Environmental Health and Safety

Safe Science

Fume Hood Operation DOs and DON'Ts

A strong safety culture encourages all laboratory workers to place the highest priority on best practices and to raise concerns to colleagues and supervisors, including principal investigators, when they are identified or are concerned about potential safety problems.

The following excerpts from Wright State's Laboratory Safety Manual are provided as a reminder of our responsibilities for the safe operation and use of chemical fume hoods.

Review the information and seek additional information if you have any questions or concerns.

Laboratory Supervisor's Responsibilities

The laboratory supervisor or his/her designee is responsible for the following daily checks:

  • Verify that the fume hood is working satisfactorily. This can be accomplished by the reading of the magnehelic gauge or electronic display, where available.
  • Verify that the sash is working properly and used when there is potential for a reaction or fire/explosion in the hood.
  • Verify that all work is conducted within six (6) inches inside the hood.
  • Maintain a satisfactory level of housekeeping within the hood and ensure that the hood is not being used for storage purposes.
  • Ensure that the airfoil is available and installed properly.
  • Keep sources of air movement in front of the hood to a minimum.
  • Ensure that lights and all utilities inside the hood are operational. Keep the light fixture within the hood clean.

Laboratory Personnel Responsibilities

Before using a fume hood:

  • Understand how the hood works.
  • Be trained to use it properly.
  • Know the hazards of the chemical you are working with; refer to the chemical’s Safety Data Sheet if you are unsure.
  • Ensure that the hood is on.
  • Make sure that the sash is open to the proper operating level, which is usually indicated by arrows on the frame.
  • Make sure that the air gauge indicates that the air flow is within the required range.

When using a fume hood:

  • Never allow your head to enter the plane of the hood opening. For example, for vertical rising sashes, keep the sash below your face; for horizontal sliding sashes, keep the sash positioned in front of you and work around the side of the sash.
  • Use appropriate eye protection.
  • Be sure that nothing blocks the airflow through the baffles or through the baffle exhaust slots.
  • Elevate large equipment (e.g., a centrifuge) at least two inches off the base of the hood interior.
  • Keep all materials inside the hood at least six inches from the sash opening.
  • When not working in the hood, close the sash.

Additionally, the attached Infographic outlines 10 DOs and DON’Ts of Fume Hood Operation will help keep you safe in your laboratory.

Please share the information with all your lab members and refer to Wright State’s Laboratory Safety Manual for additional information.

For more information, please contact Facilities Management and Services Customer Care Center at 937-775-4444 or ehs@wright.edu.