By: Mendy Foster

Mendy Foster has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Indiana University and has over 15 years experience as a protein biochemist.

Mendy currently serves as a Laboratory Safety Specialist for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

E-mail Mendy at:



A Quick Fix for Under Hood Flammable Cabinet Doors

If the right side door to your flammable cabinet located under the hood won’t close properly, there could be a simple fix. Take a moment to check the latch mechanism across the top front of the open cabinet. A common model found on campus has rectangular slots with a sliding latch mechanism (fig 1). The left side latch should slide over when the left door is closed and create space in the right latch opening.


Frequently the L bracket attached to the left door has shifted position and does not push against the latch mechanism. This leaves the mechanism positioned so that it blocks the second door from closing. This can be corrected by adjusting the angle of the left door bracket to align with the lever rather than passing above it. If the bracket is aligned correctly, you should be able to see the lever in the right hand slot slide out of the way when you close the left door. Once the bracket alignment has been corrected, completely tighten the bracket screws to secure it in the correct position.


We depend on flammable cabinets to slow the spread of fire to chemicals, but full protection from this safety device requires that both doors are closed. If you notice yours is not functioning properly, please take a moment to address the problem or find assistance.


Figure 1: The L bracket secured to the flammable cabinet door must connect with the metal lever on closing. If it does not, the second door will not be able to close properly. This bracket can easily be adjusted with only a screwdriver.


Lab Notes is a quarterly publication by the IUPUI Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Lab Notes is designed, edited and published by K. Lee Stone.

"Don't Learn Laboratory Safety by Accident!"