Content that belongs in Safety in Laboratories section (safety/lab)

Secondary containers

A secondary container is a catch basin or bin that can contain drips and spills of the chemicals stored inside of it.

Chemical containers

All chemical containers should be labeled with full chemical names, hazards, dates and initials:

Chemical Fume Hoods

Fume hoods are one of the most energy intensive types of equipment in alaboratory environment. Save energy by keeping the fume hood sash closed when not in use.


Safety Tip!


Biological Safety Cabinets FAQs

1. I need to treat my cell culture plates with volatile chemicals. Should I use a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) or a Fume Hood (FH) to do my work? - A Fume Hood will not protect your cells from contamination, and therefore, should not be used if you require aseptic conditions for your work (e.g., if you need to pass cells or continue an experiment in which cells must be placed back in the incubator). You could use the Fume Hood for a terminal procedure, such as RNA isolation with Trizol.

Biological Safety Cabinet Certification and Repairs

Biological Safety Cabinets must be tested periodically in order to ensure that they are working properly and providing a safe research environment. This process, known as certification, should be performed at least once a year by a specialized technician. In addition, BSCs should also be certified when leaving the factory, after repairs, and after being moved. 

How to Work Safely in a Biological Safety Cabinet

Biosafety cabinets afford the best protection and are more effective when maintained and used properly. To accomplish this goal, it is necessary that:

Classes of Biological Safety Cabinets

There are three classes of BSCs:

The Role of Biological Safety Cabinets in Research

Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs), or biosafety cabinets, are primary containment devices utilized in laboratories for the handling of biohazardous agents. They are routinely used for a wide variety of applications, such as human and animal tissue culture, bacterial and viral work, transfection or infection of cells with recombinant DNA (rDNA), clinical sample manipulation, and animal care.

Building-Specific Safety Features

Laboratory buildings vary widely across campus. It is essential for laboratory faculty, staff and students to understand the unique safety features of the building in which they work in order to prepare for an unexpected emergency.  Features to become familiar with may include emergency equipment such as:

  • Location of fire alarm pull stations 
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Sprinklers
  • Eyewash, drench hose and/or emergency shower units


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