Do I Need a Safety Enclosure?

A chemical reaction is defined as the process of two reactants chemically changing to produce one or more products, these are commonly performed in laboratories throughout the world. Some reactions produce hazardous by-products which, if inhaled through the respiratory system, would be harmful to anyone within the surrounding area.

To prevent this, fume enclosures are commonly used in laboratories to minimise risk by effectively removing hazardous substances. This ensures a level of safety is maintained at all times, in combination with other safety equipment.

This article will look at the different types of fume enclosures and the safety requirements surrounding their use.

The main function of fume enclosure is to remove air-borne hazardous substances in the form of gases, vapours, particles, aerosols and dust. A fume enclosure should always be used if substances produced are harmful or toxic, this helps reduce risk of exposure and keeps users safe.. The most common form used is a ducted fume enclosure,  however recirculating filtered fume enclosures can also be used. Fume enclosures can also be specially adapted for specific processes including working with perchloric acid, radioisotopes, acid digestion and distillation.

Regulations around fume enclosures are outlined by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and aim to minimise or eliminate risk. A minimum face velocity (the speed at which air is drawn through the front) is required when working with different levels of toxicity, a minimum of 0.2m/s is required for storage purposes, a minimum of 0.4m/s is required when working with hazardous substances (HSG 248 – 0.5m/s for Asbestos) and a 0.7m/s minimum is requires when working with radioactive materials. Adhering to these safety requirements will help maintain a safe environment and help to comply with experiment risk assessments.

It is vital that a fume enclosure is used and maintained correctly to ensure full safety during testing & experimental work. Our enclosures are designed to allow the placement of Microscopes and Balances within the enclosure and still maintain a safe working airflow reducing the  possibility  of harmful substances entering the laboratory. During use, placing equipment at the edge of the safety  enclosures can cause turbulent air flow, all equipment should be at least 150mm from the  apertures. Finally, it is important to regularly check fume enclosures to ensure optimum performance. The British Standards state fume enclosures need to be maintained and tested at least every 14 months & if testing asbestos a DOP test is required every 6 months to test filter integrity . The following checks should be completed when testing a fume enclosure:

  • check the conditions of the fume enclosure and test all alarms and controls
  • conduct a full face velocity test
  • check the fan condition and functionality
  • perform a HEPA integrity test

The Waysafe range of safety enclosures is manufactured by Solotec Scientific, delivering high-quality laboratory safety equipment to customers both within the UK and internationally. Solotec Scientific has been designing and manufacturing bench top safety enclosures since 1991, offering a wide range of products from it’s facilities in Greater Manchester. Waysafe products are made to order in the UK by a team of skilled and experienced engineers, helping to deliver bespoke enclosures to meet your unique specifications at highly competitive prices.

Waysafe safety enclosures are used in a variety of research and hospital applications within a number of industries including the food, asbestos, chemical, life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors. Waysafe also has a wide stock of replacement filters, motors and accessories for a range of models, all ready for immediate dispatch and can be ordered from our online store.

The team at Waysafe are always available to discuss your specific requirements and are committed to providing the best in bench top safety enclosures.

If you would like to find out more about Waysafe’s range of safety enclosures, contact a member of the Waysafe team on 0161 339 6187.