Criteria for Implementing Engineering Controls

The next few pages deal primarily with “engineering controls”, i.e. fume hoods, gas cabinets, glove boxes, etc. Engineering controls are considered the “first line of defense” in protecting workers. In contrast, personal protective equipment is generally considered the final defense. The Lab Standard requires that the general criteria for implementing control measures be described. PPE criteria are determined via the LHAT described above. The appropriate engineering control is often obvious, but the general criteria are noted here for the common ones. The criteria should be followed unless equivalent protection can be realized. Specific engineering controls can/should also be described in a lab’s SOPs.

Fume Hoods, Wet Benches, Gas Cabinets & Other Exhaust Ventilation

man standing at fume hood

  • When using volatile substances that present a significant inhalation hazard
  • When necessary to keep exposure levels below OSHA Permissible Exposure Limits
  • When using toxic gases, particularly when required by the CA Fire Code
  • When indicated in Standard Operating Procedures, or as indicated in Safety Data Sheets

Biosafety Cabinets

  • With laboratory operations involving biohazardous material as directed by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard
  • When stipulated by the Biohazard Use Authorization issued by the Biosafety Committee
  • When indicated in Standard Operating Procedures

Glove Boxes

  • When indicated in Standard Operating Procedures

Approved Hazardous Materials Storage Cabinets and Safety Cans

  • Whenever possible, but particularly when CA fire code volume limits are exceeded
  • When indicated in Standard Operating Procedures

Flammable Storage Refrigerators (Approved-Type)

  • When refrigerated storage of flammable materials is needed