Texas Tech University

Equipment Testing

Lab Safety personnel test all chemical fume hoods, emergency safety showers and autoclaves annually to ensure proper functioning. If you think of one these pieces of equipment is not functioning properly, please contact Lab Safety immediately for an assessment by clicking the button below.

Request equipment testing

Autoclave Function Testing

Autoclaves on campus are tested to ensure they are functioning properly to provide sterilization. Autoclaves use pressurized steam (moist heat) to destroy microorganisms when decontaminating lab waste and sterilizing equipment, glassware, media and reagents.

Lab Safety  in conjunction with lab personnel will use an appropriate Bacillus bacterial species (as defined in 25 TAC §1.132) to test the functionality of autoclaves. The vial is run in a typical sterilization cycle. If the temperature holds at the required temperature, the vial once incubated will show no growth. However, if the adequate holding time or temperature is not reached, the bacteria will grow indicating a potential issue with the autoclave. The department, building or supervisor overseeing the autoclave is responsible for contacting an outside vendor to service the machine.

Testing Frequency

  • For generators of less than 50 pounds per month, testing shall be conducted annually;
  • For generators of more than 50 pounds but less than or equal to 100 pounds per month, testing shall be conducted at least once per month;
  • For generators of more than 100 pounds but less than or equal to 200 pounds per month, testing shall be conducted at least biweekly; and
  • For generators of more than 200 pounds per month and persons that treat medical wastes off-site, testing shall be conducted at least weekly.

BSC and Laminar Flow Hood Certification

Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC) must be certified annually by a third-party vendor. Laminar flow hood (or clean benches) are recommended to be certified annually but not required. Vendors that are already established in TechBuy and can provide certification are:

  • Titan Tech : 1-817-791-0017
  • Air Scan : 1-800-800-5108
  • BioTech Balancing : 1-856-449-2226

Chemical Fume Hood Surveillance Program

Each chemical fume hood on campus is assessed annually by EHS via hood face velocity. The program is outlined in Section A22.2 of the University Lab Safety Manual

Air Flow Requirements

  • Chemical fume hoods shall have an average airflow of 80 - 100 feet per minute.
  • Chemical fume hoods where radioactive material is used shall have an average airflow of 100 - 120 feet per minute.
  • "Low-flow" chemical fume hoods shall be certified based on manufacturer specifications.

Assessment Process

  • A calibrated airflow measuring device capable of accurately measuring air velocity in the range of 0 to 1500 feet per minute is used.
  • Each assessment involved a multi-point traverse in the plane of sash travel. The average hood face velocity (the arithmetic mean of the point readings) is calculated and recorded. 
  • Additional notes on hood status are recorded including excessive storage, contamination, etc.
  • If the hood is performing properly, the certification sticker is affixed to the sash and/or completed including the date, average hood face velocity and certification height.
  • If the hood is not performing properly, the supervisor will be notified by an 'out-of-service' tag on the hood sash.
    • Lab personnel must contact the TTU Physical Plant to have the chemical fume hood serviced. EHS must be contacted to reassess the hood upon service completion before the hood can be put back in service.

Eye Wash Testing

Eye washes should be flushed weekly by lab personnel to prevent the build up of dirt and other contaminants in the plumbing. Keep eye wash covers on the the flushing fluid units to protect them from airborne contaminants. The water should reach a level that is adequate to adequate to rinse the eyes in the event of contamination.

Safety Shower Testing

All emergency safety showers are tested by EHS annually to ensure adequate water flow as outlined by American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment (ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2009). 

Water is collected from the shower for 10 seconds. The rate of flow is extrapolated based on the time and volume of water collected. If the rate of flow is at least 20 gallons per minute, the certification tag is completed with the date. If the flow does not reach 20 gallons per minute, the lab personnel are responsible for contacting TTU Operations to have the shower serviced.