The key equipment used in the safe handling of biological materials are laminar flow hoods and biosafety cabinets. Both types of equipment contain high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to retain airborne particles and microorganisms.

While laminar flow hoods (LFHs) provide product protection they do not provide environment or user protection. These cabinets must never be used when working with biohazardous or toxic materials.

Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) provide user and environment protection as well as typically providing product protection. These cabinets must be used when procedures involving risk group 2 materials have the potential to produce aerosols.

In order for BSCs to provide user protection these cabinets must be used correctly. BSC operating procedures should be posted on every cabinet.

OHSE maintains records of all biosafety cabinets and laminar flow hoods on campus. We also coordinate the annual certification of these cabinets. The Public Health Agency of Canada requires that biosafety cabinets are certified annually and it is recommended that laminar flow hoods be certified every two years. If your cabinet requires certification, please contact Jason Serpa at