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Chapter 2 - Engineering Controls

Engineering controls are considered the first line of defense in the laboratory for the reduction or elimination of the potential exposure to hazardous chemicals. Examples of engineering controls used in laboratories at Cornell include dilution ventilation, local exhaust ventilation, chemical fume hoods, glove boxes and other containment enclosures, as well as ventilated storage cabinets.

The OSHA Laboratory Standard requires that "fume hoods and other protective equipment function properly and that specific measures are taken to ensure proper and adequate performance of such equipment." General laboratory room ventilation is not adequate to provide proper protection against bench top use of hazardous chemicals. Laboratory personnel need to consider available engineering controls to protect themselves against chemical exposures before beginning any new experiment(s) involving the use of hazardous chemicals.

The proper functioning and maintenance of fume hoods and other protective equipment used in the laboratory is the responsibility of a variety of service groups. Facilities Services and Engineering, Building Coordinators, EHS, and other groups service equipment such as fire extinguishers, emergency eyewash and showers, and mechanical ventilation. Periodic inspections and maintenance by these groups ensure proper functioning and adequate performance of these important pieces of protective equipment.

However, it is the responsibility of laboratory personnel to immediately report malfunctioning protective equipment, such as fume hoods, or mechanical problems to their Building Coordinator as soon as any malfunctions are discovered.