Guidelines for Safe Fume Hood Use

Fume hoods are a category of ventilation system whose primary function is to deplete chemical fumes, gases, vapors, mists, dust, and aerosols in laboratories. They also offer a measure of protection against chemical spills, fires, and runaway reactions since they act as physical barriers between you and the lab experiments. To ensure maximum safety while using the hood, you should consider the following guidelines:

The hood is not a storage cabinet

Avoid storing any materials in the hood. However, if you have to, they should be kept in a manner that won’t interfere with airflow. You can accomplish this by installing perforated shelves in the hood and allowing at least 3-inch gaps between the equipment.

Educate the lab workers

It is crucial that owners or management train and educate lab workers about the operation of fume hoods. Being enlightened about techniques that can lower exposure to contaminants can boost the safety of staff.

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Position fans appropriately

Avoid placing fans in a way that it directs air flow across the face of the hood. That is because they can obstruct the airflow and chemical containment.

Close the hood

Ensure that you keep the hood closed except when setting up the apparatus or working within the hood. This allows you to conserve energy.

Keep some distance

Always work at least 4 to 6 inches away from the anterior edge of the sash face and keep equipment at least 9 to 12 inches away from the face.

Minimize traffic

Reduce disturbances such as pedestrian traffic or closing and opening of doors near the hood to prevent cross draft.

Bottom Line

A fume hood is a valuable asset, but the level of protection it provides depends on the manner in which it is being used. You should thus take the necessary measures and follow the guidelines to ensure that you enjoy all the benefits of a fume hood.

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