Over the last few years, school authorities and governing bodies are increasingly focused on minimising the health risks associated with certain subjects taught in schools. Furthermore, strict legislation is in place to help ensure that all schools meet certain standards to protect pupils and staff in the classroom and heavy penalties can apply to those that do not.
At Tecomak Environmental Services, we are specialists in providing ventilation solutions for a wide range of environments, including education and healthcare industries. Here, we take a look at Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems, what they are, which school subjects need them, the relevant legislation, and how we can help you meet all the testing requirements and ongoing maintenance for your solution.
What are LEV Systems?
Many industries and environments can produce potentially harmful contaminants during day to day operations. These can include poisonous fumes, dust, or other particles that are at risk of coming into contact with workers or being inhaled.
Different LEV systems generally work on the same principle – contaminants are removed from the operation areas via extractors and tubing systems, consolidated into a designated area and processed for safe disposal.
Installing an LEV solution is extremely important for it to effectively control the dust or fumes and remove the health risks to workers in the area, but picking the right type of system can get confusing. There are lots of different options to suit the wide variety of operations that can produce these harmful contaminants, including canopies and extraction arms, filters, fume cupboards and extraction hoods. Some solutions for industry can even be large enough to stand and operate in, while others are small enough to be attached to handheld tools.
At Tecomak, we take the time to understand exactly what operations will be carried out in the environment, so we can deliver the most effective LEV for you.
There are a number of subject areas taught in schools that have the potential to expose children and staff to harmful contaminants. Generally, these fall with the Design and Technology and Science subjects, such as metalworking, woodworking, and chemistry.
With so much evidence that ineffective or absent LEV systems cause adult workers long-term and even life-threatening health conditions, including asthma, lung scarring and cancer, it is extremely important that children are protected in the classroom.
A common example of this is Metal Fume Fever, a condition that can occur when someone is exposed to chemicals resulting from heating certain metals, such as welding and metal cutting. This is easily prevented with an effective LEV system that prevents workers from coming into contact with the chemicals.
It is not optional for schools to install an LEV system. The 2002 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulation (COSHH) mandates that “Preventing exposure should always be the first consideration”. Should a school fail to provide sufficient protection against harmful contaminants in the classroom, they are liable for prosecution and a fine.
Of course, taking the time to get the right LEV installed in the classroom is important. The purpose of the LEV needs to be fully understood, and experts need to be involved in the design and installation of the system from the beginning. Otherwise, a school could be left with a solution that simply does not work and will face the cost of removing the system and starting again.
The Importance of LEV Maintenance and Testing
It is not enough for a school to simply have a system installed in a classroom. The LEV needs regular maintenance and testing to ensure it is doing its job.
COSHH provides regulations for this too, stating that:
- All LEV systems be tested AT LEAST once every 14 months
- All equipment must be maintained
- No holes or damage
- Kept in a clean condition
- Any repairs must be conducted to a high standard
- Depending on the substance, alarmed systems may be required for effective maintenance and operation
Tecomak can supply all the LEV testing and maintenance your system requires. Our engineers are fully qualified to ensure the system meets all the regulation requirements and keeps working effectively and efficiently. We will agree a testing and maintenance schedule with you, provide reminders when the next inspection is due, and schedule visits with other local schools to keep costs down. Where possible, we will conduct testing and maintenance on the same visit to minimise any disruption in the classroom. We also keep all the reports we produce for you for 10 years and provide any spares needed at no extra cost.
If you would like to know more about our LEV maintenance and testing services, please click here.