The biological safety cabinet is a device designed to control aerosols and microparticles associated with the handling of biological material, potentially toxic or infectious.
The biological safety cabinet is used for these purposes:
- Protect the worker from the risks associated with the handling of potentially infectious biological material.
- Protect the sample being analyzed so that it is not contaminated.
- Protect the environment. The correct use of the biological safety cabin is achieved by complying with the following indications that we will present below:
- Plan in advance the work that will be done in the biological safety cabinet. Determine what procedures and equipment will be used. Coordinate with the other professionals of the laboratory the time of use of the cabin, in order to avoid interruptions or unwanted traffic while it is in use.
- Turn on the cabin. Turn off the UV lamp, if it is on. Turn on the fluorescent light lamp and the cabin fan. Verify that the grilles, front and rear, are free of obstructions. Prepare the work area. Allow the cabin to run freely for at least 15 minutes.
- Wash hands and forearms with germicidal soap. Wear personal protective items: long-sleeved gown / gabacha with tight cuffs, protective glasses and mask, if the situation warrants. Prepare the interior surfaces of the cabin by applying 70% ethanol or a suitable disinfectant. Allow these to dry by the action of the air flow.
- Load and install only the materials and equipment required by the test or trial. Differentiate clean areas from dirty areas. Place the material in such a way that the dirty materials do not cross with the clean materials, nor the free circulation of internal air through the front or rear grilles is prevented.
- Start the activities. Slowly introduce your hands into the work area. Perform processes and tasks methodically and carefully; –From clean areas to potentially contaminated areas–. Keep the elements at least 10 cm behind the front grille; try to carry out the activities that could be more polluting or risky towards the bottom of the cabin work area.
- Clean the cabin, allowing air to flow freely for 3 or 5 minutes at the end of all procedures.
- Decontaminate the surface of all those materials and equipment that have been in contact with the biologically contaminated material. Apply 70% ethanol or a suitable disinfectant and allow it to dry. Lift the equipment and materials and disinfect the area under them. Cover open containers before being removed from the work area. Remove the materials as appropriate (to the incubator, to the autoclave).
- Discard gloves and other personal protection elements. Dispose of them in the manner established in the laboratory. Wash your hands with plenty of soap and water.
- Turn off the fan, the fluorescent lamp; Close the front opening and turn on the UV lamp.
Decontamination of the cabin
- Decontamination of the biological safety cabinet is an activity that must be carried out prior to carrying out maintenance work that involves opening its internal surfaces or components. Whenever it is required to carry out any of the processes indicated below, the cabin must be previously decontaminated.
- Change filters.
- Performing tests that require access to the interior or exposed surfaces of the cabin.
- Before performing certification tests when the cabin has been used with agents classified as biohazard level 2 or 3.
- Before moving the cabin to a different location.
- When there have been spills of substances with high-risk agents.