Local exhaust ventilation (LEV), also known as dust and/or fume extraction, captures and removes dust, mist, gas, vapour or fumes out of the air in a workplace before people inhale potentially harmful substances.

Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, as an employer, you have a duty to control the risks from potentially harmful substances. Some chemicals can also be flammable or corrosive. Controls must be suitable for those hazards too. Installing a LEV may help you to do this.

Before considering LEV you should consider;

  • Eliminating the cause / source
  • Look for an alternative material to that which is being used for something safer
  • Reduce the size of the source
  • Modify processes to reduce frequency and duration of the emissions
  • Reduce the number of employees exposed or involved in the process
  • Apply control measures such as fitting lids to the equipment 

LEV systems need to be properly designed, installed, commissioned and regularly tested to ensure that the system works properly. LEV and visible ducting should be checked weekly for signs of damage.

Most LEV systems need a thorough inspection / examination and test once each year by competent engineer and recertified however, some LEV systems (such as those controlling more critical or high-hazard processes) need more frequent thorough examination and testing.

Depending on the scale of work, releases into the atmosphere may be regulated within the pollution prevention and control (PPC) framework.

Chemical & Biological Hazards Guide

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