Safe Work Practices
The health and safety of laboratory personnel and building occupants must be the primary goal of principal investigators and/or laboratory supervisors. Properly functioning chemical fume hoods help achieve this goal with respect to the hazards of chemical vapors and other harmful airborne substances. It is important to remember that a fume hood is not a storage area. Keeping equipment and chemicals unnecessarily in the hood may cause airflow blockage.
Safe Operating Procedures and Practices
- Substitute toxic chemicals with less hazardous materials whenever possible.
- Keep fume hood exhaust fans on at all times.
- Perform all work six inches inside the hood.
- Always wear appropriate PPE while working in hood.
- Never place your head inside the hood.
- Keep the hood sash closed at all times, except when working to ensure optimum containment and to minimize energy usage.
- Keep lab doors closed to ensure negative room pressure to the corridor and proper air flow into the hood.
- Do not store chemicals or equipment in the hood. Minimize the time in which you use the hood for experiments or procedures to ensure maximum hood efficiency.
- Keep the slots of the baffle free of obstruction.
- Do not use the hood as a waste disposal mechanism (e.g., for evaporation of chemicals).
- Avoid rapid movements in front of the hood including opening and closing the fume hood sash rapidly and swift arm and body movements in front of or inside the hood. These actions may increase turbulence and reduce the effectiveness of fume hood containment.
- Do not override or disable sash stops. (Costs to repair or to replace safety devices are the responsibility of the department.)
- Train and educate employees regarding specific hazards and include work methods that help reduce contaminant exposure.
- Have a general awareness of the operation of your hood and be aware of any differences in visual or audible cues that may imply a change in function.