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The right way to Use a Fume Hood: 10 High Security Ideas


Small bottle; large odor!

Pungent chemical substances are an important reminder of why we should always work in a fume hood once we can.

Fume hoods seize harmful fumes and exhaust them safely. However provided that you utilize them accurately. So, listed here are our 10 prime tips about how you can use a fume hood.

Why Use a Fume Hood?

Risky chemical substances launch billions of molecules into the environment. And if the chemical is poisonous and we breathe it in—that’s not nice!

Keep in mind that quite a lot of our publicity to chemical substances is persistent—low ranges over a very long time.

Beta-mercaptoethanol is a good instance. It’s a smelly, poisonous lowering agent that may stink the lab out and is, when you try the protection knowledge sheet, poisonous by inhalation.

When to Use a Fume Hood? A Good Rule of Thumb

Whereas not each chemical has such a pungent reminder about the place it must be dealt with (trace: not on the bench), rule of thumb is to make use of your chemical fume hood each time doable and solely when you have purpose to not work inside one!

Proper, let’s get into it.

10 Tips about The right way to Use a Fume Hood

1. Examine the Strain Gauge Earlier than Beginning

Fume hoods run 24/7/365 besides throughout upkeep and disruptions to the lab ducting.

Examine the stress gauge and any alarms earlier than setting your experiment up. In any other case, working that experiment shall be no totally different than working it at your desk, on the bench, or wherever else the place you would expose everybody round you to the results of hazardous reagents.

2. Examine for Signage on the Entrance of the Hood

Signage on the entrance of a fume hood can alert us to hazard.

Search for a placard that describes whether or not or not the airflow is out of vary for work with particular gadgets, like carcinogens. In some instances, you could want to make use of a distinct hood.

Indicators may also point out if the fume hood is presently out of service or if one other experiment is working.

3. Activate the Gentle

This one sounds apparent, however it’s straightforward to overlook. Particularly in case you are solely working in your hood for a brief interval.

Having the sunshine switched on lets you see higher and keep away from accidents. For those who’re working in a fume hood, you might be possible working with chemical substances you need to keep away from spilling

So, change on the sunshine. It solely takes a second.

4. Inform Your Colleagues You Are Utilizing It

It’s widespread courtesy to offer everybody a heads-up so that individuals know if the fume hood is in use. That is significantly vital as a result of the fume hood is in excessive demand.

It’d even be a good suggestion to have a reserving calendar for the fume hood. This manner, everybody can plan their work sensibly and with out disappointment.

5. Put on Your PPE

Whether or not you’re dealing with hazardous reagents or performing one other approach like perfusions, for instance, together with the glass sash, gloves, lab coat, and goggles, assist defend towards the danger of unintended spray from saline (or formalin!) from a movement pump dialed too excessive. 

Keep in mind to select gloves applicable for what you’re employed with—they don’t all provide equal safety towards each chemical.

6. Modify the Baffles for Further Safety

Your work would possibly generate vapor merchandise which can be heavier than, as heavy, or lighter than air.

You may modify the baffles to make sure that the fume hood continues to exhaust the poisonous air contained in the hood. Try this useful information with photos from the College of California San Diego to point out how adjusting the baffles impacts airflow.

7. Take away Muddle

Too many flammable and flamable gadgets set the stage to repeat this lab accident. Whenever you run an experiment, put together your workspace with solely the important gadgets you want. Fume hoods shouldn’t be used for storage or disposal of waste supplies, so take away all the things you could have been utilizing as soon as you might be completed.

8. Set Up Your Workspace Strategically

Manage your work one thing like this:

  1. Maintain flammable reagents away from warmth sources.
  2. Maintain electricals away from water.
  3. Place giant and tall gadgets in direction of the again.
  4. Separate reagent containers from waste containers.
  5. Use bottles which have apparent variations to retailer reagents and waste.
  6. Work within the heart of the fume hood, at the very least a couple of inches from all sides.

9. Keep Good Airflow

To forestall poisonous air from settling into nooks and crannies, be certain that air can movement above, round, and below your gear.

Many items of small gear have legs to face them up above the bench. For gentle gear that doesn’t, invert a couple of take a look at tube racks or falcon tube holders side-by-side and use them as a stage.

10. Modify the Sash

The decrease the sash, the extra safety you acquire.

Be aware additionally that fume hoods act as gigantic exhausts for the constructing. When turned off for upkeep, the lab temperature would possibly rise by a number of levels. It’s nothing to be anxious about when it comes to security, but when a selected assay is temperature-sensitive, it might throw your outcomes off.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Put Your Head in It!

Lastly, one pitfall scientists make when utilizing a fume hood is working with their heads inside it. That’s one step away from taking a drag on the reagent bottles themselves.

And don’t smoke or vape in a fume hood, or you would end up with a drastic haircut.

BANG and the Hazard’s Gone!

That’s how you can use a fume hood, together with the whats and whys.

In abstract, the three greatest methods to assist guarantee your safety with a fume hood are to maintain your head exterior of it, put on your PPE, and maintain the sash lowered!

If you are right here, why not try our newbie’s information to biosafety and laminar movement cupboards? You may also make your lab safer and extra lovely by sticking up our free hazard symbols poster!

Initially printed February 2015. Reviewed and updated January 2023.

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