June 15, 2021 / D. Jeff Burton

Coming Soon: Revised Standard on Lab Ventilation

A draft version of the recently revised and updated ANSI/ASSP Z9.5 standard on lab ventilation will soon be available for public review. The update—the first for this standard since 2012, when AIHA was the ANSI Z9 secretariat—was directed by James Coogan, chair of the Z9.5 subcommittee, which comprises sixteen highly competent professionals, many of whom are AIHA members.

The updated standard has over 150 pages, consists of ten main sections and five helpful appendices, and provides approximately 400 requirements and good practices for labs to follow. It covers all types of laboratory-related ventilation topics including management, system design, construction, hood airflow requirements, airflow testing and monitoring, special requirements for unique lab hoods (such as gloveboxes, ductless hoods, and perchloric acid hoods), supply air systems, exhaust air systems, ductwork, recirculation of exhaust air, commissioning of lab ventilation systems, reporting, training and work practices, maintenance, emergency responses, air cleaning and filtration, and appropriate air pollution control equipment.

Appendix 4 includes an audit tool to help users determine whether they are in compliance with recommended practices. Below, I’ve listed a small sampling of these practices, numbered as they appear in the new standard:

  • 3.1. Management has established a Laboratory Ventilation Management Plan (LVMP) to help ensure proper design, selection, operation, use, and maintenance of laboratory ventilation equipment.
  • 3.4. There is a system for systematically assessing the potential for hazardous chemical exposures, which applies to all spaces and devices where potential exists for over-exposure to airborne hazards.
  • 3.7. Adequate laboratory fume hoods, special purpose hoods, or other engineering controls are used when there is a possibility of employee overexposure to airborne contaminants generated by a laboratory activity.
  • 4.3.1. The average face velocity of the hood is sufficient to capture and contain the hazardous chemical emissions generated within the hood, for which the hood was selected. (Note: different velocities are recommended for different situations.)
  • 5.1.7. The air or gas exhausted from a glovebox is cleaned and discharged to the atmosphere in accordance with the general provisions of the standard and any pertinent environmental regulations.
  • 6.4.4. Each fan serving a laboratory exhaust system or used to exhaust an individual piece of laboratory equipment—for example, a laboratory chemical hood, biosafety cabinet, chemical storage, and so on—is adequately sized to provide the necessary amount of exhaust airflow in conjunction with the size, amount, and configuration of the connecting system.
  • 7.1.1. All newly installed, renovated, or modified lab ventilation systems are commissioned to verify proper performance prior to use by laboratory personnel. The commissioning process starts during design of the systems and extends through construction to verify that systems conform as specified by design and the requirements of the standard.
  • All fume hoods are tested—for example, following installation, before use, and periodically thereafter.
  • 7.3.2. Performance of lab ventilation system operation is monitored on an ongoing basis to verify the systems continue to operate as documented during commissioning.
  • 8.3. Hood users are trained in the proper operation and use of the hood prior to use.
  • 9.0. Inspection and maintenance follow a Preventive Maintenance (PM) Program developed by the user.
  • 10.2. Air-cleaning systems for laboratory exhaust systems, where required, are designed or specified by a Responsible Person to ensure that air-cleaning systems will meet the performance criteria necessary for regulatory compliance.

The updated standard is scheduled to be released June 18. Those who would like to review the new draft can contact Lauren Bauerschmidt at ASSP for more information.

Related: For information about the 2012 version of the ANSI/ASSP Z9.5 standard on laboratory ventilation, read “Flexible and User Friendly: Applying the ANSI Z9.5 Standard on Laboratory Ventilation” and “Fume Hood Performance Tests: Methods to Verify Proper Functioning” in The Synergist.

D. Jeff Burton

D. Jeff Burton, MS, PE, FAIHA (former CIH and CSP, VS), is an industrial hygiene engineer with broad experience in ventilation used for emission and exposure control. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.


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