Microbiological safety cabinets, also known as biosafety cabinets and safety cabinets, have been designed to provide protection for those working with biohazardous or infectious materials. Here, we provide an introduction to microbiological safety cabinets which will help to give you an understanding of what they’re used for.
What types of microbiological safety cabinets are there?
There are three types of microbiological safety cabinets which are named in ‘classes’ to reflect the features of each type of cabinet. Class I offers protection to the person using the equipment and their surroundings but does not protect the material that their working with. A Class II safety cabinet protects the individual, their environment, and the material within the cabinet. A Class III microbiological safety cabinet offers the most protection and has been designed specifically for use with BSL-4 pathogenic agents.
Who should use a microbiological safety cabinet?
Microbiological safety cabinets can be used by anyone who may be exposed to dangerous aerosols or particles. There are a number of both commercial and non-commercial industries which may have the need for a safety cabinet in their workspace. This includes biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical, and defence facilities, in addition to those carrying out clinical research or using one for education purposes.
How is a microbiological safety cabinet different to a fume hood?
A microbiological safety cabinet is different to a fume hood in that it offers protection to the specific individual working with the material, the environment, and sometimes the product (depending on the class you’re using), whereas a fume hood is designed to remove chemical fumes and aerosols from the work area alone. It’s important to check that you’re using the right equipment as choosing the wrong option could have an impact on your safety.