Are you covering the Airflow grill on your Biosafety Cabinet? Here’s why you should stop right now…
The main reasons we use Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC) are to keep ourselves safe and to keep our experiments free of contamination, by separating the air inside from the outside air in the lab or workroom. The Airflow Grill on your Biosafety Cabinet plays a fundamental role in reducing contaminants exiting and entering the unit, and as a result it should never be covered. This vacuum seal’s efficiency is demonstrated in the image below, taken from an experiment using smoke.
This front Airflow Grill is located beneath the window sash that separates the lab worker from the experiment or contents inside the cabinet. Not only does one have to be conscious of blocking the Grill with larger objects and furniture, but care should also be taken from blocking the Grill with smaller objects and simpler actions, such as standing or leaning in front of the unit too closely, or carelessly resting a hand, elbow or arm on the grill.
To solve this problem, NuAire BioSafety Cabinets come with the optional feature of large and small elbow rests (image below).
In addition to elbow rest attachments, the best practice is to move hands slowly in and out of the cabinet perpendicular to the front grill, rather than sweeping an arm across the grill, to minimize disruption of the air flow. Moreover, operators should organize the work space inside the cabinet to minimize the movements they have to make with their arms.
The Airflow Grill also protects the lab worker from any possible contaminants inside the cabinet leaking out into their workspace, lab or local environment. It is, therefore, of even greater importance not to block the Grill. It is advisable to leave at least 4 inches of space in front of the cabinet, and to keep any bulky or large items to the side of the cabinet, which minimizes the chance of disrupting the airflow in to and out of the unit.
It is important to follow these steps, and to brief everyone using these BSC units on these simple rules. This will ensure the safety of everyone working in the lab, and reduce the risk of compromising the experiment inside the Biosafety Cabinet.
Read the original white paper via NuAire here: https://learn.nuaire.com/news/why-you-should-never-cover-the-airflow-grill-on-a-biosafety-cabinet