Are your LEV Systems COVID safe?
With the ever increasing infection and death rates of COVID- 19, now, more than ever is the time to ensure your working environments are safe, as the health of employees during the pandemic is paramount.
If you work in an industry where dust and fumes are commonplace, you will already be familiar with the challenges that the Covid-19 outbreak has had on safety inspection and compliance, including how important it is to ensure a robust Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system. But have you considered the impact that a poorly maintained environment will have on your employees in today’s climate, and how that will ultimately impact the efficiency of your productivity?
Over time, the performance of LEV systems will naturally decline due to blockages and wear and tear, meaning that the poor filtration of dust and fumes from industrial equipment could begin to contaminate the air and affect the health of your workforce. Respiratory diseases like asthma, lung scarring and cancer can all be exacerbated by poorly ventilated working environments, therefore leaving employees vulnerable to airborne viruses like Covid-19, ultimately impacting your workforce capabilities and bottom line.
To ensure your LEV system complies with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, inspection and testing is recommended to be done every 14 months, yet because of local and national lockdowns many companies are finding it challenging to prioritise inspections due to limited resources.
Recently, The HSE released a Covid-19 safe guide to inspection and testing of LEV systems during the Coronavirus outbreak which states that they ‘expect duty holders to make all reasonable efforts to arrange thorough examination and testing to be carried out within the statutory time limits’. Organisations operating at limited capacity with fractions of their workforce limited to home working or due to imposed government self-isolation may find this difficult, therefore widening the gap between legal requirements and compliance.
The importance of LEV inspection & testing
Many jobs across different industries involve work processes that create dust and fumes, which when breathed in can cause diseases, such as asthma, lung scarring and cancer.
Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems, also known as extraction or fume control, are used by businesses to control dust and fumes. Over time, the performance of LEV systems can decline, due to wear and tear or blockage. This is why regular inspection and testing – every 14 months to comply with COSHH – is necessary to ensure the systems are operating effectively and hazardous substances are kept controlled.
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