What is LEV Testing
Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are an engineering control used to control hazardous substance at source. These are useful because they remove the substance from the workplace completely. Therefore they protect other people in the area, as well as the worker using the LEV system directly. Over time, the performance of a local exhaust ventilation system can deteriorate due to blockages, damage and wear. As a result, they need regular checking and examination. Consequently it is a legal requirement through COSHH Regulation 9, that employers that use LEV systems to control hazardous substances must arrange for LEV testing at least once every 14 months.
Background to LEV Testing.
Every year thousands of people develop diseases from breathing in dust, fumes and other hazards while at work. The HSE estimates that twelve thousand deaths each year are due to past exposure to hazardous substances. For these reasons, the health and safety at work ACT 1974 requires employers to provide and maintain working conditions that are safe and without risk to health of employees so far as is reasonably practicable. In addition, COSHH expands on this duty and requires employers to prevent their workers’ exposure to hazardous substances or, where this is not reasonably practical, to ensure adequate control. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are specifically designed to ensure this adequate control, and to take the dust or gas hazard away from the employee and remove it from the work place.
The HSE state that around a 100,000 work places in the UK use LEVs to control the risks of 2.6 million workers. Only 40,000 of these companies have their LEV testing carried out regularly, which means that 60,000 companies are open to potential prosecution. Consequently, 1.6 million workers are left at risk from hazardous substances.
Who Should Carry Out LEV Testing
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that an employer must ensure that the person carrying out the LEV Testing is competent. So it is important to ensure that the person checking the LEV has passed BOHS Proficiency Module P601 “Initial appraisal and thorough examination and testing of local exhaust ventilation systems”
Synergy’s LEV Testing Service
Our P601 qualified staff will check that your LEV systems are still performing as intended and therefore ensure that your company complies with COSHH Regulation 9. If your LEV systems are not performing as required we will tell you what’s wrong and more importantly, the remedial work needed to correct it.
Our LEV Testing service offers three main stages.
Stage 1 – A visual examination, specifically to check that the LEV system is clean and in good repair.
In short, this may include:
- a check for LEV damage, wear and tear
- Internal duct examinations
- checks that the air cleaning device is working correctly
- inspection of the filter material
- checks that display devices (such as pressure gauges) work correctly.
- check of water flow and sumps for wet scrubbers
- check that system alarms work correctly
- a check of the fan that serves the system
- A check of effectiveness – e.g. dust in and around the LEV hood
Stage 2 – Measurements to test the technical performance of the LEV system.
In summary, this may include:
- LEV gas velocity measurements at the hood faces, branch ducts and main ducts
- a measure of the static pressure behind each hood, in the ducting, across the air cleaner and fan.
- a check of the fan speed
- a check of the direction of the fan
- check of the make-up air supply
- check of the alarms by simulating failure
- a measure of the air temperature
- a test of the cleaner performance
- a comparison of the volume flow rate against the design spec.
Stage 3 – An assessment of the control effectiveness of the system.
In brief, this may include:
- observation of the processes and sources
- assessment of how well exposure is controlled by the LEV
- smoke tests to check if the operator’s breathing zone is affected
- smoke test to assess leakage in the system.
- lamp tests to check for the escape of dust or mist
- observation of the operator’s working pattern.
As part of our service we can remind you that LEV testing is due. We can do this free of charge and provide discounts for contracts covering a number of visits.