Can I Install My Biosafety Cabinet on a Benchtop?


Certainly! Many modern biosafety cabinets (BSCs) are designed precisely as benchtop models, offering immense flexibility compared to their console counterparts, which have declined over time. If your Risk Assessment leans towards a benchtop BSC installation, perhaps due to space constraints or a need for additional storage, here's what you should know before proceeding:

Critical Considerations for Benchtop Installation:

  1. Weight Tolerance: Ensure your benchtop can handle the BSC's weight. For instance, a nominal 6-foot (1.8 meter) wide model might weigh up to 640 pounds (290 kg).
  2. Optimal Placement Still Applies: Aim for a location away from air vents, doors, personnel traffic, or other sources of air disturbances.
  3. Stay Alert to Air Disruptions: The cabinet's exhaust area is susceptible to air currents, which can affect exhaust sensors and lead to contamination.
  4. Space for Maintenance: At a minimum, a 6-inch (153 mm) space is recommended on each side of the cabinet for easy maintenance. The power cord plug must remain accessible.
  5. Ventilation and Exhaust: A minimal 6-inch (153 mm) clearance from the top of the cabinet to the ceiling is essential. For specific applications like pharmacy or microbiology, external exhaust is strongly recommended.
  6. Sealing and Setting: Position the cabinet with a 2-inch (51 mm) overhang on the bench to account for the drain valve. Once set, it is recommended to seal the BSC to the bench using RTV caulk to avoid spills from seeping underneath.
  7. Service Accessibility: Think about the serviceability of the cabinet. For example, NuAire cabinets can be serviced almost entirely from the front. Does a certifier have to access the cabinet's top, back or sides for service?
  8. User Comfort: Ensure users have space to either sit or stand comfortably. Consider investing in adjustable lab chairs if necessary.
  9. Collaboration: Always consult with your EHS office for the best course of action and your regular certifier to address any certification concerns.

Benchtop installations of Biosafety Cabinets offer both convenience and flexibility, but due consideration of the above points will ensure your lab's safety and efficiency. Remember, the key to successful installation lies in proper planning and consultation.