> >Last year when we have frequent alarms in two fumehoods, students would simple mute the alarm.
This is a common user strategy I have seen, often driven by the ambiguity of the alarm. In my mind, this results from poor human factors engineering. Random noises, flashing lights and face velocity readouts do not convey any information that is useful to the user of the fume hood in assessing the containment being achieved by the hood.
This is particularly problematic now that some hoods include alarms and controls that adjust for "excessive energy use", "sash too high" or "hood occupancy". Particularly in the diverse facility environment of higher education, trying to come up with a campus wide policy for how to respond to a fume hood alarm is quite a challenge. At a previous campus, we started on developing building-specific user guidelines for fume hood practices, including how to respond to alarms, but this practical approach was frustrated when we realized that the response varied from lab to lab, depending on when their hoods were installed or last renovated. Lab departments tend to think of fume hoods as lab furniture which can be moved as convenient, rather than as carefully designed engineered equipment that has building wide impacts.
So, I'm not sure what the best approach to addressing this situation is, besides for having local ventilation experts readily available to respond to random alarms and encouraging active communication between the lab workers and these experts.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional secretary at secretary**At_Symbol_Here**dchas.org
Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post