Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing

When it comes to the health and well being of you and your employees, you simply cannot afford to take any risks. The air in the workplace can be particularly prone to various pollutants and contaminants. Even if you already have a satisfactory air cleaning and ventilation system in place, you will have to ensure that it is running in optimal condition. This is where the importance of local exhaust ventilation testing comes to the fore.

The purpose of exhaust ventilation testing

Local exhaust ventilation testing or LEV testing refers to engineering control system that is employed for the purposes of reducing human exposures to contaminants in the air. These contaminants may come in the form of:
  • dust
  • mist
  • fumes
  • vapors
  • gasses
In the typical workplace, any or all of these substances may cause severely detrimental effects on human health. At the very least, they can make the workplace a lot less pleasant and less conducive to effective production. Worse still, some of these effects may occur months or even years after exposure, opening you up to potential liabilities down the line.

In most countries around the world, it is the employer’s responsibility to implement and maintain the proper control measures in the workplace. One of the most important aspects of this responsibility is to significantly reduce the contaminant level in the air, if not eliminate all contaminants entirely. And for these purposes, local exhaust ventilation testing is absolutely essential.

Local exhaust ventilation testing is a commonly implemented measure that aims to capture pollutants right at the source. Like all control measures, LEV must be inspected and tested on a regular basis, making sure that it conforms to all the guidelines and standards set by the HS(G)258, which deals with the issues pertaining to the control of airborne contaminants in the workplace.

What exhaust ventilation testing involves

Local exhaust ventilation testing involves three key steps:
  • A visual examination of the ventilation system
  • Measurement of its technical performance
  • Assessment of the control system

The steps of exhaust ventilation testing

The visual examination part of local exhaust ventilation testing is intended to verify that the equipment is indeed in good working condition and that it is sufficiently clean. This part of the process involves examining the various components carefully for any signs of damage or wear.

The measurement stage of local exhaust ventilation testing involves gauging the technical performance of the equipment with regard to its conformance with industry standards. During this part of the procedure, the air velocity is tested at various points in the ventilation system including the hood and ducts. Among the other features tested are the fan and motor speed, and the electrical consumption of the entire system.

The third stage of local exhaust ventilation testing involves an assessment of worker exposure to contaminants. This part of the process may involve an extensive smoke testing procedure, as well as a check of the smoke alarms to ensure that they are activated when smoke is present.

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