Undoubtedly, the significance of investing in LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) systems cannot be overstated when it comes to ensuring the safety and health of both employees and customers, particularly in companies dealing with toxic gas emissions or vulnerable to the buildup of harmful contaminants in the air.

However, it is essential to recognise that merely installing exhaust systems represents only one facet of the company’s responsibilities in maintaining a safe workplace.

Beyond the installation of LEV systems, companies must actively engage in continuous monitoring and inspection of these machines. Proactive measures are vital to ensure that the ventilation systems function optimally and effectively eliminate hazardous substances from the air. Regular assessments allow for the early detection of any issues or malfunctions, enabling prompt corrective actions.

Moreover, LEV testing is a matter of best practice and a legal requirement in the UK. Companies that fail to comply with these regulations face many potential consequences and risks.

Not sure how to do it? Here’s a checklist to guide you through staying compliant with LEV testing.


Your checklist for LEV testing

  1. Understand the regulations: Familiarise yourself with the relevant health and safety regulations specific to your industry and location. These legislations may vary depending on your region.
  2. Identify the LEV systems: Determine all the LEV systems in your workplace.
  3. Assess the LEV’s design: Ensure they are well-designed to capture and remove contaminants from the air effectively. Proper setup is crucial for efficient ventilation.
  4. Maintain a written scheme: Create a registered examination scheme for each local exhaust ventilation system. This document should outline the system’s design, intended use, and maintenance requirements.
  5. Assign responsibilities: Designate responsible personnel who will oversee the LEV testing and maintenance. Clear roles help ensure accountability.
  6. Establish testing frequency: In the UK, it is a legal requirement for employers to conduct local exhaust ventilation system testing at least once every 14 months.
  7. Choose competent testers: Hire qualified, skilled professionals or contractors to conduct the test. They should have the necessary expertise and equipment.
  8. Perform thorough inspections: During testing, inspect all components, including hoods, ducts, filters, and fans. Check for any wear, damage, or blockages.
  9. Measure airflow: Verify that the local exhaust ventilation system provides the required airflow to capture and remove contaminants effectively. Use appropriate instruments to measure it, such as anemometers or pitot tubes.
  10. Monitor contaminant levels: Estimate the concentration of airborne contaminants to ensure they are below acceptable exposure limits.
  11. Check alarm systems: If your LEV has an alarm system for malfunctions or low airflow, ensure it works correctly.
  12. Document test results: Keep comprehensive records of all tests, inspections, and maintenance activities. This documentation is crucial for compliance and future reference.
  13. Address issues promptly: If any problems or deficiencies are identified, take immediate corrective actions to rectify them.
  14. Schedule regular maintenance: Implement a regular maintenance timetable for LEV systems to keep them in optimal working condition, regardless of the test results.
  15. Employee training and awareness: Instruct employees about the importance of local exhaust ventilation systems, how to use them correctly, and the risks associated with not following safety protocols.
  16. Review and improve: Periodically review your procedures and update them based on lessons learned and changing regulations.
  17. Respond to changes: If there are any changes in work processes or equipment, assess their impact on LEV systems and make necessary adjustments.


An overview of how the testing is conducted

A local exhaust ventilation system test involves several crucial steps to ensure effectiveness and compliance with safety standards.

The technicians start with a thorough visual inspection of the entire equipment. They look for signs of deterioration or any other issues that may affect performance.

Appropriate instruments are used to measure the airflow rates at various points within the system. If applicable, face velocity testing is performed to check the speed of air entering the bonnet or enclosure. It ensures that the capture rate is sufficient to contain and extract the contaminants.

Smoke or tracer gases may be introduced at specific points in the system to assess the direction and efficiency of airflow. This helps identify any potential leaks or areas where contaminants may escape.

Filters are inspected to verify their condition and determine if they need replacement. If the LEV system incorporates fans, noise and vibration levels are assessed to ensure they are within acceptable limits.

Detailed documentation of the test results, observations, and any necessary corrective actions is recorded for future reference and compliance purposes. Based on the test results, the technician may recommend adjustments to optimise the machine’s performance. Regular maintenance and servicing schedules are also suggested to uphold the system’s efficiency.

By following this LEV testing checklist, you can ensure your workplace remains compliant with regulations, providing a safe environment for your employees and reducing exposure to airborne contaminants. Occupational safety is an ongoing process, and regular monitoring and maintenance are vital for long-term effectiveness.

Let’s get your testing pencilled in…


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