Vacuum System Hazards and Precautions


Many campus laboratories are supplied with a “house” vacuum system. The house vacuum system creates suction from a large vacuum pump in a mechanical room whose piping extends to laboratories throughout the building. These house vacuum pumps are maintained by campus maintenance staff, and it is important the systems not be contaminated with hazardous materials or organisms.

Laboratories that are not connected to a house vacuum system, or that need a stronger vacuum, commonly use stand-alone vacuum pumps such as rotary vane pumps, turbopumps, diffusion pumps, and/or cryogenic vacuum pumps. These vacuum pumps are maintained by research groups and can present hazards in the laboratory if not properly handled.

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
Publication date: 
July 30, 2012
Publication type: 
Fact Sheet