Laboratory hoods, also called fume hoods, play an important role in the overall safety of the laboratory and those who work there. Some may use laboratory hoods on a daily basis while others seldom or never use them, but it is important that all lab workers understand their function and the factors that may impede their performance or create a safety hazard. The main objective of this session is to teach laboratory workers about laboratory hoods, their purpose, the types, and how to use them properly. By the end of this session, trainees will be able to:
- Identify what is and is not a laboratory hood;
- Explain the purpose of lab hoods in the laboratory;
- Discuss different types of hood design;
- Explain face velocity, air flow, and sash height and their importance;
- Understand why location is an important factor in hood use;
- Outline basic safety procedures for using lab hoods;
- And finally, discuss emergency procedures for lab hoods.
Why “Laboratory Hoods” Matters:
There are a variety of regulations and standards regarding fume hoods. Some require their use as part of general ventilation requirements for the protection of workers from air contaminants. Others specify locations, recommend air flows, and outline inspection procedures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450), is designed to create a healthy work environment. It works through two basic measures:
First, it requires that workers have the information they need to understand the hazards they face in laboratory work.
Second, it requires that workers are protected from these hazards.
Appendix A of this standard is a nonmandatory section that includes National Research Council Recommendations Concerning Chemical Hygiene in Laboratories, commonly referred to as Prudent Practices.
ANSI Z9.5-2003, Laboratory Ventilation, American National Standard Institute, American Industrial Hygiene Association concerns the control of airborne contaminants. It includes chapters on performance tests, air cleaning, preventive maintenance, and work practices for laboratories as well as a suggested outline for a laboratory ventilation management plan.
The key points from this course include:
- Lab hoods are a vital part of lab safety equipment.
- Always use a hood when working with toxic or volatile chemicals or when the chemical has unknown toxicity.
- The lab hood does not replace the need for other protective clothing, such as a lab coat, gloves, and goggles.
- Inspect the hood to make sure it is both appropriate for your experiment and working properly.
- Be aware of outside factors that can affect the hood’s performance.
- Follow safety guidelines and emergency procedures for lab hoods.
- When in doubt, use the hood!