Workplaces should be safe environments where people feel comfortable. After all, it’s where we spend most of our time each week. Sadly, workplace accidents can lead to severe injuries or even death. Some industries are more dangerous than others, particularly construction, manufacturing and agriculture, and work that involves hazardous materials, specialist equipment or working at height is riskier. However, some lines of work present invisible dangers to the naked eye, including fumes and dust. Exposure to these risks is not always immediately evident, and it can take years for symptoms to develop.
Auto Extract Systems is one of the UK’s leading specialists in LEV systems. They have experience supplying businesses across multiple industries with various solutions designed to remove harmful contaminants from the air in workplace environments. One example is their woodworking dust extraction offering, a service that ensures businesses dealing with wood dust hazards take steps to protect workers. Auto Extract Systems has provided some input on why businesses need an LEV system and the importance of testing.
What Is an LEV System?
The workplace contains several hazards, and industrial environments like manufacturing plants, garages and workshops are more at risk. One of the most significant hazards is harmful particulates which, when inhaled, ingested or touched, can cause various health complications. These health risks are why LEV systems can be valuable.
A local exhaust ventilation system is a solution for collecting, containing and removing contaminants from the air before they have a chance to reach people’s breathing space. The LEV system creates cleaner air by eliminating airborne particulates such as dust, mists, vapours and fumes. Systems have four key elements:
· Capture hood: Where contaminants enter the system
· Air cleaner: Separates the pollutants, leaving fresh air
· Air mover: A fan that powers the LEV system
· Discharge: Collects and disposes of the harmful particulates in a safe place
LEV solutions can come in many forms, including canopy hoods, centrifugal fans, extraction arms, and general ventilation systems. Plus, there are several components that you can pair with a product. We recommend that you speak to an LEV specialist to identify the solutions that suit your best.
Why Businesses Need LEV Systems
Tasks that emit hazardous contaminants can be dangerous, so the most important thing for businesses is to protect the health and safety of their workers and site visitors. It should be the priority to prevent accidents and injuries in the short term and long term. Fumes, dust and so forth cause health issues like lung diseases, cancer and skin irritation. Thousands of people die from breathing in harmful particulates yearly, and the symptoms can take time to appear. It might be too late to take action when the exposure issue becomes known. Therefore, an LEV system is a proven method for reducing the risk of exposure.
An LEV system will also protect businesses from suffering financial and reputation damage if an employee takes action against them for health issues sustained while working for the company. The Health and Safety Executive is in charge of maintaining the health and well-being of workers in the United Kingdom. Breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act is a serious offence, and the HSE will have no issue pursuing significant charges against businesses that don’t comply.
It’s an employer’s responsibility to source an LEV solution that is fit for purpose. The system should be appropriately designed for individual requirements, considering the processes and containments that the business handles. If your working processes produce dangerous particulates like dust, gases, fumes and vapours, you will require an LEV system.
The Importance of Regular LEV Testing
LEV systems are only effective when designed, maintained and operated correctly. Poor design or maintenance of a system can be hazardous, potentially disrupting parts of the capture and elimination process. For instance, particulates could leak out of the system, creating an even more significant hazard.
The HSE requires that LEV systems undergo a thorough examination every 14 months. LEV testing checks whether the system performs as intended and adequately controls the risk of exposure. LEV testing is a legal requirement, and failure to do so constitutes a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act. As mentioned in the previous section, the HSE does not hesitate when enacting significant consequences against businesses that breach the rules.
A competent person must carry out an LEV test and cover several elements, including a visual examination of components like airflow indicators and leakages. A test report should be provided outlining the LEV location, the test time, and what control and test methods were employed.
While the HSE states that tests should be done every 14 months, we recommend you test more regularly. LEV systems will deteriorate with time, and if you can identify and fix problems as soon as possible, you will protect employees and your company.
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