LEV – what competency do you need?

Most employers know that if their business produces airborne contaminant such as dusts (e.g. wood or flour), mists (e.g. from metal working fluids or spraying paints, etc.), fumes (such as welding), gases (from a furnace for example) or fumes (e.g. solvents from adhesives), then they need a local exhaust ventilation system (LEV).

The LEV is designed to take the contaminants out of the air, therefore helping to protect employees from harm – lung diseases, asthma, etc.

The design and installation of LEVs must be carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced engineer.

But what knowledge and competencies do you as an employer, and your employees, have to ensure correct use, training and instruction and maintenance?

There is plenty of guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but you would have to wade through to select the right guides.

Luckily the Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE) have developed a competency matrix that enables you to select what knowledge and guidance individuals require without having to go through all the HSE publications and FAQs.

For example, if you are an employer who owns, or is going to own, an LEV system, then the matrix will tell you what you need to read and understand to be competent in this role – in this instance the essential knowledge would be HSE INDG136 A Brief Guide to COSHH and HSE INDG370 Controlling Fire and Explosion Risk in the Workplace. In addition, the ILEVE suggest what would be desirable learning too.

The matrix will tell you what your end user trainer needs to know, and what knowledge your plant supervisor and appointed LEV responsible person need to know.

In addition, employers need to make sure they select contractors who are suitable qualified and experienced. Again, the ILEVE competency matrix gives you guidance on what you should be checking to make sure your contractors are competent.

This is a really good aid to ensuring compliance for your business.

If you want advise on safety in your workplace, or to find out if your employees are exposed to potentially harmful substances then contact Safety Management.

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