Buying laboratory furniture can be a meticulous task. This is for the fact that appropriate and functional furniture is an important part of any well-designed laboratory. There are many companies that manufacture and sell lab furniture. However, though the availability of laboratory furniture is vast, picking lab furniture for a specific laboratory is not that easy. It is not as easy as just picking a stool or a lab bench. There are many considerations that should be kept in mind when purchasing laboratory furniture. To begin with, you need to go to a preferred and reputable supplier. The supplier should be able to discuss with you what they offer and you need to provide them with information about your needs.
After you have discussed your needs with a preferred laboratory furniture supplier, they should then prepare a formal written proposal or quotation. It is essential that you feed the supplier as much information as possible about your requirements and if possible, set a deadline for the delivery of your laboratory furniture. But before you do this, make sure to consider some of the most important things:
- The specific type of laboratory furniture that is suitable for your laboratory.
- Think about the functions that your laboratory will perform.
- Know some extras that can be offered by the suppliers.
Below is some essential laboratory furniture that is commonly included in a lab. And most likely, your lab will need them also.
Laboratory benches – This laboratory furniture is necessary and is a must-have for labs. A well-working lab needs to have several pieces of lab benches. Not only that they will provide ergonomics for the users, but will complete the lab’s total functionality.
Laboratory stools – Lab stools are the key components of a laboratory. The size of the lab, the number of lab technicians, and the lab equipment greatly influence the functionality of the lab. With well-designed laboratory furniture like stools that require less space, people will find it easy to move around.
There are many other pieces of furniture that you might need and in order to get the best ones that will suit your lab, it is essential that you choose a trusted furniture supplier. They sure will provide you with a checklist of furniture that you might need and even give you great discounts. More than that, they too can assist you with the delivery as well as the setup or installation of your chosen furniture.
Above all these, the most helpful advice is to consider the safety of the furniture. It should complement the safety features of your lab design. Aside from safety issues, it too should go along well with the adaptability and flexibility of the lab. If you have all the means to afford new furniture, that will be great, but if you are somewhat working on a budget, you still can get high-end, but slightly used furniture. However, if you go for used lab furniture, make sure that they are still in mint condition and can accommodate the needs of your lab.
TYPES OF FUME HOODS AND SAFETY TIPS
Fume hoods are laboratory accessories that prevent workers from being exposed to hazardous and dangerous fumes while working on them. In the early days, they were made of wood. Today, they are made of mild steel coated with epoxy. The change in construction and style has been introduced to make them safer for laboratory safety showers workers. There are two main types of hoods, the ducted and the re-circulating ones. In both units, the air is drawn in from the front of the cabinet by use of a fan, and either expelled outside the building or filtered and then fed back to the workplace.
RE-CIRCULATING FUME HOODS
This type of hood is used for educational purposes, or in buildings that do not permit external ductwork to be fitted. In addition, this hood has a fan fixed on top, or below the worktop. It sucks air through the opening in front of the hood and later through a filter; the air passes through the fan and finally is fed back to the workplace. Re-circulating fume hoods or standard size fume hoods are of different sizes. Their sizes range from 4′ to 8′. However, some companies can build hoods to fit your laboratory specifications.
The main disadvantage of this type of hood is that workers working close to these fume hoods are more likely to be exposed to harmful chemicals than when using ducted fume hoods. The other health concern is that workers working near this hood are exposed to noise because the extract fan is near the workplace.
DUCTED FUME HOODS
These types of hoods are for industrial purposes. They remove air from the workspace and disperse it into the atmosphere. In order to improve indoor air quality, some labs use single-pass air handling systems, where heated or cooled air is used once and then discharged. On the other hand, labs that want to minimize energy costs usually use return air systems that provide adequate ventilation rates and appropriate working conditions.
The main advantage of this type of lab fume hood is that it enables workers to work in a safe environment by eradicating fumes from the workplace and reducing noise pollution due to the distance of the fan from the workplace. The main disadvantage is that it needs additional ductwork and therefore is more expensive. It also pollutes the atmosphere because it does not treat the fumes that disperse into the atmosphere.
SAFETY TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEALING WITH OR USING FUME HOODS
- If possible, work with less hazardous materials to reduce the chances of exposure to harmful fumes.
- Make sure that the exhaust fans of hoods are functioning properly to ensure that your workplace is free from air pollution.
- Do not place your head inside the hood to avoid exposure to harmful fumes.
- In order to minimize the cost of energy used by hoods, always close the hood sash.
- Nothing should be stored or disposed of in the hood to prevent the blockage of airflow.
To ensure that your fume hoods manage the hazards posed by chemical vapors or airborne substances, it is important to let the professionals of the companies that build the hoods, install them if you are not familiar with them.