Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing / LEV Testing by a competent person is a legal requirement as part of Regulation 9 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.
This regulation requires all UK employers to examine, maintain and test local exhaust ventilation systems at least every 14 months.
What Is LEV Testing?
Local Exhaust Ventilation is an engineering control system put in place to reduce and control exposure to airborne contaminants like fumes, vapors, and dust in a workplace that could potentially be hazardous to employee health. This is done by capturing and extracting the contaminant at the source of the emission.
As an example, a woodwork process may have localised extraction hoods connected with ductwork to a fan and filter which transports contaminated air such as Wood Dust away from workers before discharging it, as clean air into the atmosphere.
It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure exposure is reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. In most cases, LEV is the solution.
According to the HSE’s Occupational Lung Disease in Great Britain 2017 report, over 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to historic exposure in the workplace. This has led to increasingly stringent guidelines for all installed local exhaust ventilation systems and also statutory LEV Testing requirements.
In order to help employers, the HSE published edition three of the HSG258 ‘Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV)’ in 2017. This guide provides full guidance on the design of new local exhaust ventilation equipment. It outlines the principles of commissioning, designing and how to properly test the effectiveness of LEV systems.
Why Do I Require Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing?
In the UK, it is a legal requirement for any employer to maintain adequate working conditions for all employees. Any employer that uses LEV in the workplace must have all equipment examined and tested to ensure effective working and safe running.
LEV systems are designed to prevent the inhalation of harmful substances, therefore reducing risks within the workplace. To comply with UK LEV legislation, HSG258 and COSHH Regulation 9, ECL conducts Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing to:
- Regulation 6 – Suitable & sufficient risk assessments
This is the assessment of any risks and deciding whether the controls are adequate
- Regulation 7 – Hierarchy of control
This is a step by step guide to help ensure the exposure to harmful contaminants is prevented or adequately controlled
- Regulation 8 – Use of Control Measures
All employers must ensure employees are using all controls correctly. The employee has a duty to use the control measures correctly and report any defects
- Regulation 9 – Maintenance, Examination & Testing of Controls
All Local Exhaust Systems should be thoroughly examined & tested at least once in a period of 14 months (unless otherwise specified) by a competent person. This is to ensure your system remains effective at control
LEV Testing Is A Legal Requirement
According to the HSE, around 13,000 workers in the UK die each year from historic work-related exposure to airborne contaminants at work leading to lung disease and various cancers. These figures are estimated to be attributed to past exposure, primarily to chemical and dust at work.
The consequences of exposure to harmful dust and fumes including respiratory diseases tend to be long latency and as a result, the consequences of exposure are not appreciated. When symptoms do appear they are often irreversible.
With the correct controls in place and a properly maintained LEV system, respiratory disease is completely preventable. These Respiratory diseases include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Occupational asthma
- Pneumonia / Pneumoconiosis
LEV Testing is a legal requirement in the UK for compliance with health and safety standards. LEV Test reports often form part of a company’s insurance policy. Inadequate testing can result in employers being prosecuted, insurance policies being invalidated and even employees becoming ill.
What Does Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing Involve?
ECL are industry experts within the field of Occupational Hygiene and Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing.
Once on-site, our experienced consultants will thoroughly examine and test local exhaust ventilation in accordance with HSG258 guidance. This includes the following:
- Observations, performance checks and tests
- The measurement of differential pressure across the fan and filter
- Measurements of duct diameters to calculate volumetric flow rates
- Comparisons with the previous performance or commissioning data
- An assessment to check the control of the worker exposure is adequate
- The measurements of enclosure and hood face velocities using an anemometer
- Measurement of the duct static pressure & velocity using a pitot tube & manometer
- Measurements and examination of technical performance to check conformity with commissioning
- Examination of the condition of the LEV system to verify it’s in a clean condition and good working order
- Verification of capture efficiency utilising visual aids such as smoke generation and/or Tindall beam dust lamp techniques
ECL will then record and provide evidence in fulfilling the requirements of Regulation 9 of COSHH guidance for your site.
Your Comprehensive LEV Report
A comprehensive LEV report will also be produced for each piece of LEV equipment tested.
All of our LEV reports include photos and/or schematic diagrams showing all test point locations, which are also clearly identified on the ducting as required by the HSE. This includes the following in line with guidance from HSG258:
Following an inspection, our professional LEV consultant will mark the LEV system as a pass or fail. We will also assist you in improving all control measures where necessary.
ECL does not just pass or fail an LEV system. In the event of your system failing an LEV Test or COSHH Air Monitoring. We would offer suggestions as to potential reasons for the fail and would also give guidance, within the range of our knowledge and experience as to how this could be rectified.
How Often Do I Need To Test LEV Extraction?
As LEV is a control measure under COSHH Regulations it must be regularly and thoroughly inspected and tested.
As stated above, Local Exhaust Ventilation Regulations outline that any employer who uses local exhaust ventilation to control hazardous substances must ensure that it is operating effectively.
Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing is a legal requirement in the UK. All equipment must be thoroughly examined and tested by a competent person at least every 14 months to ensure employees are safe.
This applies to all oil mist, welding fume, smoke and dust extraction units that you currently have on-site. This list s not exhaustive.
On occasion, some LEV systems can require more frequent testing than 14 months. Systems requiring examination and testing more frequently tha 14 months are listed in Table 4 of Schedule 4 within the COSHH Regulations and Table 18 of HSG258.
Experts In Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing
ECL will fulfil your obligation to ensure your LEV equipment is thoroughly examined and tested, keeping your staff safe and not risk incurring any potential HSE fines.
If equipment failings are uncovered, our P601 qualified LEV engineers will guide you through the process to ensure full HSE compliance.
The benefits of using an ECL fully qualified LEV consultant includes:
- Over 30 years of experience of testing LEV systems throughout all industries
- ECL are active members of ILEVE who seek to drive up standards within the LEV industry
- We perform all LEV Tests in full accordance with HSE guidelines using appropriate testing equipment
- A team of experienced Occupational Hygiene, Air Monitoring, and Environmental Consultants
- The servicing of either large international blue-chip companies to small local start-ups
- A personal yet professional approach as favoured by our long term returning clients
ECL has specialised in LEV Testing for over 30 years and currently service a wide range of industries from large to small companies within all industries including woodworking, engineering, chemical, and printing as well as schools, colleges ad numerous others.
Call us on 01443 841760 or fill out our Enquiry Form for any queries regarding Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing, Dust Lamp Surveys, COSHH regulations, air quality monitoring, Smoke Clearance Time Tests, Workplace Noise Assessments or any of our many other Environmental and Occupational Hygiene services.