> >If possible, I'd keep it simple. I feel that's the best way in the long run. We installed these complex hood systems (to go with a nice ERU system) - but unfortunately they do require maintenance, and our University is not willing to call in a guy when a hood goes out (they want us to accumulate these things to make the call more worthwhile).
This is an ongoing concern that I have with both emergency equipment (eyewashes and safety showers) and lab ventilation system. The trend of "standards creep" which adds more and more specifications and alarms to basic lab equipment such as fume hoods has made them significantly harder to use and more confusing to the people they are supposed to serve. I routinely see situations where fume hood "features" and other ventilation innovations have been disabled by lab occupants to avoid alarm distractions, sudden temperature changes, or inconvenience as they work. And often what the lab occupants are trying to address go beyond distractions or inconvenience to new hazards imposed by designers unaware of how laboratory work flows occur in real life.
In my opinison, given the staff turnover associated with many (all academic) laboratories, maintaining a "trained" workforce for each piece of equipment they may (or may not) need to use in their laboratory career is not a reasonable design approach.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College
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