Workforce First Limited visits many companies in the West Midlands to provide the thorough examination and testing of LEV required by Regulation 9 of the COSHH Regulations 2002 as Amended. We work with our clients to maximise the effectiveness of the LEV in order to prevent their employees from developing irreversible lung disease.

Please take a few minutes to watch the clip about LEV. You will learn about some of the reasons to use LEV systems, the regulations around LEV, how often it should be examined, statistics about the number of preventable occupational diseases reported, and finally the certificate that the qualified testers should hold.

Workforce First Limited visits many companies in the West Midlands to provide the thorough examination and testing of LEV required by Regulation 9 of the COSHH Regulations 2002 as Amended. We work with our clients to maximise the effectiveness of the LEV in order to prevent their employees from developing irreversible lung disease

Want to know more about why extraction has to be tested?

What will you expect from our visit to test your extraction?

  • Visual examination of the condition of the system components; fan, filter unit, ducting, hoods,
  • Assessment of degree of control of contaminant at each hood through the use of airflow indicator tubes, dust lamp and air samples as appropriate,
  • Appraisal of working practices in relation to exposure and the use of the ventilation controls,
  • Measurement of airflow and static pressure at the capture points, at the entrances to hoods, through transporting ducts and across filters and fans.

The examination will be written up and presented as certificates with annotated diagrams and photographs in a report with recommendations and an action plan.

We are passionate about making LEV a real, effective and useable control measure that does not cost the earth to install or run. We want users to take ownership and responsibility for their extraction. In order to help them plan, use and maintain their extraction we run bespoke practical LEV Awareness courses at our offices in Hilton Hall or on client premises. These courses are tailored to meet the varying needs of health and safety managers and maintenance fitters and their own extraction systems. Contact us for more details (tab to enquiry form).

In order to make LEV Awareness more widely available and low cost we are also presenting it in the form of an online course. (Tab to online courses)

Want to know more about how we test extraction systems?

Thousands of companies in the UK use local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to control airborne contaminants. Some employers use it to comply with the law, some use it as a defence against litigation for industrial disease and some use it as good practice.

Employees need to use LEV to prevent inhalation exposure to hazardous substances. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that LEV as a means of exposure control, continues to work. Most systems must be examined every 14 months, but systems used to control specific contaminants may be tested more frequently. This is in Schedule 4 of the COSHH regulations.

In the UK there continued to be new cases of industrial respiratory disease reported every year even after the COSHH regulations were brought in and controls were used. In 2008, a group of specialist inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) teamed up with scientists from the government Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), to work out why there was no substantial fall in the incidence of occupational disease.They concluded that the controls; did not work.

As examiners of extraction systems, we were well aware of this. If the vacuum cleaner is blocked, it won’t suck up the dust and the same goes for all extraction systems big and small.

We have seen systems where the exhaust grille was blocked with sucked up sweet wrappers, where rags blocked a bend in a duct, where a duct was squashed flat and so on.

Equally a vacuum cleaner can’t pick up dust from the floor if you are holding it up in the air. Many systems were unable to do their job due to the way they were positioned. Some systems (like an old vacuum cleaner) simply never had enough power to do the job.

The action taken by the HSE was to provide guidance to employers, employees, designers and installers of LEV in document HSG 258, which is now in its second edition.

They specified that the designers and testers of extraction systems should be qualified. These days testers of extraction hold the P601 certificate from the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS). The Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers was formed at the same time and provides a good certification system for designers and testers.

Members of the Faculty of Occupational Hygiene within the BOHS are considered to have the necessary knowledge and experience to test extraction systems. At Workforce First Limited we have the necessary qualifications. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) statutory thorough examination and test. Workforce First; Local Exhaust Ventilation Our second clip about local exhaust ventilation goes on to explain what we look for when testing and why. Our approach to testing is very thorough. We need to make sure that the system is in good condition, positioned correctly and that your employees are using it correctly. We take the necessary measurements and air samples to determine the effectiveness of your system. So what do we look for when are examining an LEV system?

First of all we look all around the LEV system which includes over and under the system looking for damage to hoods, ducting, fans and filter casings. With the LEV switched off, we look inside for damage to fan blades and for evidence of filter breakthrough. Dust extraction units that exhaust back into the workplace are often found to have dust in the fan compartments, showing that they are re-distributing the fine inhalable dust (or fume) that has been sucked up, back into the workplace for everyone to breathe. We have seen systems where the exhaust grille was blocked with sucked up sweet wrappers, where rags blocked a bend in a duct, where a duct was squashed flat and so on.

Equally a vacuum cleaner can’t pick up dust from the floor if you are holding it up in the air. Many systems were unable to do their job due to the way they were positioned. Some systems (like an old vacuum cleaner) simply never had enough power to do the job.

Using air current detector tubes or smoke generators, we puff around the emissions area to see whether the smoke is taken into the hood.

If operators are working with dusts, we watch their work across a high power beam to see if the dust is escaping into the air or back into the operator’s breathing zone.

We measure the flow performance of the LEV systems; hood face velocities, duct velocities, duct static pressures, pressure drops across the fans and pressure drops across the filters and compare these figures with the commissioning data. The commissioning data is the record of the performance of the system measured at the time when the control was proven, usually with air tests. Many systems never had commissioning data; unlike that wood preservative; there was no need to prove that it did what it said on the tin, until the advent of HSG258 when proof of control was paramount. Existing systems undergo an Initial Appraisal where control is proven and performance measured at the same time. This becomes the standard against which the system performance is subsequently compared.

In summary, employers who use Local Exhaust Ventilation to control emissions and exposure to substances hazardous to health must ensure that employees use it correctly, they must ensure that it is maintained and ensure that it is thoroughly examined and tested every 14 months or sooner.

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Workforce First Limited
Hilton Hall Business Centre
Hilton Lane
Essington
Wolverhampton
WV11 2BQ