The accreditation process begins by contacting the biosafety cabinet program office. This initial contact can be made by telephone, fax, or email.
The program office will promptly provide all of the necessary information describing the program, including application form, accreditation requirements, written and practical examination outlines, examination reference list, timing, and cost. The returned application will initiate the formal process leading to accreditation.
Completing the written and practical examinations is the first step, with most individuals initiating the written examination first. The program office will schedule the examinations, through coordination with the applicant and proctor of the examination.
The written examination can be taken locally by the individual. Generally this is coordinated through the local public library, local high school, college or university, government office, or other neutral setting. The applicant provides the program office with the name, telephone number, and address of the individual who will be the preferred proctor. NSF then determines the acceptability of the individual and location. If approved, NSF provides the examinations directly to the proctor for administering the examination. All materials are then returned to NSF for scoring.
The time limit on the written examination is 3 1/2 hours. There are 120 questions covering areas such as testing, biosafety, decontamination, cabinet design, et cetera. A minimum score of 80% is required to pass the test.
The practical examination can only be taken at specified locations. Those which are currently available for use by any interested candidate include:
For those seeking to qualify their own facility for administering the practical examination, forms that identify the minimum requirements are available from the program office.
Only NSF representatives are qualified to proctor the practical examination.
The practical examination evaluates an applicant's ability to perform all of the nine tests identified in Annex F (Field Tests) of NSF/ANSI Standard 49 Biosafety Cabinetry: Design, Construction, Performance, and Field Certification. The applicant must supply their own calibrated test equipment.
A 90% passing score is required for the HEPA Filter Leak Test (2 tests), Downflow Velocity Test, Inflow Velocity Test (3 tests), Cabinet Leak Test, Airflow Smoke Patterns Test, and Site Installation Test. A 70% passing score is required for the Noise Level Test, Vibration Test, and Lighting Intensity Test.
Following initial accreditation, individuals must annually supply equipment calibration documentation. At five year intervals individuals must become re-accredited, either through accumulation of sufficient requalification units or by re-examination.
The NSF Mark symbolizes the only third-party organization with over 50 years of commitment and service to the industry and the biological safety community. When people see the Mark, they know the individual has met the initial and continued stringent accreditation requirements of NSF, the premier, independent, not-for-profit organization for public health, safety and environmental quality standards and certification.
NSF's services offer global recognition and exposure, with worldwide operations including all fifty states, US territories, and 60 other nations. NSF also has partnerships with peer organizations in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Over 2,000 companies have come to depend on NSF for demonstrated compliance to recognized standards and to provide the uncompromised integrity of global recognition and acceptance.