Fume Hood Safety

Chemical fume hoods can provide adequate protection for most laboratory processes if they are used correctly. Fume hoods are inspected and tested annually to assess performance standards.

The following are some "practical" tips to optimize the protection a fume hood can provide.

Work Practices and Procedures

  1. Before using a fume hood, make sure your work area is clean and uncluttered.
  2. Never use the fume hood to store chemicals and equipment between procedures.
  3. Verify the date on the inspection sticker on the fume hood. The fume hood should be inspected annually. Contact EHS for inspection.
  4. The fume hood average face velocity should be between 100-150 feet per minute.
  5. If the hood is not equipped with an air measuring device, verify adequate inward airflow by using smoke tubes or tissue paper.
  6. Do not use the fume hood if it is not working properly. Contact Facilities at x2368 if the fume hood is not working. Contact EHS to verify that it is working properly.
  7. Inspect the bypass area, airfoil, sash and access opening to verify that no air passages are blocked.
  8. Never put your head inside a fume hood.
  9. Electrical extension cords are not safe to use in a fume hood due to the danger of an explosion or fire.
  10. Large equipment must be elevated on solid blocks to maintain an airflow space of 1-2 inches above the work surface.
  11. Make sure equipment does not block the baffles at the rear of the hood.
  12. Keep all apparatus at least 6 inches inside the fume hood. The best way to maintain this distance is to mark a safety line with tape.
  13. Avoid opening and closing the sash rapidly, and avoid swift arm and body movements in front of or inside the hood. These actions may increase turbulence and reduce the effectiveness of the fume hood.
  14. Position the sash so that it acts as a shield. Keep the sash as low as possible. The inspection sticker will indicate the maximum height. Always look through the sash, not under it.
  15. If you observe defective or overheating equipment, shut off the equipment, disconnect it, close the sash, and report the problem to your supervisor.
  16. Keep chemical containers closed at all times. Use condensers, traps, or scrubbers to contain and collect waste solvents, vapors or dusts.
  17. Clean all spills immediately. Do not allow spilled liquid chemicals to evaporate.
  18. If a fire occurs inside the fume hood, immediately close the sash and activate the fire alarm, exit the room, close the door and from a safe area, contact Safety and Security to report a chemical fire.
  19. Keep fume hood exhaust on at all times.
  20. Keep the sash closed completely when the fume hood is not in use.

Fume Hood Certifications

EHS is responsible for certifying fume hoods and does this annually in August. In the meantime, if there is an issue with your fume hood and it is not functioning properly, immediately place a sign on the hood warning others not to use the equipment (ex: “Out of Service”).  After you have taken the equipment out of service, you can place a Facilities work order to have the hood evaluated or you can call the Facilities front desk at 602-2368 if the matter is urgent.