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Laboratory Fume Hoods – Certification and inspection requirements

Lab personnel exposed to chemicals, solvents, and hazardous materials rely on fume hoods as a vital protective measure. OSHA fume hood certification requirements laid out in title 8 are designed to ensure that this protection is operating as expected.  


Importance of Fume Hood Testing 

Laboratories play an essential role in scientific research, experimentation, and innovation. However, working inside laboratories, especially for prolonged periods, also harbors potential hazards due to the hazardous chemicals involved. To protect people working in laboratories, chemical fume hoods are utilized as a safety shield…However, fume hoods require regular fume hood certification to verify they are functioning properly. 

Here’s the catch: fume hoods are required to be inspected regularly to ensure that they are functioning accordingly.  


Regulation Details 

The OSHA standard responsible for regulating fume hood certification is 29 CFR 1910.1450 focuses on managing occupational exposure and places emphasis on verifying effective fume hood operation through fume hood certification requirements. California’s 8 CCR 5154.1 also has fume hood annual certification requirements. Adhering to these guidelines is crucial for minimizing the risks associated with handling hazardous substances.  


Who Qualifies? 

Generally, laboratory facilities using chemical fume hoods must comply with fume hood certification requirements from OSHA. In addition, performing modifications on the fume hood and purchasing new fume hoods would require the facility to be tested and certified before these can be in operation.  Qualified facilities must subject their fume hoods to testing and certification at least annually by fume hood certification companies.  


Implementation of Fume Hood Certification and Testing 

Visual Inspection 

It is important for laboratory personnel to have a comprehensive understanding of fume hood operation and receive adequate training on their usage. Conducting regular visual inspections is necessary to prepare for the fume hood certification process and ensure hoods follow safety standards. These measures are critical for safeguarding personnel health, maintaining a safe laboratory environment, and mitigating potential risks associated with hazardous substances. Several key factors significantly influence the performance of fume hoods: 

  • Sash Position: It’s crucial to maintain the sash at the appropriate operating level, typically indicated by arrows on the frame of a fume hood. This ensures optimal airflow and containment within the hood. 
  • Equipment Placement: Avoid obstructing airflow to the rear of the hood by properly placing equipment. A clutter-free environment around the hood promotes efficient ventilation and minimizes potential airflow disruptions. 
  • Maintenance: Regular inspections are necessary to identify and address issues like leaks, maladjustments, or problems with the exhaust ducting. Prompt maintenance and repairs help sustain the hood’s functionality and safety. 
  • Proper Use: Educating users on correct practices is essential. For example, users should refrain from leaning into the hood during operation to prevent interference with airflow patterns and containment effectiveness. 


ANSI/ASHRAE 110-2016 

The ANSI/ASHRAE 110-2016 standard establishes procedures for chemical fume hood certification. This standard establishes a thorough approach for assessing the containment efficiency of several fume hood types, including conventional, bypass, auxiliary air, and variable-air-volume (VAV) hoods. The key steps used in the standard are: 

  1. Face Velocity Measurement 
  2. Smoke Visualization 
  3. Tracer Gas Test 


Steps for Compliance 

Now that we have established who qualifies for the fume hood testing as well as the procedures to be performed during the certification, how do we complete the requirements and comply with the regulation successfully? The following steps are crucial for ensuring compliance with fume hood safety standards: 

  1. Get experts from reputable fume hood certification companies near me to test and certify your hoods yearly. This ensures that hoods are functioning correctly, and meeting required safety standards. 
  2. Proper training on fume hood usage is also crucial for meeting certification requirements. This includes training on following safety protocols and guidelines during experimentation. 
  3. Implement routine visual inspections of fume hoods. Address any identified issues promptly to maintain optimal functionality and safety standards within the laboratory environment. 
  4. Ensure that you are updated with the current version of the regulations.