What is Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)?

Local Exhaust Ventilation systems take dust, mists, gases, vapour or fumes out of the air so that they can’t be breathed in. A typical LEV system will have:

  • Hood(s) to collect airborne contaminants at, or near, where they are created (the source).
  • Ducts to carry the airborne contaminants away from the process.
  • An air cleaner or filter to remove the contaminant and clean the extracted air.
  • A fan to move the air around the system, which must be the right size and type to deliver sufficient air flow to the hood.
  • An exhaust for the safe release of cleaned, extracted air into the atmosphere or back into the workplace.

With the HSE estimating that 12,000 workers are dying from work-related lung disease each year, it is essential that local exhaust ventilation and dust extraction systems are functioning correctly and fit for purpose.

What are the regulations?

Local exhaust ventilation systems are covered under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). Additional guidance is provided in HSG258: Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV)

What are the requirements for inspection?

For most systems, a thorough examination is required under COSHH at least once in every 14 months. There are some exceptions to this, such as:

  • Processes in which blasting is carried out in or incidental to the cleaning of metal castings in connection with their manufacture, which should be examined monthly.
  • Processes, other than wet processes, in which metal articles (other than gold, platinum or iridium) are ground, abraded or polished using mechanical power in any room for more than 12 hours a week. These should be examined every 6 months.
  • Processes giving off dust or fume in which non-ferrous metal castings are produced. Again, these should be examined every 6 months.

Depending on the process and the substance to be controlled more frequent examinations may be recommended for systems deemed to present a high risk.

Our team provides thorough examinations by BOHS trained personnel (P601), which conform to the latest Health Safety Executive Guidance (HSG258) and highlight:

  • Contaminant control failings
  • Maintenance issues
  • Damage to systems
  • Practical advice on improvements

Our aim will always be to give practical and cost-effective advice and guidance to customers to complement their COSHH assessments.

We believe that those carrying out the inspections should be independent. We do not supply, install or maintain systems, which eliminates any possible conflict of interest.

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