To keep the toxic fumes from the working lab area and to protect the lab technicians and the specimen from the fumes, labs are outfitted with laboratory fume hoods. The laboratory fume hoods are partially enclosed workstations that are adequately ventilated and perform the task of exhausting the fumes from the lab area. The fume hoods are mandatory safety equipment and should be installed in all labs, particularly those that deal with chemical and toxin research.
Given the fact that there are numerous features and legal standards to factor in during the purchasing process choosing the right fume hood for your lab can be challenging, here’s a list of what to consider before making a purchase.
Conduct a hazard analysis
The hazard analysis should be the first step before making any purchase. The hazard analysis procedure allows you to assess the potential risk factors in your laboratory. It entails determining which are some the probable risk factors .i.e. the commonly used chemicals and what risk factors they carry.
If your firm is not able to conduct a hazard analysis test, you can consult the Medical Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) document and perform air monitoring to determine the level of contaminants that the lab technicians and the specimen are exposed at any given time.
One way of selecting the right laboratory fume hood is having a thorough analysis of the chemical used and their effects. Aside from that, it’s important to acknowledge that lab fumes exhibit versatility regarding functionality, and uses.
For example, if your lab is mainly involved with corrosive chemicals, you might want to consider a lab hood that has been designed using an anti-corrosive material. On the other hand, if your firm specializes in working with hot particles, you might consider radioisotope hoods. All the information regarding the suitability of your equipment can be sourced from the fume hood manufacturer.
Selecting a lab fume enclosure
When selecting the laboratory fume hood enclosure, ensure that you choose a space that can offer up to 7 inches of space behind the sash. The adequate space is vital for safety purpose .i.e. for placing and removing items in the fume. Also, the fume should offer adequate space so that the stored items do not come into contact with the airfoils at the front.
In case of solvent chemicals, a bench top unit is preferred over the permanent solution for a more effective solution.
Like any other automated lab equipment, energy consumption is an important factor to consider. Among the most popular and energy efficient laboratory fume hoods are those that capitalize on the variable-air-volume (VAV) concept. These fume hoods prevent the system from drawing air when not in use, therefore saving energy.
Another option to consider is the two-speed system unit. Even though they are not as efficient as the VAV, they are cheaper and allow users to save a lot of money upfront.
Choosing the right laboratory fume hood is a crucial process. A wrong choice is not only a life-threatening choice, but can also lead to massive losses.