Cabinets can be seen all around you, especially in your kitchen area. However, in certain workplaces, cabinets looks and has different purpose altogether than your usual kitchen cabinets. In research laboratories, industrial spaces and many other hazardous workplaces, safety cabinets are a must. There are reasons why they are specifically built for these places. If you’re looking for safety cabinet in Malaysia, there are many companies that manufacture such products.
What are they?
A safety cabinet is used to store hazardous chemical substances or compressed gas cylinders securely. But there are also safety cabinets where lab workers would handle dangerous substances. These cabinets are called biosafety cabinets.
Biological safety cabinet (BSC), is a laboratory area that is enclosed and ventilated to offer protection when working with pathogen-contaminated materials. These safety cabinets are intended to satisfy a variety of needs in industrial, clinical, pharmaceutical, and life science laboratories, ensuring that workers, the environment, and the items in use are all protected against contamination. There are various types of cabinets, each with its own set of standards for varying degrees of biosafety.
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF International) examines safety cabinets to ensure that they fulfil the basic requirements for cabinet categorization. NSF defines these standards, which consider design, structure, functionality, and field certification. To pass a field certification, cabinets are evaluated by an impartial body. Air is recirculated or expelled in different ways in different cabinets.
They must, first and foremost, satisfy three essential safety requirements:
- Reduce the fire hazards associated with combustible material storage and safeguard the items of the cabinet for a specified minimum period of time. In the case of a fire, it should protect the items kept in the cabinet from participating in the spread of fire or causing an explosion.
- Reduce the amount of vapour that is emitted into the workplace.
- Accidental spills are retained within the cabinet.
Pharmaceuticals, universities, hospitals, business, workshops, governmental organizations working with dangerous substances, and so on are only a few examples of applications and uses of safety cabinets. In other words, any location where combustible materials are stored.
Inner body, fire protection insulation, and outside body are the most common components of safety cabinets. They also include heat-triggered self-expanding seals on the doors, as well as fresh air inlets and exhaust air connection points with auto shut-off, automatic closing mechanisms for the doors in case of fire (not with gas cylinder cabinets).
Work done within a BSC, like work done on open bench tops, must be done swiftly and efficiently. The CDC advises researchers to follow best practises to reduce and control splatter and aerosol generation, such as keeping clean materials at least 12 inches (30 cm) away from aerosol-generating activities and organizing the work flow “from clean to contaminated,” to prevent contamination and the threat of workforce exposure.