Fume Hood Inspection

Louisiana State University has approximately 1,000 fume hoods located on the main campus and various auxiliary sites.

Fume hoods are critical to the safety of researchers, faculty, and students, as they provide the primary means of preventing exposure to airborne hazardous materials in laboratories on campus. Therefore, it is extremely important that the hoods be maintained in good working order.

All laboratory fume hoods are inspected annually by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) according to requirements of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) “45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals”; and University Policy Statement 19. The State Fire Marshall’s office routinely inspects laboratory hoods to insure that annual inspection requirements have been met.

If you suspect a problem with your hood or the inspection sticker is expired (over a year from the current date), call EHS at 225-578-5645 or email: Phillip Bellan, Manager of Industrial Hygiene, Environmental Health and Safety.

Fume Hood Inspection Procedure

Per NFPA guidelines referenced above, the following items are inspected on each hood.

  • Body – The exterior and interior body/frame is examined for damage(s) that could impact safe operation.
  • Sash – The sash is examined for damage (glass breakage, sticking, etc.). Hoods requiring multiple vertical sashes are observed to determine if an adequate number of sashes are in place (usually a minimum of 3). If present, the sash alarm is tested.
  • Bench-Top – The hood bench-top should not be used for routine storage of hazardous materials if it is being used as a protective working surface. If a hood must be used for routine storage, it should be labeled appropriately and NOT be used as a protective working surface. Equipment and/or other materials on the bench-top should not block air flow into the hood.
  • Light - The hood light must be working.
  • ID Number(s) – Exhaust fan and/or equipment ID numbers are observed and recorded.
  • Face Velocity – Face velocity is tested with a calibrated flow meter to insure that it meets minimum face velocity requirements as follows.
    • 85 feet per minute (fpm) for handling extremely hazardous materials, and
    • A minimum of 50 fpm for handling any hazardous material
    • Less than 50 fpm is unacceptable.
  • Note: Hood face velocity measurements are taken with the sash fully open to insure that the OSHA recommended velocity of 100 fpm is attained when the sash is moved to various user working levels. However, a fume hood may be tested at a lower sash height, perhaps increasing the flow rate to permissible levels, if the following requirements are met:
    • A functioning airflow warning alarm is in service; or
    • A mechanical device limiting sash elevation (Sash-Stop) is installed; or
    • A warning indicator is posted to indicate sash height limitations.

Caution and Danger Warning Signs

Hoods found to have serious deficiencies are posted with warning signs to indicate usage limitations (see below). Since hood face velocity (average flow rate of air being pulled into the hood) is the primary function necessary to prevent exposure to airborne hazardous materials, insufficient face velocity most often results in warning signs being posted to limit or restrict use of the hood.

Inspection by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety has determined that this hood does not meet the university minimum standard for face velocity airflow of 85 feet per minute (fpm). 

  • This hood shall not be used for research involving extremely hazardous substances until repairs have been made, OES has been notified, and reinspection has been completed.
  • The Building Coordinator and Facility Services have been notified

Questions should be directed to EHS 

See example of Caution Sign

Caution Sign Clarification

If EHS determines the hood face velocity to be less than 85 fpm, but above 50, a "Caution" sign is posted to warn users that the face velocity does not meet requirements for handling extremely hazardous materials with a high degree of hazard.

However, the hood may still be used to handle materials that are not considered extremely hazardous (low degree of hazard) as determined by the researcher or other responsible person knowledgeable with the hazard(s).

Questions regarding the degree of hazard may be directed to EHS.   


This hood has been placed out of service by EHS. 

  • This hood shall not be used until repairs have been made, EHS has been notified, and reinspection has been completed.
  • Use of this hood will be in violation of University Statement 19, "University Environmental Health & Safety PRogram" (the OSHA Laboratory Standard and NFPA 45", and State Fire Marshall Requirements.
  • The Building Coordinator and Facility Services have been notified.

Questions should be directed to EHS.

Danger Sign Clarification

If hood face velocity is found to be less than 50 fpm, a "Danger" sign is posted to warn users that the hood has been "placed out of service"  and cannot be used for handling any hazardous material until repaired.

A  "Danger" sign may also be posted if a hood is otherwise determined unsafe for use.

Repair Procedure

Fume hood deficiencies requiring repair are reported to Facility Services through the FAMIS Work Order system and are tracked by EHS to completion. On completion of the work order, EHS re-inspects the hood to insure that all requirements are met.

Once a hood has passed inspection, a sticker is placed on the hood (usually on the frame) as shown below. The inspection date should not be expired and the face velocity should be 85 fpm or greater.

Inspection Date: _____________________
Rm #: _____________ Fan #: ___________
Avg. Face Velocity: _______________ FPM
Inspected By: _____________________
Sash: Half Full

Note: Inspection expires one (1) year from date above. Contact EHS at 225-578-5640 if date has expired.