Why to follow the best practices when it comes to laboratory fume hoods usage?
Practical laboratory fume Hoods usage depends on strict following of safety practices. The following points provide the necessary guidelines to ensure safety and maximum effectiveness. Always follow these procedures to keep the lab and technicians free from harmful contaminants or accidents.
Fume hoods can play an essential role in maintaining the safety of lab workers and technicians during lab activity. These devices give a safe ventilation system in a laboratory against toxic chemicals and reagents. The primary function of a lab fume hood includes exhaustion of harmful fumes, vapours, dust, gases, and aerosols. They provide a suitable shielding between the worker and an on-going chemical reaction. However, to maximise the benefits of hood functions, lab technicians need to use it properly. One must follow basic safety practices to operate the device virtually. The device will remain useless if users do not observe safety protocols.
Follow these below-mentioned practices for effective fume hood usage and adequate protection during chemical reactions.
Laboratory Fume Hoods Usage: Considerations before Use
- Before operating a lab fume hood, familiarize yourself with all the safety hazards and precautionary measures
- Always prioritize the use of protective gear like goggles, chemical suits, gloves, etc.
- Check for inspection safety stickers on fume hoods to acknowledge their safety in usage. Make sure the exhaust is in operational condition along with all the sashes, baffles, and panels are in place
- Ensure that all the nearest emergency exits, eyewash, fire extinguishers, etc. remain accessible at all times
Steps to Use Fume Hood
- Put the reactive material and equipment as far back in the fume hood to improve fume exhaustion. Placing the equipment far is also useful as it keeps the sash unblocked in case of an emergency where you need to close it immediately. An ideal distance is 6 inches or more inside a lab fume hood that prevents fumes from escaping
- Keep the lights switched on at all times
- Clean the glass immediately if any splash or spills occur
- Lower the safety shield to the height indicated by side stickers
- Do not use exterior fans near fume hoods as they may disrupt the airflow and reduce its effectiveness
- Do not lift the sash or safety glass above the optimum height unless you want to add or remove anything inside. Safety glass or sash drops to minimum height to protect a worker against splash, fumes, or explosions. Keep the sash closed after the operation and never stick your head inside
- Never use a laboratory fume hood as a storage unit for equipment, chemicals, or any other thing
- Inspect a fume hood before use to ensure uninterrupted airflow and check for uncontrolled turbulence. Have professional technicians inspect the lab fume hood and regularly certify to ensure safe operations and functions
- Keep the minimum amount of material inside a fume hood during the procedure and clear it once completed. If storage is necessary, use correct cabinets for chemicals or biological materials
- Check for filters regularly when using a ductless hood device. Clean or replace if needed as they play an essential role in the removal of fumes and particles