Laboratory workers are often working in confined spaces where certain chemicals and/or fumes can be dangerous, even lethal. A qualityexhaust fume hoodcan be the first line of defense when it comes to protecting these employees from silent, but deadly, toxins. These hazards include:
- Inhalation of harmful vapors
- Fires or explosions
- Chemical or thermal burns
- Chemical absorption
Understanding how a hood functions in a protectionary manner means understanding the basics of lab fume hood construction.
The first thing a person sees on fume hoods is the sash. It is the window like part which is opened and closed on the front of the hood. It typically is constructed from shatter-proof transparent material such as specialty glass, etc. Behind it lies the body of the hood, which is encased on three sides. The body and the sash work to keep various samples, chemicals, and the like contained and restrict air flow.
Typically, at the rear of the unit is the baffles. These slotted panels draw air toward the back side of the body. The baffles can be adjusted according to the needs of the material and/or the lab employee. The exhaust duct releases the air, with any possible contaminants, safely away from the laboratory employee.
A quality fume hood manufacturer will aid you in the purchase of the best model and type for your needs. Placing too many fume hoods too close together or not supplying enough air pumps to properly dilute the contaminated air could result in inefficient functioning of the exhaust fume hoods. This along with the construction of each hood, the planning of the lab layout, and maintenance of any and all hood(s) can have a huge impact on how well they work.
Manufacturers can also help choose the right type of hood for you to maximize your safety. Not only are there hoods designed for radiological needs and various types of acids, but some of the other types include:
Portable fume hood
It is important to understand that lab fume hoods, while essential, are not completely foolproof. Some hoods just are not built to withstand every possible hazard. Some cannot withstand, for instance, an explosion, etc. It is imperative to purchase a hood designed to handle your exact needs. Never use a hood designed for another use than intended. This could result in serious injuries, costly bills and, in extreme cases, death. Proper usage is not a point to take lightly. It is the responsibility of the lab manager, the manufacturer, the sales person, the employee and everyone engaged in work in or near the hood to be utilizing the correct safety procedures called for with each type of hazardous item.
Ultimately the fume hood manufacturer of your choice should hold the safety of the lab workers in the highest regard. in fact, exhaust fume hoods are the first safety guard for laboratory employees everywhere.