Biosafety Cabinets (BSCs)


Biosafety cabinets that are used with biohazardous materials must be inspected and certified annually based on NSF/ANSI 49 standards by a certified vendor. They must also be re-certified if they are moved or relocated. You can contact the Biosafety Program for recommended vendors typically used on campus. Costs associated with re-certification are the responsibility of the lab.

If your biosafety cabinet has not been certified within the past year, has been moved since its last certification, fails certification, or is otherwise not functioning properly, it must be posted with signage indicating that biohazardous work within the cabinet is prohibited.

Moving / Relocation of BSCs

BSCs must be decontaminated before they are moved or relocated. Unless otherwise approved by the Biosafety Program, decontamination must include a gaseous or vapor method performed by an approved vendor to ensure that interior components are decontaminated before transport. Laboratory personnel are not permitted to perform gaseous or vapor-based decontamination methods due to the high risk of exposure to hazardous gases or vapors. BSCs must be recertified after installation in a new location. Labs should coordinate directly with Facilities Services for assistance moving BSCs after they have been fully decontaminated. If a BSC is being decommissioned and sent to UWM Surplus, remove any biohazard labeling or signage from the cabinet after full decontamination has been completed by an approved vendor and before coordinating pick-up with UWM Surplus.

If you have questions about moving or decontaminating BSCs, contact the Biosafety Program for guidance.


Preventive Maintenance & Repairs

Autoclaves can require significant preventive maintenance due to the extreme temperatures and pressures achieved during sterilization cycles. Costs of preventive maintenance and repairs are generally the responsibility of the department that owns and operates the autoclave. The UWM Biosafety Program strongly recommends that departments schedule annual or semi-annual preventive maintenance with their autoclave vendor to minimize the financial burden and down-time of equipment breakdown due to standard use or user error.

Autoclave Use Management

All autoclaves on campus should have a single person identified as the autoclave manager. Autoclave managers are primarily responsible for ensuring appropriate use of the autoclave, including maintaining an operations manual at the autoclave, testing the autoclave using an approved spore or chemical indicator every 100 hours of operation, and maintaining autoclave operating logs. Autoclave managers will also typically be responsible for scheduling preventive maintenance & repairs as needed and may conduct training for new users. These tasks may be delegated to individual laboratories or users as appropriate, but an autoclave manager must be identified as a central point of contact for each autoclave.

If you need assistance setting up management and record-keeping procedures for your autoclave, contact the Biosafety Program for guidance and resources.

Autoclave Use Training

All individuals who use autoclaves at UWM must be properly trained in autoclave safety and use procedures. This training may be conducted at the lab level or department level, but must include hands-on training at the autoclave(s) the individual(s) may use.

The Biosafety Program also hosts an Autoclave Safety & Use training course that is available online and strongly recommended for all autoclave users. Visit the Biosafety Program’s Training webpage to access the course.

Additional resources and tips for autoclaving waste are available on the Biosafety Program’s Decontamination & Disposal webpage.