Biosafety Cabinets - University of Houston
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Biosafety Cabinets

The Biosafety Program maintains the inventory of all biological safety cabinets (BSCs) located on University of Houston's campuses and monitors their certification and functional status. 

Biosafety cabinets are used to provide primary containment in the laboratory when using potentially infectious materials and can also be used for manipulation of sterile cultures. BSCs must be used in Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) laboratories when aerosol-generating procedures are conducted. BSCs must also be used when a high concentration or large volumes of infectious agents are used.

BSCs are to be certified annually. Certification is conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of NSF’s International Standard No. 49, Class II (Laminar Flow) Biohazard Cabinetry. If the location of a BSC changes within nine months of certification, it may not be used until it has been recertified. Payment for recertification will be the responsibility of the PI or department.


Biosafety cabinets must be decontaminated before the following can take place: 

  • Any maintenance work requiring disassembly of the air plenum, including filter replacement
  • Cabinet recertification
  • Movement of the cabinet to a new laboratory
  • Discarding or salvaging

Certification of BSCs must be performed when the following takes place: 

  • After they are received and installed (before use with infectious materials)
  • After filter changes
  • After repairs and alterations
  • After being moved (even a few feet)
  • Annually 

Types of BSCs as defined by CDC/NIH's Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 

Class I BSC

This BSC provides personnel and environmental protection but no product protection. It is similar in function to a chemical fume hood but has a HEPA filter in the exhaust system to protect the environment.  Class I BSC are not commonly used on campus.

Class II BSC (Types A, B1, B2 and B3)

These BSCs are designed for work involving microorganisms assigned to Biosafety Levels 1, 2 and 3. These cabinets provide the microbe-free work environment necessary for cell culture propagation and may be used for nonvolatile chemotherapeutic drug preparation.


This BSC is designed for work with Biosafety Level 4 microbiological agents and provides maximum protection to the operator and the environment. Horizontal and vertical laminar-flow clean-air benches are not BSCs. They discharge HEPA filtered air across the work surface and toward the user. These devices provide only product protection.

BSC Repairs, Relocations and Removals

You must notify Biosafety when a BSC is in need of repair, relocation or removal.

The Biosafety Program will coordinate decontamination, repairs and other required services as requested and required to maintain equipment functionality.  

For specific instructions on how to properly operate your biosafety cabinet please contact the manufacturer or a contracted certifier.