaminated walls, work surfaces, and implements with an appropriate disinfectant. For large spills one should flood the work surface with disinfectant and allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes before absorbing and wiping clean. Always check the spill pan under the work surface and disinfect as well.

 

Biosafety Cabinet Use from Lab Safety Institute

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It might be a little dated but this video is a great learning and reminder exercise when working in your Biological Safety Cabinet. You can compare to your procedures when working in your Biosafety Cabinet and even pick up on a few things or point out what you might think is incorrect. We make some great Biosafety Cabinets designed for long lastings safety but sometimes it is only as good as its end user if you’re not using the cabinet properly.

You can see one of our old “Blue” cabinets being used :)… Like I said long lasting.

 

Why You Should Work at the Proper Sash Window Level

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Work at the Proper Biosafety Cabinet Window Sash Level

Class II Biological Safety Cabinets, or BSCs, provide vital personal, product, and environmental protections in the laboratory setting. BSCs go through a certification process to meet the NSF/ASNI 49 and/or EN 12469 standards. However operating errors can negate the carefully designed protections. Laboratory workers must operate at the proper window sash level to prevent potential contamination.

How a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet Works

Window Sash’s Airflow Impact

Biosafety cabinets have a movable or fixed window on the front that protects workers from the active work area. This is called the window sash. A cabinet’s certification will be based on having the window sash positioned at specific heights due to the potential impacts on downflow and inflow velocities. Current industry standards will provide a workable window sash height of 8, 10, or 12 inches (203, 254 or 305 mm).

Proper Window Height Notification

Most cabinet’s will have some type of notification of where the window should be placed during work activities. New cabinets and even some from the 1990’s will have a window sash alarm if not aligned properly.

 

Before a BSC leaves the NuAire factory it will go through testing that includes airflow balancing placing the workable sash height at the level you requested 8, 10, or 12 inches (203, 254 or 305 mm). A professional in the field will then certify your cabinet after installation at the window sash height you requested.

Window sash positioning is among the most vital information about biosafety cabinets and is as important as proper laboratory sterilization. The Biosafety Cabinet works to keep contaminated air from entering the work zone and into the laboratory as well as minimize cross-contamination within the work zone through unidirectional air.

The accuracy of this biosafety process depends on the cabinet maintaining a balance between inflow and downflow velocities. When working within the cabinet and not placing the cabinet’s window sash at the certified working level you compromise airflow balancing. If the inflow velocity is too strong, contaminated air can enter the sterile work area and contaminate the work. Excessive downflow velocity can push contaminated air from inside the cabinet out into the laboratory without filtering as well as create turbulent air at the work surface causing product contamination. The result of improper airflow balance can be seen below.

Improper Airflow Balance

Not working at the proper window sash height can throw off the airflow balance within a Biosafety Cabinet.

 

Potential Risks: Contaminated Air and Work Space

Unbalanced airflow velocities pose heightened risks when dealing with infectious materials that can pose serious safety risks to lab workers. However, the imbalance can also destroy complex, controlled experiment conditions such as those used in growing cell cultures.

Proper window sash positioning can reinforce worker diligence on properly interacting with the cabinet. The easy access allows the operating worker to use careful arm movements that help minimize the amount of room air that enters into the cabinet. A sash that’s positioned too high or low can leave the worker constantly reaching up and down, churning the interior air, and increasing the chance of laboratory equipment handling errors, and introducing risks of contamination and splattering.