Local Exhaust Ventilation System

Local Exhaust Ventilation (also known as LEV), is a regulation which outlines your responsibility as an employer for the conditions of your working environment. While LEV, in itself, is not a law, as an employer, your legal responsibility is to maintain your LEV system performance, which also involves regular testing and servicing, which should happen at least every 14 months. Continue reading this post to learn more about LEV and local exhaust ventilation regulations. You can also access more information on the HSE’s LEV section.

What is LEV?

Local Exhaust Ventilation is concerned with the extraction of dust and other micro-particles including gas and vapour. LEV forms part of the regulations regarding the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH). Essentially, the design and installation of a LEV system are to prevent inhalation or absorption of any hazardous materials.


What are the requirements of LEV?

  • Collect and trap any air that is identified as containing contaminants
  • Remove hazardous substances from areas where people work
  • Contain any dangerous substance safely
  • Clean the air and provide a robust reporting method that provides accurate data regarding the cleanliness of the air in the working environment and the effectiveness of the measures taken to remove contaminants.

What are your responsibilities with LEV?

COSHH regulations are enforceable under UK law. To comply with regulations, employers must assess the risks to their employee’s health as a result of the hazardous substances, and/or the toxic emissions that day-to-day work activities produce. At this point, the employer must then decide what precautions they need to take in order to prevent or adequately control their team’s exposure to the hazardous substance.

The regulations have a hierarchy of control measures that you must follow methodically. If at all possible, you must change the activity or process in order to limit or stop the generation of hazardous substances. You can often source and implement safer alternatives to achieve this, in addition to your exhaust ventilation system. If prevention is not reasonably practicable, you can significantly control exposure with effective ventilation or enclosure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be the last control measure that you use. This is because PPE presents the last line of defence against hazardous substances. As the employer, you must then ensure that your teams use and maintain all of the control measures, for longevity and safety. If necessary, you must provide Monitoring of Exposure and Health Surveillance systems.


What changes can you make to comply with LEV?

Employees must always be properly informed, trained and supervised. Just having HSE safety data sheets on file is not sufficient to comply with COSHH requirements. You must:

  • Change your method of work so exposure to hazardous substances can no longer occur
  • Substitute the material being used with something safer
  • Reduce the size of the source
  • Modify the process to reduce the duration or frequency of emission
  • Reduce the number of employees involved in a process
  • Apply simple controls, e.g. fitting lids to equipment

For more information about other ways of eliminating or reducing airborne contamination at work, take a look at the HSE COSHH website.


Should you require any more help or advice on local exhaust ventilation testing, service, design or installation, please get in touch with us today by clicking the button below or submitting a callback request form. 

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