Carried out by, among other processes, the expansion and contraction of the lungs, the innate act of breathing can give dangerous fumes and other gaseous hazards in surrounding environments a quick means of transport into the human body, easily permeating their toxic destruction through the connection between the respiratory and circulatory systems. Because of this, in laboratory practices, just as workers need to protect themselves from hazardous solid or liquid materials by wearing adequate clothing and safety goggles, laboratory ventilation is a prime consideration for the safety of personnel and the protection of property.
The minimum requirements and best practices for laboratory ventilation systems that protect personnel from physical harm and overexposure to harmful airborne contaminants generated within laboratory settings can be found in ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z9.5-2012 – Laboratory Ventilation. This document, in effort to inform the designer of the necessary guidelines and conflicts among various criteria, as well as inform the user of information needed by designers, establishes ventilation guidelines that can be used to achieve acceptable concentrations of air contaminants.
ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z9.5-2012 – Laboratory Ventilation addresses the issue of laboratory ventilation by detailing the requirements necessary for carrying out a Laboratory Ventilation Management Plan (LVMP), which covers a wide range of components and concepts in its guidelines and specifications. This standard is intended for use by employers, architects, industrial hygienists, safety engineers, chemical hygiene officers, environmental health and safety professionals, ventilation system designers, facilities engineers, maintenance personnel, and testing and balance personnel.
A key piece of equipment in any LVMP is a laboratory fume hood. This type of device filters laboratory air by containing and exhausting air contaminants. Due to the importance of fume hoods in managing the hazardous chemicals that have found their way into the air of laboratory workspaces, OSHA 1910.1450 requires that “fume hoods and other protective equipment are functioning properly and specific measures that shall be taken to ensure proper and adequate performance of such equipment.”
Assessment of fume hood performance is addressed in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 110-2016 – Methods of Testing Performance of Laboratory Fume Hoods. This standard, which is applicable to conventional, bypass, auxiliary air, and variable-air-volume (VAV) laboratory fume hoods, covers a qualitative and quantitative test method for evaluating fume containment of laboratory fume hoods. Its procedures include ways to visualize the flow of fumes, measure the velocity of air at the face of the hood, and determine the susceptibility of any personnel to the hood through the use of a test mannequin.
ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z9.5 and ANSI/ASHRAE 110 – Laboratory Ventilation Package, a standards package, contains these two documents, ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z9.5-2012 – Laboratory Ventilation and ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 110-2016 – Methods of Testing Performance of Laboratory Fume Hoods. With this, manufacturers and other relevant parties can acquire the assortment of guidelines and specifications for both laboratory ventilation and the closely-associated standard test for fume hoods.
The ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z9.5 and ANSI/ASHRAE 110 – Laboratory Ventilation Package is available only on the ANSI Webstore.