Who should you involve when you are planning on purchasing a BioSafety Cabinet?
When purchasing a BioSafety Cabinet (BSC), the decision on which model to purchase is critical. Those that have the technical knowledge, experienced laboratory managers and staff that will use the units, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) personnel should be included in this decision. This helps avoid wasted time and possibly money if the wrong unit is purchased. The day-to-day necessary functioning of the biosafety cabinet should be consulted with the lab managers, but most importantly the lab staffing who themselves will be using the unit for their research.
Your EHS personnel should be consulted to determine any risks that could arise if the proper protection is not implemented, they may also be able to provide a manufacturer that makes the biological safety cabinet that would be appropriate for your research. Your EHS team might include a Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP) and/or a Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP). These professionals are generally trained in regulatory, biocontainment, biosafety, engineering, communications, management, and public relations challenges.
What should you consider when Purchasing a BioSafety Cabinet?
In order to determine the specifications and requirements of the BSC, a risk assessment should be performed. This assessment should be executed by a CBSP or RBP and will include proper methods to contain biohazard materials, full knowledge of the BSC and testing the biosafety cabinet itself. The assessment has four main components: an exposure assessment, dose-response evaluation, hazard identification and risk management.
All hazard types (physical, biological, chemical, radiological) are tested. As well as the potency, toxicity, and quantity of the material present. This will determine processes needed for safe handling going forward. It will also determine any laboratory personnel training that is needed, PPE required, and operating procedures (including emergency procedures). The entire risk assessment is performed in order to determine the biosafety cabinet class, type, and the exhausting requirements.
Biological safety cabinets are available for a variety of applications and range in costs. When purchasing a BioSafety Cabinet, consider choosing one that is reliable, has the proper design and energy usage are a good starting point. It is also best to get input from the end users who will be using the cabinets. For instance, light reflecting into the cabinet from the sash would be problematic for researchers using the BSC and should be avoided. All available space in the cabinet should be reachable and the users sitting position needs to be comfortable when at the biosafety cabinet for long periods of time. Having a motorized adjustable base stand may seem like an expense that is unnecessary, but it can provide better productivity because it provides better ergonomics.
Better Ergonomics Equals Higher Productivity
End users performing research, while generally sitting for extended periods of time at the cabinet, could be at risk for injury due to repetitive movements from daily tasks. Having the proper seating and having a motorized adjustable base (when available) can help offset these risks and improve ergonomics. Also, investigating the noise level the BSC generates can help in limiting the impact on productivity and the general morale of the staff that work with the units.
Many units boast ergonomic designs, the validity of this can only be determined by the end user on whether this is true. Unreliable biosafety cabinets can greatly impact the productivity of your lab. When purchasing a BioSafety Cabinet, finding the correct BSC with the proper filtration is a balance between reliability for your lab and the cost the unit will be. Choosing a filtration system that is not appropriate for your labs tasks could be harmful to the end users and could increase the cost because of filter replacement.
Why you need to rely on those that have the expertise
A good reason to include lab managers or EHS personnel when purchasing a BioSafety Cabinet for your research is that many of them have extensive knowledge in dealing with suppliers and manufacturers. The external network of support teams that they have will help with choosing and installation of the BSC itself. Having the correct support team making this decision, both internally and externally, will help in minimizing laboratory downtime and maximize employee safety.
End users, lab managers, EHS and their connections to suppliers will help in this process. All are needed to make sure your lab receives and has the correct biological safety cabinet installed to suit your unique needs. For more assistance on choosing the proper biological safety cabinet for your laboratory, visit our BSC product pages or contact us today to speak with a specialist.