Laboratory personnel needs to set up safety measures while working in risky environments. Laboratory workers have to deal with toxic fumes, vapors and dust, and other toxic discharges. Fume hoods are a convenient appliance in this use-case scenario. They can protect by limiting exposure to hazardous emissions in various domains, from life sciences and forensics to chemistry.
Fume hoods are ventilation systems installed in laboratories. Some of the primary fume hood uses include collection, containment, and exhaustion of chemical fumes, dust, mist, and hazardous vapors. Fume hoods draw air inwards through mechanical ventilation. The user only requires inserting their hands to reduce the chances of inhalation exposure. The control system in fume hoods senses the flows and pressures in the room, ducts, and hood in and out and makes changes according to the room’s temperature, humidity, and pressurization.
To maintain lab hood safety and experience better regulation, lab technicians and supervisors must remain watchful and diligent. Here are a few tips for lab fume hood safety for laboratory employees to experience the best containment.
7 Tips for Lab Hood Safety
1. Positioning of the Hood
While positioning the lab hood safety appliances, lab engineers, managers, and designers need to consider surrounding airflow variables that could negatively impact the procedural efficiency of the system. Proximity and the number of people moving about in the room can draw contaminated air by producing counter-rotating air in the room, overcoming the face velocity of the fume hood system. The position of the hoods should be such that there is minimal traffic around the sash.
Similarly, it is also crucial to consider the location of doors and windows to avoid turbulence around the hood opening. Orientation of the opening’s direction is equally important. If something goes wrong in the fume hood, debris or hazardous material could leak from the exhaust system and damage anything placed opposite the fume hood opening.
2. Placement of the Sample
ANSI/AIHA Z9.5 industrial standards recommend placing the sample six inches away and inside the hood while experimenting or processing to minimize inhalation exposure and maximize the hood’s ability to capture harmful gasses. It is better to draw a line behind the sash and keep all chemicals and equipment behind that line. This precautionary measure will also minimize turbulence and external interference with the airflow while preventing contaminants from escaping.
3. Strategic Setup of the Workplace
Making primary considerations such as placing flammable reagents away from heat sources and electricals away from water will cover half of the safety considerations. Taller and oversized items should go at the back, and reagent containers separated from waste containers. Proper size and perceptible classification of primary waste bottles and other vessels will help evade any perplexity.
Proper lighting also holds substantial significance for more efficient lab hood safety. Having adequate lighting will help you notice gas leakages and avoid spilling and hence avoid accidents.
4. Mind the Sash
The fume hood also acts as an exhaust for the building’s ventilation system. The building’s temperature can fluctuate by several degrees when the hood is closed for maintenance. Keeping the sash closed is advisable for both safety and power efficiency purposes. Laboratories working on the variable air volume (VAV) systems, including sash sensors to control the airflow or ventilation power, can conserve energy by keeping the sash closed and minimizing the volumetric flow.
5. Avoid Storing Inside the Hood
By storing chemicals or other things, you can restrict airflow or even risk accidental spilling or mixing highly concentrated chemicals. Incompatible storage of chemicals can cause severe accidents and complications. You can incorporate proper shelving and storage cabinets appropriate for chemical storage in the lab to fulfill this need. For example, storage designed for flammable solutions can protect the substance in fire, preventing exacerbation and chances of explosion.
6. Supervision and Systematic Logging of Face Velocity
Average face velocity is the rate at which the air enters the hood through the ‘face’ or opening. Air must enter the hood at a careful yet sufficient rate with minimal disruption to maintain lab hood safety. You can ensure this through periodic testing and measurement of the hood. After considering the procedures inside the fume hood and safety measures, you can define the ideal point velocity by adjusting the exhaust blowers. Commonly this air flows at 60-100 fpm for chemistry use. Recorded face velocity data can be used as a baseline for other procedures in the future as well.
