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LEV Testing

Testing your paint plant extraction system in accordance with COSHH regulations

LEV (local exhaust ventilation) is the term given to your plant which incorporates any form of extraction that is provided in order to control or minimise any hazards to your employees.

Typically, this would include all dry filter, water wash and powder booths, mix rooms, flash off areas, and oven extract systems. All LEV systems should be examined and tested at least once every 14 months. If they are in poor condition or if its performance is likely to reduce over time the 14-month interval may need to be shorter.

Understanding what is required and choosing a company to carry out your testing can be difficult. Many suppliers think that carrying out a quick airflow check using a rotating vane anemometer is sufficient for your requirements. This is not the case! The health & safety executive requires a strict procedure to be followed, and they also prefer that the engineer carrying out the testing is deemed competent – such as holding the P601 'Commissioning and Thorough Examination and Testing of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems', which the HSE guidance (HSG258) refers to as one measure of competency in this area.

LEV tests can be varied dependent upon the type of plant being checked, in the paint shop testing would include most of the following, a thorough examination should be carried out of the complete plant, checking the integrity of the plants structure.

Air flow testing across face openings, pitot tube readings in the extract ducting to determine induct velocities, static pressure checks at suitable locations, mist clearance checks using a smoke generating machine.

Testing of filter cleaning devices and all safety interlocks, dust lamp tests across the open face of powder booths and fettling enclosures.

Other tests may be required, it is the responsibility of the competent engineer to determine what is checked and tested, he is also the engineer who has the responsibility to inform you if your plant is safe or if it needs attention.

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