Fume Hoods Monitoring
All fume hoods are inspected annually to ensure that the average face velocity is between 80 and 150 feet per minute when opened to 12 inches. Hoods installed after 2008 must be between 80 and 120 feet per minute. In addition to the annual certification a fume hood must have the air flow checked after maintenance work is performed (e.g. new motor, repairs, modifications), relocation, new hood installation, etc. If your fume hood does not have a sticker indicating that it has been inspected within the last year, or if it is not working properly, please contact email@example.com.
Mechanical Malfunction or Repair Requests
The unit using the hood should directly contact FCM's Client Services by completing a work request form for problems or repair requests related to the hood not operating correctly. After repairs are made RLS will recheck the hood airflow and have the unit retested and certified before it can be used again. Lab staff should not use malfunctioning fume hoods and all chemicals must be removed while the fume hood is out of service. Lab occupants should contact the academic department to check on the status of the repair.
When maintenance personnel must enter the inside of a fume hood, the fume hood user must remove all containers and thoroughly wash interior surfaces with warm soapy water (fume hood areas that are within arms reach). Call RLS if a full decontamination of the fume hood is required or needed (up into the HVAC duct work).
Laboratory Safety Equipment
Biological Safety Cabinets
Biological safety cabinets (BSCs) are used to protect personnel, products and the environment from exposure to biohazards and cross contamination. BSCs are inspected annually. To learn more about safe practices and how BSCs work, watch Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC): How it Works to Protect You from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Ductless Fume Hoods
Ductless fume hoods (DFHs) are not an acceptable alternative for traditional ventilated fume hoods because they do not offer the same level of protection to lab personnel as traditional ventilated fume hoods. They do not remove certain hazardous contaminants from the work space and may cause personnel to be exposed. In addition, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 45 explains that ductless chemical fume hoods are only applicable for use with nuisance vapors and dusts that do not present a fire or toxicity hazard. RLS does not recommend the use of DFHs for the following reasons:
- It is difficult to determine whether the filters are functioning adequately or need to be changed; thus, the potential for recirculating toxic materials into the laboratory is significant.
- In the event of a chemical spill, the hood is usually not able to contain the spilled material or the potentially high concentrations of chemical vapors.
- The face velocity of the hood is normally below 80 feet per minute.The hood is normally designed such that the air does not flow smoothly and evenly through the hood.
- Both of these characteristics make it likely for disruption of airflow or turbulence, causing unfiltered air to leak into the laboratory.
- A ductless fume hood is “designed” to be used when only one chemical is used so that the filtration and maintenance schedule can be calculated based on that specific use. When multiple chemicals are used the filter can reach saturation without anyone realizing it. In a university setting chemical use changes continually as research needs shift, exposing the filter to many chemicals and concentrations. With these variables, it is difficult to determine the filter type and to estimate the saturation point before chemical breakthrough will occur on the filter.
- Filters that are saturated with:
- Flammable chemicals can be a fire hazard
- Other chemicals may be a potential source of chemical exposure and create special handling and disposal considerations to remain compliant with environmental rules.
- Filters for ductless fume hoods must be replaced at a minimum every six months.
- Filters must be disposed as hazardous waste.
- Periodic exposure monitoring for personnel using ductless fume hoods may be necessary to assess chemical exposure.
- FDNY prohibits use with any flammable or noxious vapors. Other purposes of use must be approved by FDNY and require a variance for use.
Glove boxes are sealed containers used under either negative or positive pressure to manipulate materials providing total isolation of the contents from the outside environment. They are usually equipped with at least one pair of gloves attached to the enclosure. The user manipulates the materials inside using the gloves. Typically, a glove box has an antechamber that is used to take materials in and out of the box.They are commonly used to protect workers from hazardous materials or to protect chemicals and materials that may be sensitive to air or water vapor.
Negative pressure glove boxes are attached to the exhaust system of a building to maintain a negative pressure within. These glove boxes are used to protect workers and are used for hazardous materials such as toxic gases or pathogens. Positive pressure glove boxes are kept under pressure either by compressed air or an inert gas. Sometimes these devices are used strictly to protect the chemicals within from moisture or air to prevent degradation or to prevent a violent reaction with outside contaminates.
Regular maintenance and inspections is essential to ensure that a glove box is adequately protecting the user, the environment and/or the product/process. Routine maintenance procedures and the frequency of inspection or certification should follow the manufacturers and the standards of the American Glove Box Society. Prior to using a glovebox the user must inspect the device.
- All compressed gas cylinders must be properly secured with a chain or other suitable holder.
- Cylinders shall have a stamped-on date which certifies that the cylinder has been hydrostatically tested within the past 10 years. Return empty or non-conforming cylinders to the manufacturer.
- Empty lecturer gas cylinders that cannot go back to the vendor should be disposed as hazardous waste through RLS.
- Gas cylinders should not accumulate in hallways or block paths of egress.
- Gas Manifolds must be pressure tested to the design and specifications of the Manifold before use.
- A Safety Shower must be installed and accessible within 25 feet of any location where more than 5 gallons of corrosive acids or 5 gallons of flammable liquids are stored or used.
- All safety showers must be inspected semi-annually by the facility staff and a record maintained. Temperature of water must be tepid and be between 60F and 100F.
- Out of Service Safety Showers - Any out of service Safety Showers must be clearly marked "Out Of Service" and be reported to FCM's Client Services to have repaired immediately.
- All Safety Shower connectors installed must comply to ANSI Z.358.1.
- A Eye Wash station must be installed and accessible within 25 feet of any location where more than 5 gallons of corrosive acids or 5 gallons of flammable liquids are stored or used.
- The water temperature should be tepid between 60F to 100F and run clear.
- All Eye Wash Stations must be inspected weekly by the laboratory occupants (Principle Investigators and Lab Supervisors) and a record maintained.
- Area around the Eyewash Station must be kept clear at all times and avoid any obstructions or unsafe conditions surrounding it.
- Spray heads must be kept clean and covered with dust covers when not in use.
- The eyewash connectors must be installed in accordance with ANSI Z.358.1.
- In certain instances a laboratory location may not have available plumbing where an eyewash station is required. If that is the case a disposable eyewash station can be installed. It is discouraged as an alternative to the plumbed eyewash stations and should only be in place if no other means of installing a plumbed eyewash is feasible. Disposable eyewash stations do not comply with ANSI Z.358.1 and should not be a permanant solution. The weekly inspection checks must include checking the expiration date has not expired, ensuring the eyewash is not obstructed, bottles are not leaking or lost any fluid, and is clean and free of any dust or other contaminants preventing it from being used safely.
- Out of Service Eyewash Stations - Any out of service eyewash stations should clearly be marked "Out Of Service" and be reported to FCM's Client Services to have repaired immediately. Disposable eyewash stations must be provided by FCM's Client Services to provide safety to the laboratory personnel until the eyewash out of service has been repaired.
- Cryogenic liquids within laboratories such as Argon, Nitrogen, and Helium require close monitoring and special handling.
- PPE - Insulated Gloves, lab coat, and face shield are required for handling and dispensing any cryogenics liquids.
- Any quantities over 60 gallons (240 Liters) will require the use of an oxygen sensor in place to detect any displacement of oxygen from the area. Any battery operated sensor should be checked frequently and replaced if malfunctioning.
- All cryogenic liquids should be in open, well ventilated locations and not be located in confined spaces that will allow the gas to displace oxygen.