Fume hoods have taken the technological market by storm lately and how! This is a fundamental invention in the history of science and has been an excellent tool for many laboratories worldwide. Fumes hoods are ventilation devices used in chemical laboratories to safely release chemical fumes, harmful gases, vapors, dust particles, aerosols, and other contaminants. The fume hoods give the lab workers protection against chemical spills, accidental fires, exposure to harmful chemical fumes, and so on.
Usage of fume hoods is mandatory in laboratories which come under Biosafety Level 2,3 and 4. Most of the students who have begun their career in the scientific field might not know the usage and maintenance related aspects of a fume hood. That is, learning the basics regarding a fume hood is mandatory for everyone. Also, if you are building a new laboratory, then knowing the different aspects of having a fume hood or what is a fume hood used for. It can also help you to make the right decision regarding the correct variant of the fume hood in your lab.
What Are The Safety Measures That You Should Take While Using A Fume Hood?
Due to the lack of proper handling, these fume hoods do not function properly and can sometimes become tremendous safety hazards. It is necessary to have a fume hood safety checklist handy before, during, and after the usage of it. Also, it is better to do a 4-5minute safety inspection of the hood after its general maintenance is complete and before starting your work in the hood. Maintaining basic lab safety protocols are most important. These include keeping flammable reagents, electrical components away from the fume hood. Reagent bottles which are not required at that very moment should not be kept inside the fume hood.
How To Keep Your Fume Hood In Tip-top Shape?
The primary function of a fume hood is to maintain its suction property. You need to remember that a fume hood has similar functions compared to a chimney as it sucks the fumes up from your lab and keeps it clean. So, to keep the hood in proper condition, you should keep checking the airflow now and then. Never keep a fan or an AC pointed towards the fume hood as it will create a barrier in its airflow purposes.
It would help if you kept the surroundings of the machine clean and devoid of any effervescent or explosive chemicals, as those chemicals might create a hazard. Calling the respective service person and professional cleaning of the hood is a must every 4-5 months if you use the hood heavily. Otherwise, cleaning it once every six months is sufficient. Depending on what is a fume hood used for in your lab or how often you use it, the cleaning is variable.
How To Keep Yourself Safe While Working In The Hood?
Harmful fumes and vapors of chemicals such as formalin or DTT are dangerous for your respiratory system. This is why you should always be fully equipped before starting your work under the fume hood. Wearing safety goggles, face masks, and gloves are of utmost priority. These are also known as Personal Protective Equipment or PPE. These will protect your body parts from accidental chemical spills.
Also, always wear your lab coat to prevent your clothing from getting stained by different chemicals. Do not forget to discard the gloves and masks at their designated places after doing your work. Also, make sure to wash the lab coat at least once a week, if not more. This is for your safety, as the lab coat might have some residues of the harmful chemical compound after you have completed your work.
Make A Habit Of Turning On The Light Of Your Fume Hood While Working
Fume hoods are generally dark inside as many chemicals are light sensitive in nature. Most of the laboratory fume hoods come with lights that can be switched on for better viewing experience. It may sound obvious to switch in the morning before starting your work, but it is the thing that most people forget. You cannot switch the light on if you are working with a light-sensitive compound, but otherwise, you should.
Do Not Use Alcohol To Clean The Sash
The sash of your fume hood is the transparent glass-like cover that keeps you at a safe distance from the fumes and also lets you see the things that you are doing inside the hood. Do not clean that portion with alcohol. Always wipe it with double distilled water or a disinfectant spray. Alcohol will create a scratched surface on the sash.