LEV Testing - Extracting your Legal Obligations
Updated: May 22
Do you have any local exhaust ventilation systems in your workplace? If so, it is important to understand why they are important and the legal ramifications that come with them. Local exhaust ventilation systems, or LEV systems as we usually refer to them, are a type of engineering control implemented to prevent exposure to hazardous substances. Although we like to think it is common sense to avoid exposure to hazardous substances, the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended)’ make sure its also clearly written into the law.
Regulation 7 (1) states: “Every employer shall ensure that the exposure of his employees to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled.”
Ok good, hard to argue with that but what does it mean? Well first of all, it is an employer’s overriding duty and first duty to consider how to prevent employees from being exposed to hazardous substances. This can be achieved in a number of ways such as:
changing the method of work so that the operation giving rise to the exposure is no longer necessary; or
modifying a process to eliminate the production of a hazardous by-product or waste product; or
substituting, wherever reasonably practicable, a non-hazardous substance which presents no risk to health where a hazardous substance is used intentionally.
Where exposure cannot be prevented, control measures are required to be proportionate to activity and consistent with the risk assessment, in order of priority:
(a) the design and use of appropriate work processes, systems and engineering controls and the provision and use of suitable work equipment and materials;
(b) the control of exposure at source, including adequate ventilation systems and appropriate organisational measures; and
(c) where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by other means, the provision of suitable personal protective equipment in addition to the measures required by sub-paragraphs (a) and (b).
The employer should consider whether it is possible to reduce the risk to health significantly by using:
an alternative, less hazardous substance; or
a different form of the same substance; or
a different process.
In many workplaces, exposure cannot be so easily prevented. This is where Local exhaust ventilation systems come in. Local exhaust ventilation systems are designed to control the exposure at source and significantly reduce exposure to hazardous substance. As Local exhaust ventilation systems can play an instrumental role in protecting employee health, it is essential they are always working effectively and efficiently.
Regulation 9 (1) states: “Every employer who provides any control measure to meet the requirements of regulation 7 shall ensure that- Every employer who provides any control measure to meet the requirements of regulation 7 shall ensure that -
a) in the case of plant and equipment, including engineering controls and personal protective equipment, it is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order, in good repair and in a clean condition; and
(b) in the case of the provision of systems of work and supervision and of any other measure, it is reviewed at suitable intervals and revised if necessary.”
Regulation 9 (2) states: “Where engineering controls are provided to meet the requirements of regulation 7, the employer shall ensure that thorough examination and testing of those controls is carried out:
(a) in the case of local exhaust ventilation plant, at least once every 14 months, or for local exhaust ventilation plant used in conjunction with a process specified in Column 1 of Schedule 4, at not more than the interval specified in the corresponding entry in Column 2 of that Schedule; or
(b) in any other case, at suitable intervals.”
To summarise, engineering control measures provide to control exposure must be thoroughly examined and tested at suitable or specified intervals to ensure they are continuing to perform as intended.
Employers should check all engineering controls when they are installed to ensure that they meet the specified technical performance and, in combination with other control measures, are capable of providing adequate control. This initial test, known as the commissioning, can provide a benchmark for subsequent regular examinations and tests. The results of each thorough examination and test should be checked against the assessment carried out under regulation 6 and the requirements of regulation 7 regarding control. Any defects found as a result of the examinations or tests should be put right as soon as possible.
Thorough examination and testing (TExT) is also referred to as COSHH testing, statutory or routine inspections, LEV examination and testing services, and most commonly as LEV Testing. No matter what it is called, it is a legal requirement to have your LEV system subjected to a TExT by a competent person at least once in every 14-month period. There are certain systems that require more frequent inspections which are detailed in Column 1 of Schedule 4 the COSHH regulations and as shown below:
How we can help
At Blue Turtle Ltd, we provide a range of occupational hygiene monitoring services including LEV examination and testing services that can help you to better understand your local exhaust ventilation systems and ensure you meet your obligations under COSHH Regulation 9.
We help businesses of all types manage their workplace health hazards. Our experienced consultants can provide practical advice on how to achieve adequate control through process changes, improvements, or adopting/changing work practices to reduce the risk as low as reasonably practicable.
Whatever your Occupational Hygiene needs are, Blue Turtle Ltd is here to help your business protect your workforce and help you meet your legal obligations.
Give us a call today to discuss your needs or if you prefer, complete the online form with a brief outline of your business needs and/or concerns.
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