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Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) are an essential component of conducting biomedical research as they are the primary means of containment when working with infectious microorganisms. For more additional information regarding BSCs, please visit the Biological Safety Manual – Chapter 09: Primary Containment for Biohazards: Selection, Installation and Use of Biological Safety Cabinets.

All BSCs at UNC-Chapel Hill are required to be certified upon installation, when moved or after repairs. BSCs also required annual re-certification if your lab works with agents that are considered by the University to be Risk Group 2 or higher, including human cell lines. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) tracks BSC certification and verifies annually during inspection that each lab is remaining up-to-date on certification. EHS will pay for certifications for new BSCs once, or for the first certifications for new principal investigators. In all other situations, the laboratory is responsible for certification and maintenance costs.

All testing, certification, and decontamination services for University research and clinical laboratories is provided by Precision Air Technology, Inc. The contact information for Precision Air is:

Precision Air Technology, Inc.
P.O. Box 46449
Raleigh, NC 27620
Phone: 919-212-1300
Email (preferred): info@precisionairtechnology.com
Fax: 801-740-3346

When contacting Precision Air for service requests, please provide the following information:

  • Contact name
  • Contact phone number/email
  • Building and room number of equipment
  • Building and office room number
  • Equipment manufacturer model
  • Equipment manufacturer serial number
  • Brief description of the service request
BSCs should be surface decontaminated following the conclusion of any biohazardous work performed inside the cabinet. The method of surface decontamination will vary between laboratories based on agent in use. As such, further details on preferred liquid decontamination methods can be located in the Laboratory Safety Plan (LSP) Schedule F.

BSCs also periodically require more stringent decontamination. This can be accomplished via gas decontamination. Gas decontamination (such as paraformaldehyde gas, hydrogen peroxide gas or chlorine dioxide) is required prior to any maintenance, prior to moving the cabinet, or following a large spill inside the BSC. This method is required to protect workers from possible contaminants that would be missed during surface contamination, as it is the only way to ensure that internal components such as the HEPA filtration system are disinfected. Due to the hazards associated with this method of decontamination, this method is not to be attempted by the laboratorians. Gas decontamination may only be performed by approved vendors. To determine if gas decontamination is required, contact EHS for a risk assessment. If it is determined that gas decontamination is required, contact Precision Air Technology for service.

In the event that a BSC must be moved, the cabinet must first be gas decontaminated. Once EHS has verified the decontamination, EHS will provide the laboratory with a Safety Clearance Form to indicate that the BSC is safe to move. Contact Facilities Services (moving services) to relocate the unit following EHS clearance. Once the BSC has been moved to its new location, it must be re-certified by Precision Air Technology prior to use. If the BSC is being disposed of, then following EHS verification that the unit is ready for move, contact University Surplus staff to pick-up the equipment.
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