Protecting your laboratory environment with an XPert Balance Enclosure
By Odette Nolan, Product Manager On Monday, July 16, 2012 In Articles
With rapid advancements in research, companies shoulder the constant challenge and responsibility of protecting workers who use and measure toxic agents in the ever-changing laboratory environments.
In order to minimize exposure, workers handling and weighing toxic or potent compounds must rely on industrial hygienists and environmental health and safety officers to provide guidance on safety. Many of the risks of exposure are unseen. While gowning and gloving seem obvious, the inhalation danger can be ignored. When one is using these procedural controls, it might be assumed that there is no perceived inhalation risk whatsoever—even when that might not be the case.
When the particulate is known to be a sensitizer, toxin or a teratogen.
Where the powder creates a lot of dust.
In weighing and other applications that require transfer of potent or toxic compounds, risk of exposure can be caused just by the sheer motion of opening the container. Powders are inherently affected by static charge, which can build on any insulating surface including weigh boats, spatulas, balances and even on the source container. This charge can cause the powders to jump which can cause not only errors in weighing, but present a significant cross-contamination risk.
Laboratory air is drawn into the enclosure through the sash opening, thereby protecting the user from exposure to any powders being used inside the enclosure. The air is then drawn to the back of the unit and up into the plenum. Once there, the air is pulled through a HEPA filter collecting all the harmful particulate before exiting the unit. The HEPA filter is rated 99.99% efficient at 0.3 um. It is important to understand the operation of these units in order for them to protect you.
Points of Note
Once installation and certification has been completed, the XPert Balance Enclosure is ready for use. Use proper techniques. Even the best enclosure can’t guarantee your safety when it is used incorrectly.
Do not block airflow as this will cause the air to speed up through the available openings causing turbulence and possible loss of containment.
Work at least six inches inside the enclosure. Don’t lean too far inside the enclosure.
Keep the sash down. Opening the sash can cause loss of containment.
Before removing your hands or objects from the enclosure, remain still for 10-20 seconds to allow the enclosure to purge any contaminants.
Important to use proper weighing procedures. No enclosure can ensure against poor technique.
Under normal operation the XPert Balance Enclosures require little routine maintenance. After each use, all surfaces should be wiped down with a disinfectant or cleaner. Weekly, the exterior of the unit should be wiped down to remove dust. The face velocity should be tested by a certified technician twice a year. The HEPA filter should be tested for pin-hole leaks. Lamps should checked and replaced annually if needed.
Not all XPert Balance Enclosures require external ducting, therefore some can offer additional benefits such as:
Since tempered laboratory air is not ducted out of the building, there will be lower energy consumption.
These units do not require ducting and can be considered modular because they can be easily relocated.
Balance Stability. Unlike a fume hood that runs at 100 fpm, a balance enclosure can run at a lower face velocity, 60-80 fpm. This ensures lower turbulence inside the enclosure providing a work environment better suited for analytical balances.
Quiet work environment. With a noise level as low as 48 decibels, balance enclosures can be operated with very little noise.
Proven containment verified by SafeBridge Consultants.
XPert Balance Enclosures can afford your laboratory many advantages when it comes to safety and flexibility. With their economical price tag, they provide user and environmental protection when working with toxic or potent compounds, ease of use, energy savings, venting options, and possible installation costs. Please contact Labconco for more information.