Just because you work in a building where local exhaust ventilation or dust extraction play a key role doesn’t necessarily mean you can be expected to comprehensively understand such installations. You know they are there, you know they carry out an important job and as far as you are aware, they are doing their job quite adequately. Nevertheless, these are exactly the kinds of systems that cannot be expected to continue serving their purpose indefinitely, without occasional professional attention/intervention.
The subject of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems Testing itself tends to be one of significant confusion, with so many business owners and operators still not fully understanding their own obligations and responsibilities. So in order to clarify just a few of the basics, what follows is a quick introduction to a selection of the most important questions on the subject of LEV testing and their respective answers:
1 – Is It Mandatory To Have My LEV Installations Inspected And Tested?
According to UK law, those in charge of businesses, commercial units, industrial workplaces and so on are legally obliged to ensure that they are adequately safe and appropriate for use. In so many instances, LEV systems play a critically important role in ticking essential health and safety boxes. This in turn under COSHH Regulations means that LEV testing is a legal requirement.
2 – How Often Should My Systems Be Tested?
Preventing problems in the first place will always be preferable to attempting to fix them once they have been allowed to manifest. Under COSHH Regulation 9 it is recommended that all local exhaust ventilation extraction systems be fully inspected and tested once in every period of 14 months, though this can be sooner depending on certain processes. The HSE however like to see good practice and that all systems are tested routinely every 12 months. The simple fact of the matter however is that waiting until things hit crisis point really isn’t a good idea and it is frowned upon to leave things until last minute or to lapse as this can attract substantial fines.
3 – Why Does Testing Matter?
The main reason why professional inspection of LEV and dust extraction systems is important is the way in which it is often difficult to tell whether or not they are in fact doing their job appropriately, without taking a closer look. LEV installations play a critically important role in health and safety management in the workplace, having a marked impact on the safety and quality of the air the workforce breathes. Over time, it is inevitable that any and all industrial machinery is going to need the odd tweak, repair or upgrade in order to keep running as it should be. Without regular inspection and testing therefore, it can be extremely difficult to know whether the installation is in fact doing its job properly. This can leave employers open to court claims from employees for ill health as without testing you cannot prove that the equipment was doing its job.
4 – Is It Expensive?
Expense is a subject of personal opinion, but what can be said for sure when it comes to this kind of testing and maintenance is that it will never cost nearly as much as the consequences of failing to test regularly. To overlook essential testing and maintenance is to run the risk of a) the system as a whole falling into disrepair and/or b) relatively severe problems with workplace health and safety. Needless to say, both such consequences are guaranteed to attach an exponentially higher bill than simply having the systems inspected and tested when and where required. And you can of course always shop around for a good quotation.
5 – Can I Carry Out the Checks and Tests Myself?
In a word, no. Well, technically speaking it wouldn’t be 100% impossible to go about the process manually, but you would first need to invest in a serious amount of highly complex and technical testing equipment the likes of which would cost you way more than paying for the tests to be carried out on your behalf. Not only this, but the inspection and testing processes require an extraordinary amount of skill and experience to go about competently, which again would cost thousands to become qualified – anything to the contrary and you risk making things worse than they already are. This is precisely why it simply makes sense to get in touch with the experts at the earliest possible opportunity, in order to ensure the job gets done both correctly and for the lowest possible price.
Look after your LEV installations properly and they will look after you and your business for decades.