Exposure to fumes in the workplace can lead to serious health problems such as occupational asthma, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
This is often the result of inadequate control measures which do not effectively prevent exposure to airborne contaminants. It is the legal responsibility of ALL employers to comply with The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) (COSHH), to ensure that their employees’ exposure to hazardous fumes is either prevented or adequately controlled. At McCarthy Environmental Ltd, we are able to offer a range of solutions to control workers’ exposure to fumes.
Our Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are tailored to the needs of our clients, providing effective control of hazardous substances and protecting the health of their operatives.
Our fume extraction (LEV) systems are designed to effectively control exposure to hazardous fumes, vapours, gases, smoke, and vapourised solids. Exposure to substances with toxic, irritant, corrosive, or carcinogenic properties can lead to serious health issues. Every year, many people die or become permanently disabled due to conditions developed from prolonged exposure to fumes. Examples of hazardous substances which can cause health issues include welding fume, soldering fume, cleaning agents, solvents, adhesives, vehicle exhaust fumes, and heated fumes from oven processes. If the fumes generated from these processes are not adequately controlled, these can be breathed in by the operator as well as other people in the vicinity.
Airborne contaminants can be classified as ‘Inhalable’ or ‘Respirable’, depending on the size of the particles. Fumes typically consist of respirable particles, measuring between 0.001 and 1 micron in diameter. Respirable particles are especially hazardous as they are small enough penetrate deep into the lungs after they have been breathed in. Fume particles are also dangerous because they are not always visible to the naked eye. Therefore, a person’s exposure to fumes may be more severe than it looks, and they may be breathing in hazardous substances without knowing.
In addition to the health issues they cause, certain fumes are also hazardous as they can create an explosive atmosphere. To control these fumes, suitable LEV equipment with the appropriate ATEX rating must be used, to minimise the risk of ignition sources creating fires or an explosion. McCarthy Environmental offer a range of ATEX rated fans and filter units to suit our clients’ requirements. (Note: it is the employer’s responsibility to classify the areas where an explosive atmosphere may occur into the appropriate ATEX zones).
At McCarthy Environmental Ltd, we offer bespoke fume extraction packages which are suited to the needs of the employer and the end user. As an employer, you can be assured that the solution we put in place will allow your company to comply with the latest COSHH regulations. Our fume extraction systems help to create a safe working environment for the operators, who can continue to work efficiently knowing that their health is being protected. Our designers hold current BOHS P602 Proficiency Certificates in Basic Design Principles of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems, meaning that our systems are designed in accordance with the latest regulations.
The effectiveness of an LEV system relies heavily on the type of hood being used. The hood needs to be suited to the process, the source of the fumes, the type of fumes, and the operator’s method of work. We use a wide range hood types in our LEV designs and work with a number of suppliers, so we can provide a solution which ticks all of the boxes. LEV hoods come in many different forms, however they can be classified into three main categories: ‘Enclosing’, ‘Receiving’, and ‘Capturing’ hoods.
Enclosing hoods offer the highest level of protection from hazardous substances, as the process and the emitted fumes are both contained within the hood. These types of hoods create a physical barrier, which prevents the fumes from escaping and being breathed in by the operator or others in the vicinity. We implement a range of enclosing hoods into our fume extraction systems, such as spray booths, fume cupboards, benchtop enclosures, and full room enclosures.
There are some instances where an enclosing hood is not practical, as this would prevent the operator from being able to carry out their work process. In this case, a receiving or capturing hood is required, where the process is outside of the hood and the fumes are directed into the hood opening. The most common form of receiving hood is a canopy sited above a hot process, to control the rising fumes. We install bespoke receiving hoods in our fume extraction systems, appropriately sized for the process and contaminant.
Capturing hoods are the most frequently used type of hood for LEV systems, where the process and the fumes are outside the hood. The airflow generated at the entrance of the hood draws in the fume as it is emitted, preventing it from escaping into the workroom. Examples of capturing hoods we offer include flexible capture arms, downdraft benches, plenums, and slot extraction.
Our LEV systems control hazardous fumes at their source, and transport them away to protect people in the workplace from exposure. To convey these fumes safely, we use high quality ductwork suited to the type of fume and the working environment. McCarthy Environmental work with a number of ductwork manufacturers, meaning we can offer smooth bore and spiral wound ductwork, in galvanised, stainless, and mild steel. We also install plastic duct systems, manufactured from PVC and Polypropylene.
To prevent further exposure, our LEV systems safely discharge hazardous fumes to external atmosphere. Designed with high-velocity exhaust stacks, your system will ensure that the fumes are dispersed in accordance with the latest regulations. For applications where discharge to atmosphere is not possible, we are able to implement local extraction units to filter out hazardous fumes. These filter units feature multi-stage filtration, with particulate filters and high quality HEPA filters to ensure the air is thoroughly cleaned. To control fumes which generate strong odours, we can implement activated carbon filtration on both our recirculating and externally vented LEV systems.