I outlined the key steps needed to control health hazards in the workplace. The first steps are recognising that a risk exists and then making sure that appropriate, effective controls are specified, designed and implemented. In this case the risk from dust exposure was recognised and a local exhaust ventilation system with an appropriate hood design was installed. The problem is that it is not being used properly, considerably reducing its effectiveness. Once controls have been implemented they need to be properly managed to ensure that during use they continue to do the job they were designed to do. This requires training, supervision, maintenance, testing, audit and review. It’s a management responsibility to ensure that controls are properly used so more vigilant supervision seems to be required.
What is LEV and why do I need it? Every year, thousands of workers in Britain develop occupational diseases from breathing in certain dusts, fumes or other airborne contaminants at work. Local Exhaust Ventilation, often called dust or fume extraction, can help clean the air, before people breathe in these harmful substances. (Excerpt from HSE web site).
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.
All Companies and Employers using extraction equipment have legal requirements they must undertake. All equipment must be examined and tested in order to comply with Regulation 9 of the COSHH Regulations. The Employer must make sure that equipment is maintained and in efficient working order and of good repair. A thorough test should be undertaken once every 14 months and in some cases far more frequently. It is also a requirement of the employer to keep a suitable record of the test. All for a period of at least 5 years. This record should also include details of repairs carried out as a result of the test. Read more info on HSE LEV Testing.
Those individuals wishing to improve their LEV knowledge and skills should consider attending a suitable training course leading to qualifications such as those provided by the Institution of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE) or the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS). Dutyholders should provide information about the full extent of an airborne dust cloud, as this is rarely visible. In some cases, such as when all the particles are smaller than ‘inhalable’, it will be completely invisible. Tyndall illumination uses the forward scattering of light to show up the cloud. Alternatively, if smoke is released into the cloud this will show up its shape, size, speed and direction.