7. Protective Gear and Precautions
Lab technicians must wear personal protective gear such as lab coats, safety glasses, appropriate gloves, or even PPE kits when working around hazardous substances to prevent damage from accidents or chemical splashes. In the event of chemical contamination of skin or clothing, safety showers and eyewash stations must be readily accessible. Laboratory personnel should be aware of the use and location of fire extinguishers and blankets. First aid kits can save lives in critical conditions and therefore require to be immediately accessible for treatment.
Solutions for Laboratory Air Filtration and Fume Extraction
At Southwest Solutions Group, we offer dynamic and individualized laboratory fume hoods that work as rigorous air filtration and fume extraction systems for labs. The design flexibility allows you to choose features that will help you meet your specific needs. With chemical-resistant PVC, resin-chem, stainless steel interiors, and sash guides, our solution ensures durability and chemical resistance.
Bypass Laboratory Fume Hoods
An efficient fume removal system for laboratories undertakes continuous airflow across the work surface and exhausts potentially hazardous vapors. The bypass chemical lab exhaust has a full view sash and a double bypass, conducting exhaustion while maintaining constant face velocity regardless of the sash position. The two access panes on the interior and the exterior superstructure side panels are removable for easy access and service fixtures.
Add Air Laboratory Fume Hoods
The added air lab ventilation system helps maintain a sufficient air supply for air filtration and fume extraction for spaces with inadequate airflow. The add air lab hood introduces air through the front mount or the “add air plenum” to eliminate lab fumes. The fume hood design allows the appliance to function at face velocities ranging from 60-150 fpm. The built-in bypass system allows airflow at any sash opening position.
Variable Air Volume Fume Hoods
When used in conjunction with the VAV control system, the VAV fume hood will help reduce air consumption while maintaining a constant velocity and saving cost and energy. A lintel at the upper front restricts airflow to the front sash opening and can be varied for specific face velocity regardless of the sash position.
ADA Compliant Fume Hoods
The ADA-compliant fume hoods accommodate a safe and comfortable work environment for wheelchair operators with all the features of standard fume hoods. With an extended height of the full-framed combination horizontal/vertical sliding sash window, the ADA-compliant fume hood can be a practical workstation for standing individuals as well.
Whether it be a medical lab, forensic lab, research lab, chemical lab, university lab, or any laboratory, our modular laboratory storage solutions will ensure spacing and aesthetics along with maintaining safety. We provide all sorts of laboratory work surfaces to choose from, including epoxy resin, phenolic resin, lab-grade laminate, solid maple, stainless steel, or natural stone work surfaces.
The ultra-chemical resistant and durable lab casework surfaces incorporate Class 1/A Fire-Rated phenolic resin. Our freestanding wall storage cabinets and space-saving storage room solution will compliment workspace safety, where you can adjust, replace or reconfigure each part easily as per your specific safety and storage requirement.
Professional Designing and Planning Services
We design the most practical storage solutions for information and material management. Each solution is specifically tailored and configured to meet targeted requirements, including integrating additional accessories to provide fully functional solutions. Our professional representatives ask questions to gain critical information to design the most space-efficient, durable, and productive storage solutions for specialized needs.
One of the advantages of choosing Southwest Solutions Group® for your projects is our team of skilled and experienced professional service technicians and installers. The certified factory-trained installers periodically go through rigorous training to keep up with the latest products and safety solutions.
Storage Excellence and Workplace Safety with Southwest Solutions Group
Lab workers and supervisors are generally trained to take adequate security measures on time. But you can best prevent the accidents by adjusting the surroundings and incorporating the best possible practices. The tips mentioned here are only a few of the life-sustaining measures you can take to reduce potential mishaps.
Southwest Solutions Group is dedicated to ensuring workplace safety in different domains for individuals working in risk involving positions. We believe in safer and smarter storage. Our skilled professionals consider common work safety concerns and engulf countermeasures into each storage design. Our ingenious storage designs and safety appliances will make your workrooms, factory floors, and offices resilient and defended.
Call us at (866) 443-5670 to speak with our specialist or contact us to know more about our capabilities.