Why did I receive a Fume Hood Condition Notice?
During routine testing of your fume hood, our surveyor identified conditions that present a potential hazard to the lab and its occupants. These conditions are typically the result of equipment failure or worker practice.
What should I do?
On your notice, one or more of three categories of conditions were noted. Use the explanations below for each condition cited at your hood, and make the appropriate corrections. Now would also be a good time to review the practices that created the conditions and look to implement practices that prevent these conditions.
What if the condition cited is the result of equipment malfunction?
Submit a work request to have the condition corrected with Facility Services HERE
What happens next?
EH&S will re-visit your lab in approximately three months to follow-up on the condition notice. If you would like to meet with the surveyor to review the corrections or need any help with solutions, feel free to contact us at bcalnan@uw.edu or 206-543-9510. If upon our return visit corrections have not been made to the hood, another notice will be sent to you and noted on the Laboratory Safety Dashboard for your department chair’s review.  
More information about the fume hood program including training can be found at Fume Hoods: Use, Inspection and Maintenance.  


Condition Explanations
(additional information for letter recipients)

Condition Categories

Unsafe Sash Conditions
Unsafe Hood Practices

Unsafe Sash Conditions

  • Hood left open while unattended.

You should always close your fume hood sash when unattended. This protects passersby from potential hazards, protects the lab from exposure in the event of a fume hood shut down and in the case of VAV fume hoods conserves substantial energy.

  • Hood is not able to be closed.

Your fume hood sash should always be able to be closed. Keep work and equipment at least 6” in from the sash allowing the sash to work freely. Look for opportunities to route cables and hoses under the foil or by-pass along the front of your fume hood. If your sash will not close because it is damaged, contact Facility Services to have it repaired.

  • Hood glass is obscured.

If the glass of your fume hood has become obscured as the result of splashes, acid etching explosions or other practices in your hood, take the time to clean the glass. Do not write on or tape notes, procedures, stickies’, etc., to the glass. This not only creates a visual obstruction, but paper attached to the face of the sash can be pulled into the fume hood, causing damage to the fume hood’s fan, damper or valves.

  • Hood damage or modifications.

Do not modify your fume hood by removing safety equipment such as sash stops. Fume hoods are balanced to provide worker protection at a specified sash height. Working above these sash heights can cause the fume hood to lose containment and put workers at risk. Other elements such as utility panels, baffles, and utility stems can also present a hazard if damaged or modified. If any of these conditions exist, contact Facility Services to have them replaced.

Unsafe Hood Practices

  • Hood monitor or alarm tampered with or otherwise defeated.

NEVER tamper with a fume hood monitor. It is a sensitive and expensive monitoring tool. Your monitor/alarm has been calibrated by a safety or HVAC professional. If your hood is in alarm, you are likely experiencing a flow failure or users are operating with the sash above the MAX Sash Height arrows. You should contact EH&S when your alarm sounds and we can assist having the hood repaired or in the unusual event the monitor has lost its calibration, re-calibrate your monitor.

  • Items or processes within 6" of the foil.

It is not safe to work or place items within the first 6” of your fume hood. Air turbulence caused by your body can cause vortices and eddies to develop at the face of the hood drawing hazards toward the workers breathing zone.

  • Storage of hazards in your fume hood.

Fume hoods are not intended for chemical or waste storage. While we understand the potential need for short term storage during routine processes, practices should be put in place to ensure only containers needed for current or ongoing processes are present. Compounding the problem of storing hazards in your hood is the fact that these containers can defeat your fume hoods ability to contain fumes. Store hazards in the appropriate cabinets and schedule a one time or routine waste collection in MyChem or HERE.

  • Excessive or large equipment preventing safe air flow.

Large equipment placed inside fume hoods such as ovens, incubators, centrifuges, etc. can restrict your fume hoods opening and in turn the hoods ability to contain hazardous fumes associated with your work. The most common solution for working with large equipment is raising your equipment at least 3” in a manner which allows air to flow under the equipment. In some cases, your equipment may simply be too large to be used safely in your hood. In cases where ventilation is required for safe operation of your equipment, we are happy working with you to develop ventilation solutions for your equipment other than in your fume hood.


  • Excessive chemical residue in hood?

Clean up all spills the moment they happen. Wipe down the surfaces of your fume hood routinely.

  • Cluttered: discarded glass, etc.

Any lab glass such as vials, beakers, pipettes, etc., not currently in use should be removed from your fume hood.

  • Cluttered: paper, foil, etc.

Waste paper, foil, KimWipes or unsecured pads can be drawn into the fume hood system, compromising the functionality of the fume hood and, in the case of shared systems, fume hoods in other labs. Dispose of all such debris when you are done using them.

  • Obstructions near face of hood effecting safe flow.

There should be nothing within 4’ of your fume hood opening. Items present within 4’ of the hood face can cause unstable air flow and the potential for loss of containment. Utility valves for water, gasses, etc., should not be used as storage for lab coats, goggles, heat guns, etc. Items stored here can defeat the aerodynamic design of the hood opening.


Fume Hood Program Contact

(206) 543-9510