An LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) system is a control system that helps to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants which include mist, dust, fumes, vapour, and gas within a workplace. The system is usually made up of ducts, a fan, an inlet, and an outlet. Most of the time there will also be a filter present, too.
For health and safety reasons, accurate and regular LEV testing is essential. This is because over time an LEV system’s performance will diminish. This is due to a number of factors which include wearing, damage, leaks, and blockages. As well as the more general wear and tear, a system can deteriorate due to the filters reaching the end of their lifespan. Sometimes it is not just natural causes that limit the LEV’s lifespan, improper use will cause negative results as well.
When it comes to Local Exhaust Ventilation it is important to know how often tests should be made, so you can put these tests into practice. Over the years guidelines and statutory requirements have been increased to meet stricter health and safety standards. This was led by the fact that according to the HSE’s Occupational Lung Disease in Great Britain 2017 report, 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposures at work.
There is a third edition of HSG258 titled ‘Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV)’ published in 2017. The guide offers advice on the design of new LEV equipment and describes the principles of deciding on, designing, commissioning, and testing an effective LEV.
Regulations demand that LEV systems are thoroughly tested at least once every 14 months, this applies to all oil mist, welding fume, and smoke and dust extraction units that are on site. Some applications will require even more frequent testing. It is also crucial that the testing is undertaken by a competent person, with them completing an examination that reaches HSE standards. HSG258 provides a list of recommended procedures in order to reach these requirements.
One thing the LEV tester should check is the airflow out of the ducts. They also should check face velocities of hoods, perform smoke tests in order to find the maximum capture distance, and perform a visual inspection of the filters, as well as the overall system. They would also need to examine the processes being used to determine if the system is being used in the correct manner. For the purpose of record, all of the above findings should be compiled into a comprehensive LEV report which should be kept for at least five years.
But what happens if a system has been rated as unsatisfactory? A good LEV engineer should advise you on the necessary steps that you need to take to return the LEV to an acceptable condition.
Remember, LEV testing is a legal requirement in order to comply with health and safety standards and is not something that can be skipped for any reason. Test reports often form part of a company’s insurance and any inadequate testing could result in serious repercussions. Such as a company or individual employee being prosecuted, and insurance becoming invalidated.
Furthermore, employees could fall ill as a result of a malfunctioning LEV system. They could also find themselves with a physical injury. This is another reason why using and testing your LEV system is a serious matter of health and safety. If you would like to know more about our services give us a call today on 024 7645 2203, or visit our contact page for more information.