Fume hoods are used to ensure a safe work environment. Fully understanding the importance of this piece of equipment can help laboratory employees stay safe and function properly. Fume hood safety should be taken very seriously.
- Regularly review the manufacturer’s recommended safe practices for your fume hood
- Make sure the selected enclosure is appropriate for the work you intend to do
- Minimize drafts and movement in front of the hood and locate the hood away from heavy foot traffic, doorways, and HVAC ventilation grates
- Work a minimum of 6” inside the hood
- Wipe up spills immediately
- Elevate equipment above the worksurface to not inhibit air flow
- Adjust the sash to the smallest opening possible within use. The sash glass is a physical barrier to protect the user’s breathing area
- Close the sash when the hood is unattended
- Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding routine maintenance and calibration
- Place your head or body inside the hood, the fume hoods interior should always be considered a contaminated space
- Keep your work within the first 6” of the sash or perform work outside of the sash
- Obstruct air foil or baffle as this could cause loss of containment
- Block air flow with equipment
- Use for storage, keep unneeded items to a minimum
- Keep sash wide open during use
- Remove any of the hood’s components
- Place flammable solvents near heat sources, flames, or sparks
- Use with biohazards or perchloric acid which require specialty equipment specifically designed for their use
With proper use, cleaning, and routine maintenance the chemical fume hood will prove to be a valuable safety feature in your laboratory. Consult your lab Safety Officer for a reference on what type of safety equipment is required or if you have any questions or concerns.
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