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Local Exhaust Ventilation

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended) state that exposure to hazardous substances must be avoided completely, or adequately controlled where this is not practicable. The Regulations require control measures to follow a strict hierarchy and engineering solutions must be applied for the control of exposure before the use of personal protective equipment is considered.

Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are an engineering control that can provide a very effective means of controlling exposure by inhalation of airborne contaminants such as pathogens, gases, dusts, vapours, fumes and mists.

In the laboratory the main types of LEV used to control exposure to chemicals and biological agents are fume cupboards and microbiological safety cabinets, respectively, which must be used appropriately to ensure they are effective.

Other forms of LEV are used in workshops, for example, where systems will vary according to the work being undertaken. However, many systems perform badly, often because of poor design specification, inappropriate additions, lack of maintenance or improper use.

The webpages on LEV have been subdivided into parts as indicated on the right hand side of this page. Please note that there are separate Logbooks for Fume Cupboards, Capture Hoods and Microbiological Safety Cabinets (MSCs).

Summary of Departmental Responsibilities:

Departments are required to:

  • Notify the Estates Department of all existing LEV systems (other than those by completion of an annual return) such that they can be incorporated into the required statutory examination and testing regime. Estates are responsible for the statutory examination and testing of LEV systems that they have been notified of.
  • Notify the Estates Department of any newly installed LEV system, along with a copy of the commissioning data, such that the new system can be added to the statutory testing register.
  • Provide LEV operatives with appropriate training in the effective use and management of LEV systems.
  • Complete a daily inspection checklist, or implement a similar system, to ensure that routine system performance is monitored and recorded and that any defect reported for remedial action is logged, detailing the actions taken– pro forma logbooks are available via the right-hand menu to record these daily checks and any remedial action.
  • Implement an appropriate maintenance plan for all LEV systems, with maintenance of suitable records by a named responsible person.
  • Ensure appropriate decontamination is carried out prior to the inspection, test, or maintenance of equipment or plant that any test engineer could come into contact with. A Certificate of Decontamination should be completed where this is the case and attached to the sash/system so that it is visible.