The last 12 months has seen an ever-increasing infection rate of COVID -19. With vaccination programmes now in full force and the road map out COVID-19 laid out in front of us. Businesses will be hoping that their workplaces may begin to open back up to their normal operation and now is the time to ensure your working environments are safe, as the health of employees is paramount during this time.
If you work in an industry where dust and fumes are commonplace, you will already be familiar with the challenges that the Covid-19 outbreak has had on safety inspection and compliance, including how important it is to ensure a robust Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system. But have you considered the impact that a poorly maintained environment will have on your employees in today’s climate, and how that will ultimately impact the efficiency of your productivity?
Why ventilation is essential
Over time, the performance of LEV systems will naturally decline due to blockages and wear and tear, meaning that the poor filtration of dust and fumes from industrial equipment could begin to contaminate the air and affect the health of your workforce. Respiratory diseases like asthma, lung scarring, and cancer can all be exacerbated by poorly ventilated working environments, therefore leaving employees vulnerable to airborne viruses like Covid-19, ultimately impacting your workforce capabilities and financial aspects of your business.
To ensure your LEV system complies with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, inspection and testing is recommended to be done every 14 months, yet because of local and national lockdowns many companies are finding it challenging to prioritise inspections due to limited resources.
Recently, The HSE released a Covid-19 safe guide to inspection and testing of LEV systems during the Coronavirus outbreak which states that they “expect duty holders to make all reasonable efforts to arrange thorough examination and testing to be carried out within the statutory time limits.”
Organisations operating at limited capacity with fractions of their workforce limited to home working or due to imposed government self-isolation may find this difficult, therefore widening the gap between legal requirements and compliance.
If you would like some further advice please contact the health and safety team on 01302 341 344.
By Aaron Moxam – Risk Services Assistant