Biosafety Cabinet Certification


  • Biological safety cabinets must be certified annually, and after installation, relocation, or maintenance (CCR Title 8, Section 5154.2).
  • The University of California has negotiated a system-wide agreement with Technical Safety Services, Inc., outlining service expectations and pricing schedules: $135 per cabinet, no travel costs.
  • The Los Angeles branch serves UCSB and a field manager may be reached at (562) 694-3626.
  • Have a purchase order number and the cabinet serial number(s) at the ready.
  • Lead times vary; technicians are out on campus once or twice a month.
  • The date that the cabinet was last certified may be found on the metal sticker on the front of the unit. 


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Biosafety Cabinet Use


  • The laminar airflow is based on the sash height and airflow through the front and back grills. For this reason, keep elbows, forearms, notes, equipment, etc., clear of the front and rear grills.
  • The intake air velocity past the sash at working height is only 100-150 linear feet per minute. It’s important to minimize foot traffic past the BSC when it’s in use; walking past a BSC is enough to disrupt the laminar air flow.
  • Move your hands straight in and out when necessary. Place a waste container in the back to one side to reduce the number of times that you take your hands in and out.
  • Work 4-6 inches inside the BSC where the laminar airflow is at its most uniform.
  • Divide the work space into clean and contaminated sides, and make sure that work flows from the clean area towards the contaminated area.
  • OSHA Fact Sheet
  • NIH Division of Technical Resources' guidelines on BSC placement


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Biosafety Level 2 Containment Work Practices


Hand Hygiene

  • Wash hands upon contact with anything potentially infectious, after work, after removing gloves and before leaving the laboratory
  • Gloves are replaced as soon as practical when contaminated, torn, punctured, or when their ability to function as a barrier is compromised

Aerosol Containment

  • Perform all procedures in a manner that minimizes splashes, the creation of droplets or aerosols
  • Perform procedures that may generate infectious aerosols in a biosafety cabinet
  • Use a mechanical pipetting devices at all times

Universal Precautions

  • Universal precautions is an approach to infection control in which you treat all human and nonhuman primate blood, tissues and body fluids as if they are potentially infectious for HIV, hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne pathogens, (Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030(b) definitions).
  • Implementing universal precautions means that you consistently adhere to
    • Hand hygiene
    • Wearing non-porous personal protective equipment as a physical barrier between you and the potentially infectious material
    • Safe work practices specific to sharps
    • Routine surface disinfection
    • Waste deactivation and disposal

Delineation of Laboratory from Non-laboratory Operations

  • Entry ways to work areas, containers of biohazardous waste, refrigerators and freezers used with potentially infectious materials must have labels with the word “BIOHAZARD” and the universal biohazard symbol in orange-red or red with lettering and symbols in a contrasting color.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses are prohibited in work areas
  • Food and drink must not be stored in laboratory refrigerators, freezers, shelves, cabinets, or bench tops that contain research material(s)
  • Transport biological agents between laboratories and campus buildings using rigid, leak-proof, double container systems that are lined with enough absorbent material to absorb liquid leaks


  • Disinfect the work area and lab equipment daily and after use
  • Use an EPA-registered, high level disinfectant for work with potential sources of bloodborne pathogens

Written Procedures

  • Standard Operating Procedures should be established for techniques, e.g., cell culturing or tissue homogenization, and equipment, e.g., fluorescence activated cell sorters or sonicators
  • Methods to prevent occupational exposures are specified by the Principal Investigator within the Biological Use Authorization


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Personal Protective Equipment


  • Long pants and closed toe shoes are required for entering and occupying a laboratory.
  • While working with, or being adjacent to hazardous materials or processes, an appropriate lab coat and safety eyewear are also required.
  • A lab coat and disposable latex or nitrile gloves are worn when working at a biological safety cabinet.
  • Safety glasses or goggles, with an accompanying face shield for handling large volumes, are worn for work outside of a biological safety cabinet.
  • Barrier lab coats that are impervious to small volumes of liquids are used for work with human blood or other infectious liquid handling procedures.
  • In case of gross contamination with infectious biological materials, lab coats are to be bagged and autoclaved prior to laundering via Mission Linen.


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Post Exposure Procedures


  1. Clean the affected area.  Wash needle sticks and cuts with soap and water, flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin with water, and irrigate eyes with clean water or sterile saline. The laboratory sink, emergency shower and eye wash stations will be used as necessary to flush affected areas with water for several minutes.
  2. Report the incident. Exposures must be reported to the PI or Lab Safety Contact immediately. Staff exposures or injuries are recorded with an Employer’s First Report: Student exposures or injuries are filed via this webpage:
  3. Seek treatment. Healthcare personnel treating exposed patients must be informed of the biological materials involved in the exposure. Employees and personnel on University pay status seek treatment at Sansum Occupational Medicine Center, 101 South Patterson Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93111, and after business hours at Sansum Urgent Care Center, 215 Pesetas Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93110. Students are to seek treatment at UCSB Student Health Services, Building 588, at El Colegio and Ocean Road, Santa Barbara CA 93117, and after business hours at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, 351 S. Patterson Avenue, Goleta CA 93117.


