Local Exhaust Ventilation in the Arts

The Studio Arts Building (SAB) contains many different types of local exhaust ventilation controls that can be used to mitigate exposure to hazardous materials.  Which type to use depends on your process.

Spray/Paint Booth

The spray booth is used for painting and working with substances that emit hazardous fumes. The spray booth is fitted with an extraction fan that helps to remove harmful fumes and trap airborne paint particles. 

The spray booth is for use of fixative sprays. Fixed drawings should be placed near the spray booth to dry. This spray booth allows artists to do techniques such as turp washes. Water-based high volume low pressure (HVLP) system should be in place if power spraying is done in addition to spray cans. 

The off the shelf spray booth (uni-cast, modular, polyethylene unit, Laguna Pro-V Spray Booth) for water-based glaze is in the glaze room. This booth is not explosion-proof and cannot be used for volatile substances such as paint, lacquers or anything non ceramic. Always turn on the vent (including the switch and the exhaust ) before using the spray booth (see pictures below). Please refer to UMass Amherst Ceramics Studio Equipment Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) for more information. 

General Safety Procedures 

  • Only authorized and trained users are allowed to use the Booth. 
  • Everyone is responsible for housekeeping and cleaning up after themselves
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required in the booth area, including safety glasses. Specific PPE requirements depend upon what paints/finishes are being applied so staff will define required PPE. If a respirator is needed, please follow the instructions on the respiratory protection program website (https://ehs.umass.edu/respiratory-protection-program). Hearing protection is recommended for grinding. Please refer to the hearing conservation program website (https://ehs.umass.edu/hearing-conservation-program) for more information.
  • Safety glasses are required at all times in the booth working area
  • Chemical resistant gloves are required, wear appropriate clothing, and fully covered footgear
  • Work is to be done in the designated areas only
  • Aisles, doorways, and stairways near the booth are to be kept clear for safe egress
  • Start the venting unit prior to using the booth
  • Report improper functioning equipment immediately to your supervisor, and discontinue use until it is repaired and in proper working condition.
  • Powered/operating equipment may not be left unattended or plugged in without supervision
  • Materials must be properly cleaned, disposed, or stored

Activities not allowed 

  • Only authorized users may use the booth
  • The booth must not be used in a negligent manner
  • Booth safety, security, or venting systems must not be tampered with
  • Use of  open flame or tobacco products in the booth area is not permitted
  • Using tools which produce a particulate spray or sparks is not permitted
  • Eating or drinking in the booth area is not permitted
  • Appropriate PPE is required
  • Do not direct air streams at yourself or other people
  • Do not block any venting systems or disable any alarm or safety systems

Slot Hood

Slot hoods are designed to draw contaminants away from the user's breathing zone and into slot vents. They are often used in photography developing areas or for mixing dry ceramic glazes.

  • There are two slot hoods at the glaze mixing counter for glaze mixing/applications, which include: opening bags of powdered materials, weighing out chemicals in a triple beam balance, and mixing the dry powders with water. The use of slot hoods for these applications is appropriate for glaze chemicals that are in bags of 50 pounds or smaller. 
  • There are slot hoods in the instructional and advanced student darkrooms. One slot hood behind the sink is provided for toning to capture sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gases from selenium and sepia toning. Always turn on the slot hoods before beginning the toning process. In the developing darkrooms, slot hoods are built-in along the sinks in the darkroom. You should always turn on the slot hoods next to the sink on the wall before you use any developers. The slot hoods can capture the fumes away from your breathing-zone. 
  • There are three sets of slot hoods in the painting room. A slot hood is behind the dry sink on which brushes will be washed and solvents collected. One exhaust plenum is behind the drying racks. This can capture the outgas from oil painting or other materials used on the painting. The last slot hood is under the sink counter behind the waste collection barrel and a small flammable storage cabinet. It is also used for capturing off gassing. 
  • Slot hoods are used in lithography/intaglio room as well. One slot hood is used to capture the emission from the hot plate as the hot plate for fusing rosin to the plate and warming plate oil. Some other slot hoods are for counter top work such as solvent cleaning. 
  • Slot hood exhaust could also be found in the welding shop for the plasma cutting table as an additional exhaust ventilation. 

Downdraft Table

Downdraft tables are work benches with built-in ventilation to capture dust, fumes, and smoke. The table is negatively pressurized, so particles are sucked through the holes in the table away from the worker’s breathing space. There is a downdraft sanding table in the wood shop. This can be used for various hand tools such as palm sanders, sabre saws, etc. 

Snorkel/Elephant trunk/Flex duct hood 

Snorkel hoods are also called elephant trunks or flex ducts, which are connected to an exhaust system. It can only effectively capture contaminants that are very close to the inlet of the hose, typically less than a distance equal to one half of the diameter of the duct. They can extract fumes or particulates away from the user's breathing zone if used correctly. 

Users must work very close (4-6 inches away) from the end of the snorkel (the flange) in order to have appropriate capture of the fume or contaminant. Always position the snorkel/the flange very close to the source and then turn on the vents before you start working with any possible hazardous materials. 

  • In the print shop, flexible duct exhaust vents are available for litho presses. 
  • In the welding shop, flexible duct welding hoods are used for capturing fumes from oxy/acetylene welding, arc, MIG, TIG and plasma cutting over the welding table.