No matter what workshop you work in, extraction is paramount. Your safety should always come first and making sure you have the right extraction system in place will improve this no end.
If you’re an employer or employee, you will have undoubtedly heard of LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) and its implications, as in the workplace you have to comply to COSHH (Care of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations. But if you’re a home user, you may not have heard of it.
What is LEV?
Simply put, LEV is extraction and is about getting the right system in place for the type of work you do. This is so you can reduce exposures to airborne contaminants such as dust in the workplace.
An LEV system typically comprises five parts:
- Hood – Captures the contaminant at its source
- Ducting – Conducts air from hood to discharge point
- Air cleaner – Filters or cleans extracted air
- Air mover – The engine that moves the air through the system – usually a fan
- Discharge – To release air into a safe place
We could go on and on (very easily) about this subject but we won’t as you would be here for quite a while. If you want to learn more about LEV, the HSE has an extremely thorough guide on all of its aspects which you can find here http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg258.pdf.
What we ARE going to give you is a brief insight into how you can get the right LEV system in place for your wood workshop so you can stay safe while working.
The small home workshop
As this generally involves you, working in your own workshop, you don’t have to comply to COSHH regulations about LEV. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about it, far from it in fact.
When thinking about extraction at home, it’s important to consider the size of the machines, their extraction ports and the air velocity needed to safely extract the waste.
A lot of smaller machines will have extraction ports in varying sizes ranging from 31 to 63mm, so getting the correct extractor and extraction system that will maintain high air velocity in these systems is vital. We would recommend a vacuum extractor (low air volume, high vacuum pressure) to reduce the risk of blockages.
Other things to consider with this is a 63mm extraction system and rubber reducers to connect the smallest of the machines to the system itself. If you’re someone who uses a mobile vacuum extractor connected to a single machine then a 63mm hose kit will suffice.
The large home workshop
Once again, this shouldn’t have to involve complying to COSHH regulations if it’s just you using the space, but depending on the machines you’ll be fitting this to there are a few questions to answer.
When discussing a larger home workshop, we’re talking about machines with 100mm dust extraction ports which will require high volume, low pressure extractors such as the AWEDE2, which has a 1hp motor.
If you’re connecting a single machine to the extractor, a 100mm hose kit with hose clips should suffice, as long as the extractor you’re using has an airflow higher than the machine’s minimum extraction airflow rating. These ratings will be found on the machine’s specification tag, on the website or in the product manual.
Connecting to multiple machines? A basic 100mm dust extraction kit is a great place to start using an extractor with a bit more ‘suck’. A 2hp model will generally have enough airflow to cover using a couple of machines at once.
The trade workshop
The place where COSHH regulations must be considered, a trade workshop should already have an extraction system in place that will be able to cope with the quantity and size of machinery in the shop.
If however, you are looking to set up a trade workshop, there are important things to consider when designing your extraction system. Firstly, how many machines you will have in your workshop, the amount that will be in use at the same time and also the type of machines you will be using.
This should now determine the extractor you should buy. Many machines in use? An extractor with high airflow will be needed. A sander in your workshop plan as well as a table saw, planer thicknesser and bandsaw? Then a fine dust extractor is a must. Always consider the airflow that will be needed in your LEV system as maintaining the required air velocity will help greatly with compliance.
Now for the system in place. In the trade workshop, it’s best to place your extractor in a fixed position, in a room on it’s own, outside of the workshop. This will not only help reduce noise, it will also help maintain safe working distances from the extractor and is a good space saving idea.
A metal ducting kit will provide the longevity you need in a trade workshop and using manometers just after the blast gate of each machine will give you an at-a-glance indication of how well the system is performing.
In the trade workshop, always remember to consult with COSHH guidelines and make sure your LEV system is tested at least once every 14 months to remain compliant…….
- Hood design and selection are critical in the performance of LEV systems. Most machines will have this incorporated in their design (i.e. table saws & planer thicknessers) but some, such as mitre saws, will need upgrading.
- Always consider the potential machines you could use at the same time, to make sure airflow will be maintained no matter how many you use.
- The diameter of the ductwork should be large enough to enable the correct VFR (Volume Flow Rate) to be maintained.
- Ductwork should have as few bends or long lengths as possible, as this will reduce the efficiency of the system.
No matter what the workshop, extraction must be considered and not just any old extraction, you need the right extraction for your needs. Always make sure you have an extractor with comfortably enough air flow, a system that will allow air velocity to be maintained and that you equip yourself with products from a supplier that you trust.
With all of these things you can be confident you and your colleagues will be working in a safe environment so you can concentrate on the important things.
Would you like to know anymore about LEV? You can call our Business Services Team on 0800 371822 who will be able to provide advice on the system for you. We can also put you in contact with a trusted partner if you require testing or installation of LEV systems.