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Relocation Guide for Biological Safety


Packing and Transporting Biological Materials across Campus

  • Use a rigid, leak-proof, double container system
  • Containers must be readily decontaminated, i.e., not Styrofoam or cardboard
  • Seal both the inner and outer containers with Parafilm
  • Pack items to prevent breakage or leakage
  • Line the outer container with enough absorbent material to soak up the volume of liquid
  • Do not leave packages unattended
  • Label the container with the biohazard symbol and the PI/designee contact information
  • Decontaminate the outside of the primary and secondary containers, including any handles, before you exit the lab, so that you can safely doff PPE before exiting
  • Bring clean disposable gloves to unpack the container, and carry your lab coat in an unused autoclave bag

Steps to Relocating a Biosafety Cabinet

  1. Authorized personnel/researchers empty the cabinet and decontaminate interior work areas
  2. An outside vendor, Technical Safety Services, Inc., performs a decontamination procedure on the entire unit
  3. UCSB Furniture Services moves the cabinet to the new location, or into surplus
  4. The PI’s departmental staff finalizes installation 
  5. Technical Safety Services, Inc. recertifies cabinet performance


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Sharps Safety


  • Uncap needles gently so as to avoid recoil and accidental needlestick
  • Keep sharps pointed away from you
  • Do not bend, break, shear or remove needles from disposable syringes; dispose of the entire assembly as sharps waste
  • Use a one-handed technique if recapping is absolutely necessary; do not recap for disposal
  • Plan to dispose of sharps immediately after use; move the sharps waste container so that it's in position beside your bench work, as near the point of use as appropriate
  • Dispose of contaminated sharps in a single-use, unlined, disposable container that is rigid, leak proof, puncture resistant, and labeled with the biohazard symbol and “SHARPS WASTE"
  • Even safety engineered sharps must be disposed of within a rigid, lidded and labeled sharps container
  • Close the container when it is not in use
  • Do not exceed the sharps container fill line at 2/3 full
  • Non-disposable sharps are placed in a hard-walled container for transport to a processing area for decontamination
  • Broken glassware is handled with a brush and dustpan, tongs, or forceps 


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Spill Cleanup


For spills contained within a biosafety cabinet, keep the cabinet blower on. 

  1. Replace any contaminated personal protective equipment. 
  2. Obtain or prepare a fresh solution of disinfectant, e.g., 70% ethanol or 10% sodium hypochlorite (bleach). 
  3. Cover the spill with paper towels to prevent splashing and apply disinfectant to the area.
  4. Wait out 10 minutes. 
  5. Use paper towels to absorb the spill, working from the outside in; use tongs to collect the paper towels if sharps are involved.
  6. Bag the clean-up materials and disposable gloves as solid waste, then wash your hands thoroughly.

For larger spills outside of a biosafety cabinet, notify colleagues and vacate the premises for 30 minutes to allow time for aerosols to settle and for a few room air changes.  
Post a sign at the door warning of the spill and advising of the re-entry time. 
Before or upon re-entry, put on clean personal protective equipment and proceed as described above.


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Work with Biological Toxins


  • Experiments should be planned to eliminate or minimize work with dry, powdered toxin. Dry toxin must be manipulated using containment equipment such as a disposable glove bag, chemical fume hood or a biological safety cabinet.
  • Evaluate and modify experimental procedures to reduce or eliminate the possibility of aerosolizing solutions containing toxin
  • For complex operations, new workers may want to perform practice runs in which the procedures are rehearsed without active toxin
  • Work with toxins should only be done only in laboratories with controlled access and at pre-determined bench areas. When toxins are in use, the room should be clearly posted: “Toxins in Use—Authorized Personnel Only.”
  • Containers used for toxin storage should be sealed, labeled, and secured to ensure restricted access
  • Consideration should be given to requiring the presence of at least two knowledgeable individuals at all times in the laboratory for high-risk operations, e.g., manipulations with dry forms of toxins, intentional aerosol formation, and the use of hollow-bore needles in conjunction with amounts of toxin estimated to be lethal for humans

Research groups that uses toxins must augment the laboratory Chemical Hygiene Plan with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the toxin or class of toxins. The researcher should be sufficiently adept at the planned experimental procedures before working with the toxin.

SOP Components:

  • Procurement
  • Storage location and security
  • Inventory/tracking
  • Areas designated for work
  • Glove choice based on how the toxin is solubilized (aqueous buffer or organic solvent)
  • Methods to transfer liquids containing toxin
  • Deactivation methods
  • Routine decontamination of laboratory surfaces and equipment
  • Solid and liquid waste disposal procedures
  • Spill cleanup procedures


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