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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.

Welding Fume Extraction Arm

LEV FAQs

Why do you need LEV testing?

The Health and Safety at Work act 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 your extraction 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 to be made, should your LEV system not meet the standards required.

 

LEV testing a fume extraction system

LEV testing a fume extraction system

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.

Flexible welding fume extraction arm

Do I have to have an airflow indicator fitted onto 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 an LEV system may not work at the appropriate standard could be due to the fact that the airflow level drop (due to damage to the ducting, a build of material, etc), which then deems it inadequate and effective control is lost.

An effective way to check for this is through the use of airflow indicators which provide you with an instant visual indication as to whether the flow rate of air is controlled and maintained and gives you the employer 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.Airflow indicators for LEV systems

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.

LEV test pass label

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 extraction hoods that have failed the LEV test. This is done to directly inform supervisors and operators of the failed outcome of the test.  This can either be done by one of 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 of the fault along with a list of actions that can remedy it.

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

LEV test red failed label

Employer FAQs

I have been told that I need my LEV system 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 a Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system to control dusts, fumes and vapours, etc produced in the workplace, you will need to maintain the LEV system to ensure it remains in an effective working condition so the system will continue to provide the right protection to your employees. You will also need to have a thorough examination and test (TExT) of your LEV system at least once every 14 months.

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, while also protecting your employees’ health.

 

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, the report will clearly state what has failed and what will be need 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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