Noxious fumes in work areas

Monday, 01 September, 2003

Two recent hospital projects demonstrate that improved safety in the workplace is easily achieved by using products designed and manufactured in Australia. They installed a range of Dynaflow, Dynasafe and Syncroflow products that have a proven record of safety for their operators and provided solutions to safety issues in their new laboratories.

Safety in fume handling and extraction is a firm priority in the design and manufacture of the Dynaflow Fume Cupboard. The manufacturer, Chemical Fume Handling Equipment, is also stringent in including safeguards in the manufacturing process of its products. These considerations enabled the company to pass tough testing under the Product Compliance Program and gain the right to use the Product Certified Logo.

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) in Sydney selected the Dynaflow SCH Fume Cupboard for its new laboratory. The application called for six fume cupboards of various dimensions to accommodate low risk laboratory work more safely, and without the annoyance of unpleasant fumes, which previously were a factor when this work was carried out on a laboratory bench.

The RPA Hospital chose to improve the safe working conditions of its new laboratory by providing Dynaflow SCH Fume Cupboards that incorporate the Dynasafe Control System and the Syncroflow Sash System.

The Dynasafe Control System incorporates a remote airflow sensor and communication channel, which monitors the fume cupboard airflow. Dynasafe has built-in self-diagnostics, error reporting and an audiovisual display, which reports extraction failure. If the emergency isolator is activated it will automatically execute its emergency shutdown sequence. This will isolate the gas and power, while allowing the exhaust fan to continue operating as required by AS2243.8, AS3000 and AS2340.3-app A, thus enhancing the safety of personnel in the laboratory.

The Syncroflow Sash allows increased efficiency of air conditioning within the laboratory and improved safety conditions for operators. It achieves substantial energy cost savings due to a marked reduction in extracted conditioned air, while its boost facility provides the maximum air quantity obtainable from the extraction fan, irrespective of the sash position. This safety feature is far above those stipulated in the Australian Standards.

Syncroflow also provides an added benefit of a reduced noise level, below that of conventional exhaust systems, allowing for a higher degree of concentration in the laboratory free of an irritating and penetrating background noise.

The Children's Cancer Institute recently installed two Dynaflow 1500 Fume Cupboards in its existing laboratory and two Dynaflow 1200 Fume Cupboards in the laboratory within its new building at Randwick. All the fume cupboards were fitted with the Dynasafe Control Panel.

As this fume cupboard was to be used for procedures that included exposure to Iodine and Iron Isotopes, additional protection was incorporated for the protection of laboratory staff. Lead lining 2 mm thick was added to the inner chamber, which is moulded in one piece from chemical resistant glass reinforced plastic. The full width sump was also lead lined, giving full protection for the operator at any given time.

The extraction system is manufactured from UPVC material and for this fume cupboard a HEPA filtration housing was added. The HEPA filter efficiency is 99.99 per cent and 0.3 of a micron. This addition provides maximum protection for all levels of containment.

Although additional safety features are an option where specific chemicals require it, the aerodynamic design of all Dynaflow Fume Cupboards provides maximum containment and safety for laboratory personnel when working with most chemicals that are hazardous or noxious.

"The application called for six fume cupboards of various dimensions to accommodate low risk laboratory work more safely, and without the annoyance of unpleasant fumes."

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