Soldering produces a narrow but expanding directional rising plume of fume with a high concentration gradient making it a high strength source. The plume of fumes is highly variable and prone to disturbance by ambient air movements. Uncontrolled soldering causes high personal exposures in the breathing zone; this can be 20 – 50 times the S.T.E.L dependant on the soldering scenario. This can equate to exposures exceeding the 8-hour TWA W.E.L after only 15 minutes of soldering. General ventilation at 5 air changes per hour (ach) per hour was not sufficient to control personal exposures, but was capable of reducing background exposures within the test room.
According to the HSE’s Occupational Lung Disease in Great Britain 2017 report, 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposures at work. This has led to increasingly stringent guidelines and statutory requirements for Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). HSE published the third edition of HSG258 ‘Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV)’ in 2017. This guide provides guidance on the design of new local exhaust ventilation (LEV) equipment. It describes the principles of deciding on, designing, commissioning and testing effective LEV.
As LEV is a control measure under COSHH Regulations it must be regularly and thoroughly inspected and tested. As stated above, LEV regulations outline that any employer who uses local exhaust ventilation to control hazardous substances must ensure that it is operating effectively. Local Exhaust Ventilation Testing is a legal requirement in the UK. All equipment must be thoroughly examined and tested by a competent person at least every 14 months to ensure employees are safe.
How Welding Supplies Direct can help ? WE will carry out a thorough tests in line with COSHH Regulation 9 as detailed in HSE Guide HSG258 Our levels of service can be tailored to your Companies needs. However, most clients choose to take advantage of by combining servicing with the LEV testing. See extra info on LEV Testing.
Those individuals wishing to improve their LEV knowledge and skills should consider attending a suitable training course leading to qualifications such as those provided by the Institution of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE) or the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS). Dutyholders should provide information about the full extent of an airborne dust cloud, as this is rarely visible. In some cases, such as when all the particles are smaller than ‘inhalable’, it will be completely invisible. Tyndall illumination uses the forward scattering of light to show up the cloud. Alternatively, if smoke is released into the cloud this will show up its shape, size, speed and direction.