Modular Laboratories

Intrinsically Safe ECON (VAV) Variable Air Volume Modular Laboratories

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Laboratory Electrical Requirements

Laboratories are designed for the installation of general-purpose electrical equipment

Laboratories special instrumentation and electrical requirements:

  • laboratories are designed with sufficient ventilation to ensure that the accumulation of flammable hydrocarbon vapor do not exceed 20 per cent LEL.
  • laboratories are designed with combustible gas detectors to monitor the presence of flammable hydrocarbon vapors and to deactivate all general-purpose electrical equipment and electrical outlets in the area, upon detection of flammable hydrocarbon vapors at or above 40 per cent LEL.
  • fume hoods are provided to contain and remove fugitive hydrocarbon emissions released in the course of handling and testing hydrocarbon samples in laboratories. Fume hoods are equipped with lights, fans and accessories, as applicable, which are rated for Class I, Division 1, Group D, electrical area classification.
  • the migration of flammable hydrocarbon vapors into laboratories from adjacent areas of higher electrical and/or fire hazard classification, i.e., sample or sample storage rooms, are prevented by an un-pierced firewall with a vapor barrier.
  • no “general purpose” receptacle, switch or other electrical device are located within 1.5 m (5 ft.) of the disposal sink;
  • ventilation exhaust fan motors are variable volume and are rated for continuous duty.
  • the area within a 1.5 m (5 ft.) radius from the face of the exhaust discharge louver and down to grade is designated a Class I, Division 1, Group D, area. The area beyond a 1.5 m (5 ft.) radius and within a 3 m (10 ft.) radius from the face of the exhaust discharge louvers and down to grade is designated a Class I, Division 2, Group D, area.

The civil/structural design of laboratory facilities include the following characteristics:

a). Laboratory areas are separated from non-laboratory areas by a firewall with a minimum 1 hr. fire endurance rating.
b). Laboratory areas are separated from other laboratory areas of equal or lower hazard classification by a firewall constructed of non-combustible or limited combustible material, with a minimum 1 hr. fire endurance rating; refer to NFPA 45: Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
c). Laboratory areas are designed with a second means of exit when an explosion hazard exists and is located such that an occurrence would block access or exit from the laboratory work area; the area of the laboratory exceeds 46.5 m2 (500 ft2); or the design requires a fume hood to be located adjacent to the primary point of exit. If required, the two exit doors will be located on opposite walls at diagonally opposite ends of the laboratory area; laboratory exit doors will be equipped with panic hardware, will be hung such that they swing outward in the direction of exit travel and will be equipped with automatic closers. Exit doors will meet the requirements of NFPA 80: Fire Doors and Windows and will have a minimum 1 hr. fire endurance rating; laboratory layout, furniture or equipment and apparatus storage will not obstruct exit doors. Fume hoods will not be located immediately adjacent to any exit; fire rated walls separating laboratories from sample rooms or areas of higher hazard classification (electrical or fire) will be vapor tight and will not be pierced by conduit, ventilation ducts or any other equipment or apparatus that might diminish the integrity of the vapor barrier. Firewalls in this application will have a 2 hr. fire endurance rating; and approved fire rated walls will bear a permanent label, indicating the fire rating of the wall for future reference and possible hazardous area reclassification.

Laboratory Equipment

Equipment provided for service in laboratories will be approved for the area classification and intended service and will bear an approval label of the authority having jurisdiction.

Storage Cabinets

Flammable and combustible liquid samples stored in laboratory units will be stored in approved storage cabinets, which satisfy all applicable requirements of NFPA 30: Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, including the following: Storage cabinet bottom, top, sides and door will be constructed of minimum No. 18 gauge steel, double wall with 38 mm (11⁄2 in.) air space between all inner and outer surfaces, including the door opening. Joints and seams will be riveted, welded or made mechanically tight by some other permanent means. Doors will be equipped with a three point locking mechanism. Doorsills will be a minimum of 51 mm (2 in.) high to contain spills. The maximum capacity of storage cabinets will not exceed 30.28 liters (8 US gal.) Storage cabinets will bear a prominently conspicuous warning label indicating: FLAMMABLE – KEEP FIRE AWAY!

Approved Containers

Flammable and combustible hydrocarbon liquid samples will be stored in Company approved containers.

Fire Protection

Fire protection for laboratories will be provided in accordance with: NFPA 30: NFPA 45: Fire Protection, Extinguishment Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals

Fire Alarm Pull Stations, Alarm Generation and Annunciation

Laboratory will be equipped with fire alarm pull stations at each point of exit from the facility. Fire alarm circuits will be designed and installed in accordance with: NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm Code. Fire alarms will be locally and remotely annunciated. Audible horns and a strobe or flashing light will warn personnel locally and will be of a sufficient size, number and location to alert all personnel on site, who may be affected by the fire hazard. Remote annunciation will be to a “constantly attended” control center.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Laboratories will be equipped with a 40-B portable fire extinguisher, located no less than 3 m (10 ft.) and no more than 9 m (30 ft.) from the point of exit from the facility.

