When it comes to CNC machines used in the metalworking industry, safety and efficiency are paramount. One critical component that often goes overlooked is the Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system. In this article, we’ll dive into what an LEV unit is, explore its necessity, and answer some commonly asked questions, including its legal requirements and testing schedules. For those looking to optimise their facilities, our Mistmaster LEV System is an excellent solution.
Is LEV a Legal Requirement?
In the United Kingdom, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations of 2002 mandate that employers minimise exposure to oil mist particles to levels that are ‘As Low As Reasonably Practicable’ (ALARP). For most businesses, this typically translates to the implementation of an oil mist extraction system as a central method for hazard control.
What is the Purpose of an LEV Unit?
The primary purpose of an LEV system is to control the emission of fumes, dust, and other airborne contaminants that can be harmful when inhaled. During metalworking processes, CNC machines can generate oil mist, metal particulates, and hazardous fumes that could pose serious health risks to operators and other workers in the area. Unchecked exposure to oil mist, for example, can lead to various cancers and respiratory conditions.
An LEV unit, like the MistMaster, captures these contaminants at the source, filters them out, and recirculates clean air back into the workspace. This ensures a safer and more comfortable work environment while also increasing the lifespan of your CNC machines by keeping them cleaner.
Statutory Requirements for the LEV System
It’s not enough to merely install an LEV unit; it must also meet specific statutory requirements to ensure it functions as intended. These standards often include:
- Efficiency: The unit must effectively capture and remove airborne contaminants.
- Safety: The system should have built-in safety features, such as indicators.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance protocols must be in place.
- Documentation: Records of installation, testing, and maintenance should be well-kept for compliance purposes.
The MistMaster meets and exceeds these requirements, making it an ideal choice for businesses keen on both compliance and efficiency.
How Often Should LEV Testing be Done?
Regular testing is crucial to ensure that your LEV system remains compliant and effective. The frequency of testing depends on various factors such as the type of contaminants, the level of risk, and local regulations. In the UK, it is a legal requirement to conduct comprehensive LEV tests at a minimum frequency of once every 14 months. Certain high-risk applications may necessitate more frequent testing. Consulting with LEV experts and adhering to local regulations is essential to determine the correct testing schedule tailored to your specific application.
Workplace Safety & Efficiency
In the UK, it’s common for businesses to keep a close eye on budgets and look for savings. However, skimping on essential safety measures like mist extraction is a risk that’s not worth taking. Here’s why maintaining a mist extraction system is actually a smart financial move.
🔥 Energy Cost Efficiency
Mist extraction units possess the capability to recirculate warm air back into the facility. This feature is particularly advantageous during the colder months, offering substantial savings on heating expenditures.
🧼 Operational Cleanliness Equals Cost-Effectiveness
By reducing oily residues on floors, ceilings, and work surfaces, mist extraction units indirectly lessen the frequency and therefore, the cost of cleaning services required to maintain the workspace.
👩⚕️ Enhanced Employee Wellness and Productivity
Improved air quality significantly reduces the likelihood of health-related absenteeism. The resultant increase in productivity has a beneficial impact on the bottom line.
📜 Regulatory Compliance: Mitigate Financial Risk
Adhering to COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations not only safeguards employee health but also mitigates the risk of incurring substantial fines and enforcement actions from regulatory bodies such as the HSE.
The Bottom Line
Incorporating an effective LEV system is not just a legal necessity but also a prudent investment for the long-term success of your metalworking operation. It provides a healthier, safer work environment, reduces the risk of regulatory fines, and prolongs the life of your valuable CNC machines.
If you’re in the market for a reliable, efficient, and compliant LEV unit, consider our MistMaster Extraction System. It is engineered to meet the rigorous demands of the metalworking industry, offering a one-stop solution for all your LEV needs.
For more information or to discuss your specific needs, contact us today.