Fume hoods are a special type of equipment used for ventilation in environments that deal with toxic gases and materials. They are most commonly installed in laboratories that work with hazardous compounds and strong chemicals. The main purpose of fume hoods is to pull in harmful gases and fumes and release them outside the building or lab. Thus, fume hoods effectively protect lab materials and operators from dangerous gases and particles. They are generally installed separately from the HVAC systems in buildings.
Regular maintenance of fume hoods
Fume hoods must have an average face velocity of around 100 feet per minute. All fume hoods must be inspected regularly to ensure that the face velocity is maintained as per the desired limit. Along with that, there are many other factors that must be tested regularly, such as monitoring and alarm systems, exhaust maintenance and proper working of parts like baffles, ducts and blowers.
Since fume hoods are continuously coming in contact with hazardous substances, it can get damaged over time or the some of the harmful compounds and gases may be getting trapped in the ducts and other parts of the device.
Testing the overall parts and mechanisms of fume hoods is mandatory to make sure that all toxic materials are being ventilated properly. Fault in the mechanism can cause the harmful gases to leak into the facility which is very dangerous for the facility, equipments, and most importantly the staffs and operators.
When and how often should fume hoods be inspected
Any lab or facility must inspect the general working of fume hoods on daily basis. They must also follow industry guidelines and protocols for the installation and operation of the hoods. Apart from that, it is recommended to get the hoods tested by professionals in every few months for high level protection and proper functioning.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a regulatory body that decides the guidelines for fume hoods maintenance. As per OSHA regulations, it is important to have Ductless Fume Hoods tested by specialists tocheck if they are working at optimum standards. If all conditions are found to be safe and well-maintained, then a certification will be provided. For proper safety, it is best to have the fume hoods certified every 12 months.
At the same time, other general inspections should also be done in every three months. There are many different firms and organisations that are authorised to perform the inspection and certification of Laboratory Fume Hoods.
Be responsible, ensure the safety of lab and workers
Negligence in maintain the proper quality and functioning of fume hoods can lead to disastrous results. These devices often need to be repaired or replaced over time, so their inspection should be taken seriously. All lab operators should be trained professionally to use and maintain the fume hoods. They should also be trained to handle the fume hoods promptly in emergency scenarios such as power failure or problems in ventilation systems.
When working with harmful substances, it’s every person’s responsibility to guarantee the safety and well-being of the facility and its personnel.