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What is LEV?

A Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system is used to control or capture airborne hazardous substances and convey them to a point where it is discharged into the atmosphere or safely removed from the system. The extracted air is usually cleaned and then discharged to the atmosphere.


Why do you need LEV testing?

The Health and Safety at Work acts 1974 and regulation 9 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health state that Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV’s) must be monitored and maintained to ensure it is in good working order including those that remove airborne dust and fumes. If your LEV system meets health and safety regulations you can have peace of mind that you are protecting your employees against harmful substances.

The HSE make regular random visits to workplaces across the UK every day. It is important that you are following the correct procedures and protecting your staff according to its guidelines. The HSE will advise any company not adhering to the guidelines and if this is not corrected, a large fine will be presented.

LEV testing is relatively low cost and extremely necessary where workers are exposed to hazardous substances. There really is no reason not to have annual LEV testing scheduled.

What is involved in a LEV test?

An LEV test will involve a complete inspection and examination of equipment such as the ducts, the hoods and the filters. It will also involve a measurement of the technical performance and an assessment of the working condition of the LEV system. All examinations will be carried to HSE regulations, and Impact Technical Services will advise you of the recommendations needed to be made should your LEV system not meet the standards required.


What are the LEV regulations?

The government body that is responsible for the enforcement of the regulations for related risks in the work place is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). One of the key aspects of COSHH 2002 (Control of Substances Hazard to Health) regulations is dust and fume exposure. COSHH regulation 9 (see below) states that all companies must take steps to prevent, control, maintain and monitor for dust and fume exposure within the working environment.

  • Every employer who provides any LEV to meet regulation 7 shall ensure that, it is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, in good repair and in a clean condition.  COSHH Regulation 9.1.

When engineered controls have been used the employer must also make sure that the controls are thoroughly inspected and tested with a record that is kept for a minimum of 5 years. The Regulation also states:

  • Any LEV system must be thoroughly appraised and tested at least once every 14 months. This is reduced to 6 months in certain circumstances.  COSHH Regulation 9.2.

Contact us for more details.

Do I have to have an airflow indicator fitted onto each of the hoods in the LEV system?

While it is not a legal requirement to have airflow indicators fitted, by law as an employer you must make sure your LEV system is working at an appropriate standard. One of the reasons why an LEV system may not work at the appropriate standard could be due to the fact that the airflow falls (due to damage to the ducting, a build of material, etc), which then becomes inadequate and then effective control is lost.

An effective to check for this is through the use of airflow indicators which provide you information as to whether the flow rate of air is controlled and maintained and gives you the employer a reassurance that all of your employees are being protected appropriately. An airflow indicator is recommended by HSE’s LEV guidance HSG 258 as it is the only method that will show immediately if there is a problem with the airflow of your system.

How do I find out whether the LEV hood airflow is adequate?

A suitable airflow indicator is the easiest way to check whether the airflow is adequate, as it is not possible to effectively divulge the velocity of the air entering an LEV hood by hand.

Wouldn’t airflow “tell tales” be good enough?

“Tell tales” such as pieces of paper or plastic that is hung to bend in the hood airflow of the LEV system, will not provide an effective indication of the airflow while it can easily be damaged due to its delicacy. With every system other than very simple ones, “tell tales” will not be effective or adequate enough.

Will the examiners label LEV systems they test and why is this done?

Yes our examiners will label your LEV system after every test.

Although there is no specific legal requirement for this to be done, COSHH regulations do state that you as an employer must maintain the performance of your LEV system and are required to have a thorough examination at least once every 14 months.

The employer needs to know whether an examination has been completed or when one is due, as do the supervisors and operators. Also they need to know when an LEV system has failed and so attaching a label is the most effective way of providing this information.

Why do the examiners label all LEV hoods that are tested?

HSE guidance recommends that examiners should label each hood with a test record. The label will be placed so it is clearly visible for the supervisor and operators to check.

Why do the examiners have to put red labels on all LEV hoods that have failed?

HSE guidance has recommended that a red “failed” label needs to be put on any hoods that have failed. This is done to directly inform supervisors and operators of the failed outcome of the test.  This can either be done by one our examiners with agreement from the employer or the label could be issued to the employer’s responsible person.

The label will come with a short emergency written report which describes in full the details as to what went wrong along with a list of actions that can remedy the fault(s).

Once we have repaired the LEV hood or system for you, one of our examiners will then need to check that it is effective and can adequately control hazardous exposures. Once satisfied, the failed label can then be removed.

Employer FAQs

I have been told that I need my LEV system to be examined and tested, what does this mean?

Health and Safety laws dictate that you must assess the risks of hazardous substances to your workers and decide what action to take in order to protect their health.

If the action involves including an LEV system to get rid of dusts, fumes, vapours, etc. that has been produced at your workplace, then you will need to maintain the LEV system in an effective working condition so that the system will continue to provide the right protection to your employees. You will also need to have a thorough examination and test of your LEV system at least once every 14 months and then you will need to keep a record of this for a minimum of 5 years. There will be information on your installed LEV system to confirm it provides effective and adequate protection, which will be kept for the life of the system.

What is the purpose of an examination and test?

The purpose of the examination is to check that your LEV system is continuing to work effectively as was first intended to, while also protecting your employees’ health as well. To be able to check that the system is still working effectively, our examiner will have all the information needed about the intended or designed performance of your system such as the hood type and position that is relative to the process, airflow and other measurements, once we have installed the LEV system for you.


Who will undertake the examination and test and what responsibility does that person have?

All of our examiners have specialist knowledge, experience and skills to carry out a thorough examination and test of your LEV system.

Our examiner will use information from the installation of your system, about the equipment’s intended performance, to carry out the required examinations and tests to determine whether it is still meeting the same level of performance. The report provided to you will clearly show whether the system still does meet the required level of performance, and if it doesn’t then the report will clearly state what has gone wrong and what will be needed to be done to rectify it.

It is important that you make sure you:

  • Read and understand the examination and test report
  • Ask our examiner questions about anything in the report that you may not understand what is stated
  • Make sure you act on the recommendations that are stated in the report
What should be contained in the LEV examination report?

The law states that a record of your LEV examination and test report should be kept safely in the workplace. Our examiners follow the HSE Approved Code of Practice guidelines when compiling the report and it will contain information such as the systems’ level of performance related to its intended performance. This report will comply with the legal requirements of keeping a record of your examination and test. 

Get in touch with us today to discuss your Local Exhaust Ventilation systems.

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