Updated: Apr 20, 2021
I have been told that I need my LEV thoroughly examined and tested, what does this mean?
Health and safety law says you must assess the risks to your workers from hazardous substances – dusts, fumes, vapours, etc. - and decide what measures to use to protect their health.
If the measures you adopt include extraction systems (LEV) to remove the dusts, fumes, vapours etc. produced by your work processes or activities, then you must maintain the LEV in efficient working order so it continues to provide the necessary protection. You should have a periodic Thorough Examination and Test (at least every 14 months or less if stipulated in COSHH Schedule 4) and must keep this record for at least 5 years. In addition, you should have information on the installed LEV system to confirm it provides adequate protection, which should be kept for the life of the equipment.
What is the purpose of a Thorough Examination and Test?
It is a check that your LEV is still working as effectively as originally intended and is helping to protect your employees' health. To be able to tell if it is still working as it should, you should be able to provide the examiner with information about the intended or designed performance of your system e.g. hood type and position relative to the process, airflow and other measurements.
This information might be in the form of an initial appraisal or commissioning report, if one was carried out, or for simple 'stand alone' systems it could have been provided as standard operating data by the suppliers of extraction equipment. Alternatively, it might be found in recognised guidance (including that from HSE) on simple processes/systems (e.g. COSHH Essentials). If none of this is available, you could consider getting someone competent to advise you.
Who can undertake the Thorough Examination and Test and what responsibility does that person have?
Carrying out a Thorough Examination and Test of LEV equipment requires specialist skills and although it is possible to undertake this on your own, most businesses engage someone with specialist knowledge, experience and skills. It is important that the person who undertakes the Thorough Examination and Test is competent to do so.
The examiner will use information about your equipment's intended performance to undertake the necessary examinations, tests and measurements to verify whether it is still meeting this level of performance. The report that they provide for you should clearly show whether this is the case and if it isn't, the report should clearly show what is wrong and what needs to be done to correct it.
It is important that you:
1. Read and understand your Thorough Examination and Test report
2. Ask the examiner questions if you don't understand anything that it says
3. Make sure you act on the recommendations in the report.
What information does the examiner need?
To assess if the LEV is still working properly, the examiner ideally needs to know what it was originally intended to do. When you obtained the LEV equipment, the supplier should have tested it on installation (or 'commissioned' it) to check it was working effectively and providing the necessary protection, as specified. If this did not happen then other sources of information may be available.
The person doing the examination should let you know whether the information you provide is adequate for assessing whether the LEV is working as intended. Many examiners can help you identify intended performance information.
What should be in the LEV examination?
The law says that a record of the Thorough Examination and Test should be kept. The HSE Approved Code of Practice gives practical advice on what the report should contain, which includes details of the system's intended operating performance. It is strongly recommended that you get a report that follows this guidance. If you do so you will probably be doing enough to comply with the legal requirement to keep a record.
How should I choose my examiner?
The person who undertakes your Thorough Examination and Test must be competent to do so. If you don't understand what the examiner is saying or what the report means, then ask. A good examiner will be able to tell you beforehand whether they have enough information for them to be able to check if your LEV system is working as intended.
If you have any questions that weren't covered in this FAQ section, or would like more information, Call us on +44(0)1563 546807 or click here to contact RCS.