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Environmental Health and Safety

Biological Safety Cabinets

Biological safety cabinets are used at the university as a primary means of containment for working safely with infectious microorganisms. A properly certified and operational biological safety cabinet is an effective engineering control which must be used in concert with appropriate work practices, procedures and other administrative controls to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious microorganisms. The Biosafety Office can provide guidance on the selection, installation and use of biological safety cabinets.

Certification Requirements

Biological safety cabinets must be tested and certified at least annually to ensure continued proper operation. All Class II BSCs will be tested and certified in accordance with specifications in NSF Standard 49 and the manufacturer’s specifications. The NSF 49 establishes minimum requirements for materials, design, construction, and performance of biosafety cabinets that are designed to provide personnel, product, and environmental protection. The operational integrity must be validated by certification before a newly installed BSC is used and after a BSC has been repaired or relocated. After a BSC has been certified, a label will be prominently affixed to the front of the BSC, displaying the date of certification and name of the certifier.

Gas Decontamination

BSCs that have been used for work involving infectious materials must be decontaminated before HEPA filters are changed or internal repair work is done. BSCs must be decontaminated prior to decommissioning and salvaging. Before a BSC is relocated, a risk assessment considering the agents manipulated within the BSC must be performed to determine the need and method for decontamination.

Certification Vendor

The Biosafety Office manages the University’s contract for the annual certification of all biological safety cabinets.  BioTech Balancing is the approved vendor for performing the annual certification of biological safety cabinets, including any required maintenance or repairs.  You can contact the vendor directly at:

Eric Sparks
BioTech Balancing
Phone: 856-449-2226 


Biological Safety Cabinet Resources

USC Biological Safety Cabinet Program Manual [pdf]

Primary Containment: Selection, Installation and Use of Biological Safety Cabinets [pdf]

Biosafety Cabinet Placement Requirements for New Buildings and Renovations [pdf]

Working Safely in Your Biological Safety Cabinet (ESCO Posters)

Safe Use of Biological Safety Cabinets (ESCO Video)

Protection of Vacuum Systems Used in Tissue Culture Work [pdf]