Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs)- Classes with Examples


Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are enclosed, ventilated laboratory workspaces for safely working with materials that are or may be contaminated with pathogens requiring a defined biosafety level. BSCs provide different levels of protection for the personnel, the product, and the environment, depending on their design and operation. BSCs are classified into three classes: Class I, Class II, and Class III.

BSCs are essential equipment for many laboratories that handle biological agents, such as clinical, life science, pharmaceutical, and research laboratories. BSCs can prevent exposure to infectious aerosols and splashes that may occur during microbiological manipulations. BSCs can also maintain the sterility of the materials inside by filtering the air supply and preventing cross-contamination.

BSCs are different from laminar flow cabinets, which only provide product protection by blowing unfiltered air towards the user. BSCs are also different from fume hoods, which only provide environmental protection by exhausting air without filtering it. BSCs use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove 99.97% of particles of 0.3 microns or larger from the air entering and exiting the cabinet.

BSCs require proper installation, certification, maintenance, and operation to ensure their optimal performance and safety. BSCs also require good work practices and procedures to avoid disrupting the airflow and creating hazards. BSCs should be used in conjunction with other biosafety measures, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), standard precautions, and biosafety guidelines.

In this article, we will discuss the classes of BSCs, their features and uses, their operating procedures, their applications, their advantages and limitations, and their precautions. We will also provide some examples of BSCs from different manufacturers.