Emergency Response Equipment

Personnel Protection – Eyewash, Shower and First Aid Kit When potential hazards exist and threaten the health and well-being of personnel, equipment will be provided to reduce the negative impact of exposure. Emergency response equipment, such as emergency showers, eyewash stations and a chemical injury first aid kit specified for the types of hazardous liquids that personnel are likely to be exposed to, will be provided.

Emergency Lighting

When gas detection, fire alarms or ventilation switches may automatically lock out, general- purpose lighting and emergency lighting will be provided.

Hazard Identification

The posting of appropriate signs will prominently and permanently identify all potential hazards present in laboratory facilities.

Fume Hoods

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Variable Air Volume System

In order to contain and control fugitive hydrocarbon vapors that are released in the course of handling and testing product samples, laboratories are equipped with fume hoods.

Fume hood design include the following features:

Intrinsically safe face velocity monitor, clear safety glass sash (vertically retractable and counter-weighted), contoured work surface for minor spill containment, integral sink for product disposal (when required), bypass, deflector vane and rear safety baffle to assist the sweeping convection pattern, stainless steel interior surfaces and fire retardant materials of constructions.

Location:

Laboratory fume hoods are located in areas of minimum air turbulence and will not be located adjacent to a single means of access to an exit or high traffic area; refer to NFPA 45: Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals, Clause 6-10: Laboratory Hood Location.

Sweep Air Supply:

The fume hood design ensures the airflow pattern provides sweep action across the floor of the hood to a baffle at the rear of the hood, which aids in distributing the flow of air moving into and through the hood. A deflector vane is located along the bottom of the hood face in order to direct incoming air across the work surface to the rear baffles. To maintain a relatively constant volume of exhaust through the hood, regardless of sash position, the hood is provided with an airflow bypass.

Comment: The location and orientation of air supply diffusers and the relative proximity of the fume hood to high traffic areas can have a detrimental effect on fume hood performance by disturbances of the laminar convection pattern and face velocity of air around the fume hood. When developing laboratory layout and fume hood location, these considerations are addressed.

Electrical Fittings – Lights and Fans:

Fume hoods are equipped with an interior light and variable air volume exhaust fan motor, rated and approved for use in a Class I, Division 1, Group D, hazardous area. The fume hood exhaust fan motor is specified for continuous duty. Switch operators for the interior light and blower motor are explosion-proof and mounted on the exterior of the fume hood. Conduit, hardware and interconnection methods comply with all requirements of a Class I, Division 1, Group D, electrical area classification. The fume hood exhaust fan motor will run continuously at “low” speed when the sash doors are closed. The switch operator shall allow personnel to increase exhaust airflow rate, while performing tests that emit vapor.

Grounding and Static Discharge Control:

The design, specification and installation of fume hoods comply with all requirements of NFPA 77: Static Electricity, NFPA 91: Exhaust Systems for Air Conveying of Materials, Clause 2-9: Protection Against Static Electricity, and include the following:
i. the fume hood and all associated exhaust ductwork will be metal and will be electrically bonded and grounded to the electrical service ground; and
ii. disposal sinks for flammable liquids will be constructed of conductive material compatible with hydrocarbons and will be grounded. A bonding strap with an appropriate “battery type” grounding clamp will be attached by lug and screw to the bare metal of the sink.

Comment: This bonding strap is required to equalize the potential electrical difference between the disposal sink and the container or conductive hose from/through which the product is dispensed. Disposal sink drain piping will be constructed of conductive material compatible with hydrocarbons and will be grounded by bonding to the sink. Drain line ball and check valves will be specified with static bonding straps, as applicable, and will be constructed of materials that are compatible with the proposed service.

Air Flow Indication and Alarm Generation:

Fume hoods will be equipped with a gauge indicating airflow and local audible and visual alarm indication of low airflow. The alarm system will have an “acknowledge” function to silence the audible alarm. The visual indicator will remain active until the condition is cleared by the restoration of sufficient airflow.

Other Hood Services:

Laboratory fume hoods equipped with services, such as air, water or gas, will have the controls for these services mounted on the exterior of the hood in an accessible location. Hood service controls and service outlets (within the hood enclosure) will be clearly and permanently marked. Where existing hood service controls are located within the fume hood enclosure, additional shutoffs will be provided exterior to and within 15 m (50 ft.) of the hood. Service controls will be accessible and clearly marked.