A fume cupboard or fume hood is a type of ventilation device manufactured to limit human exposure to hazardous or toxic fumes, dust and vapors in the laboratory. It is a large piece of laboratory equipment, and it is designed to accommodate work at a standing work height.
A typical fume hood can be identified by the presence or absence of a duct. The ductless version is often also referred to as the recirculating fume hood. Still, both models operate on the same principle, i.e., air is drawn inwards from the opening channel of the cabinet section of the fume hood, and passed out through either of these two mechanisms:
- Air is expelled from the fume hood outside the building through ducting to the outdoors; or
- A filtration process occurs, and the exhausted air (or gas) is filtered and sent back into the lab.
These processes perform the same function – which is, to protect the scientists in the lab from inhaling hazardous gases that may lead to severe complications when inhaled in excess.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the common safety rules and precautions to follow when using a fume hood in the lab.
Safety Rules for Using a Fume Hood in The Laboratory
It is widely accepted that “To be forewarned is to be forearmed”. Therefore, there are certain safety guidelines you should keep in mind to guarantee your maximum safety when working with a fume hood in the laboratory.
Some of these rules are:
- Avoid placing bulky objects near the sidewalls to allow for easy airflow around and within a fume hood.
- Avoid using equipment larger than the face of the hood to increase the efficiency of the fume hood.
- Ensure that only trained personnel are allowed to operate the fume hoods to reduce the occurrence of accidents or chemical splashes.
- Safety chemical gloves, lab coats, and safety glasses must be worn when working in a lab that has a functioning fume hood.
Precautions For Using a Fume Hood in the Laboratory
There are many precautions to adhere to in the laboratory. Some of the general precautions for making use of a fume hood in the lab are listed below:
- Always avoid testing flammable or highly explosive materials or chemicals in the fume hood.
- Avoid keeping plug-in wires in the fume hood. When working in the fume hood, gently move the window up and down to minimize the effects of wear and tear on the door handle.
- Avoid storing too much equipment or substances on the fume hood over a long period of time.
- At all costs, avoid placing tested substances or spilling chemical substances on the fume hood.
A fume hood is a device used for performing experiments dealing with toxic chemicals in the laboratory. Since the equipment works with very harmful chemicals, having adequate knowledge of some basic safety rules and precautionary measures will protect you from related danger or damage in the lab.