Ensuring HSE compliance for metalworkers through leading LEV Inspections

The HSE is inspecting metalworking operations across the country until March – here's what you need to know to ensure you’re compliant.  

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is currently inspecting metalworking operations across the nation and will be focused on the measures employers are taking to ensure their workers’ protection from fluid or mist exposure. 

Metalworking organisations of all sizes could be subject to inspection, including: 

  • Large car manufacturers 
  • Small body shops 
  • Agricultural attachment manufacturers 
  • Engineering firms 

This is why it’s so important to partner with a competent provider who can ensure your site safety, like Vulcan Inspection Services.  

Preparing for your HSE inspection  

With the HSE prioritising clean air in the workplace, here are the main areas they’ll be inspecting where businesses typically fall short:  

  • Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV): LEV is a ventilation system that extracts contaminants, such as dusts, mists, gases, vapour or fumes out of the air so that they can’t be breathed in. Inadequate or absent LEV systems are major reasons businesses fail to comply with regulations. It’s critical to install LEV systems, especially on CNC machines where operators are exposed to metalworking fluid mist, as LEV is the primary control measure to minimise inhalation exposure. 
  • Fluid Quality Management: Water-based metalworking fluids degrade over time, potentially harboring harmful bacteria. Regular monitoring and maintenance are crucial to mitigate health risks. Inadequate management of fluid quality is a common cause of non-compliance, posing risks to worker safety. 
  • Health Surveillance: Health surveillance is essential for workplace safety, particularly in environments with fluid or mist exposure. Legally mandated programs proactively identify potential health issues among workers through regular health checks. Even with preventive measures like fluid quality checks and LEV systems, health surveillance remains a legal requirement. It complements LEV inspections by ensuring timely intervention to protect worker health.

Just some of the consequences of being found by the HSE to be non-compliant are hefty penalties, fines, and even prison time. Don’t take risks when it comes to your people and site, by contacting one of our experts today!  

Why do you need a LEV at your property? 

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH), state that employers must control the risks from hazardous substances and take necessary steps to minimise the risk from impacting workers. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEVs) are effective in mitigating this risk. You can visit the HSE site to find out more.  

How LEV systems can keep you and your workers safe and healthy 

The HSE’s campaign to promote clean air for metalworkers is more important than ever. The manufacturing industry has a substantially higher rate of occupational asthma than other industries, with over 19,000 cases of respiratory issues linked to work reported annually, according to the HSE. 

As well as this, exposure to metalworking fluids can cause serious risks to both respiratory health and skin. Whether through direct contact with unprotected skin—especially on the hands, forearms, and face—or inhalation of machining-generated mist, the potential for lung diseases like occupational asthma and occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis is hugely increased. However, all these risks can be prevented with the proper measures in place. Contact us today to learn more.  

LEV daily checklist for metal workers 

There are multiple steps that you and your employees can take each day to ensure your LEV is compliant and safe for use, including: 

  • Checking that the indicator shows that the LEV is working properly.  
  • Making sure that the LEV is taking away all the harmful dust, fumes, and gas, including invisible particles where possible.  
  • Verifying if there are any signs it is not working properly, like smells or settled dust.  
  • Checking that there are no unusual noises or vibrations coming from it.  
  • Ensuring its inspections are up to day, that it’s been thoroughly tested by a competent person, such as one of our engineers at Vulcan Inspection Services, and that it has a ‘tested’ label that is within date.  
  • Making sure your employees are telling you, or another supervisor, if they think anything might be wrong.  

Speak to a member of our team today to ensure your LEV system is safe for continued use. 

Specialist Local Exhaust Ventilation inspections 

Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems are critical for keeping people in manufacturing spaces safe. They work by controlling, capturing, or containing airborne particles at, or close to, the point of emission through ventilation. They then release the pollutant as a point where it can be safely collected or released.  

During this campaign, the HSE will be inspecting LEVs to ensure they’re adequately minimising the risk of pollutant exposure, so make sure you’re up to code today. At Vulcan Inspection Services, we can ensure that the critical LEV systems at your metalworking site are compliant, and are, more importantly, keeping you and your team safe. 

Comprehensive Statutory Inspection services 

While LEVs play an important role in site safety and compliance, don’t neglect your statutory requirements.  

At Vulcan Inspection Services, we can support you with our range of inspections designed to keep your plant and equipment legally compliant. Our services include: 

  • Lifting equipment inspections, carried out in accordance with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). 
  • Pressure equipment assessments, covering a everything from boilers to steam traps and much more in between. Our inspections adhere to the stringent requirements of the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR). 
  • Work equipment inspections, covering everything from work tools to pallet trucks, conducted in compliance with the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). 

No matter your equipment, requirements or specifications, we’ll tailor our risk management services into a bespoke programme that suits you. Get in touch with a member of the team today to find out more!  

About Vulcan Inspection Services  

Your safety, our priority. 

At Vulcan Inspection Services, we’re proud to be an independent, leading supplier of specialist end-to-end risk management services which we provide to our customers in the manufacturing sector and beyond.  

We work with thousands of manufacturing organisations every year to help them maintain their critical equipment and keep their people safe from harmful contaminants.  We’ll work with you to ensure that your LEV systems are correctly set up to minimise risk for your workers.  

As our customer, you can rest assured that your assets, equipment, and the safety of your people are in good hands. 

Learn more about our expert Local Exhaust Ventilation system inspections. 

Alternatively, speak to a member of the team today to keep your site compliant.