Enviornomental Safety and Health

Biosafety Cabinets

Biological safety cabinets will be used primarily when working with biological hazards. The type of hood to be used will depend on the Biosafety Level of the microorganism as specified by CDC-NIH guidelines. For Biosafety Level 1 microorganisms, standard microbiological practices will provide adequate protection. However, if additional protection is desired, any class of cabinet may be used by personnel working with these microorganisms. Class I and II Biosafety Cabinets will be used for low to moderate hazard microorganisms of Biosafety Levels 2 and 3. The main difference between the two hoods is that Class II cabinets provide protection to personnel and the microorganism and Class I cabinets only provide protection to personnel. Class III Biosafety Cabinets with Glove Boxes are required when working with high hazard microorganisms at Biosafety Level 4. These cabinets are totally enclosed to provide the highest possible protection to personnel and the microorganisms. Glove boxes are required for experiments using radioactive solids that may become airborne and with other highly toxic chemicals. Decontamination of the equipment must be performed prior to use of different materials/agents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires Biosafety Cabinets, Clean Air Benches, and Glove Boxes to be inspected annually. Environmental Safety and Health oversees the inspections and repairs through a certified third party vendor. Departments will be billed for each piece of equipment that is inspected. Contact Paul Harless at pharless@umbc.edu if you have any questions or would like to schedule an inspection.