What are the Differences Between LEV Commissioning and LEV Testing?

June 5, 2024

Our expert engineers speak with a lot of people who are focused on fulfilling their COSHH obligations and always get their annual LEV testing booked in with us early; however, their LEV systems have never been properly commissioned. This is an easy mistake to make, especially for managers who have come into their role after the LEV system was installed. Even so, LEV commissioning is a legal responsibility, and an important step in ensuring the safety of your employees.


What is a LEV Commissioning Report

LEV commissioning is ideally done immediately after your LEV installation to see how the system performs compared to the design specification (after all, a brand new system should be providing peak performance) and repeated if anything changes to ensure control is being maintained.


A commissioning report acts as a benchmark from which subsequent LEV testing results can be compared. This means that any deviations from the commissioning report in the testing results can be investigated, and it’s easier to flag potential issues before they get worse and become more costly to repair.


Commissioning Report vs Testing 

The main difference between these two services is that commissioning confirms the system is providing adequate control whereas the testing compares with the commissioning.

When an engineer signs off a commissioning document they are providing a guarantee that the person using that system will be protected and kept safe from potentially contracting a deadly disease such as occupational asthma, cancer or CPD.


Commissioning will dictate the frequency and reasons that they take place.

Routine testing legally needs to be undertaken by a competent person every 14 months to check the system continues to perform as intended and highlight any areas for improvements or fixes.

On the other hand, commissioning takes place after the system has been installed, or after any modifications have been made to the system. The commissioning report is then used when LEV testing to compare current performance with benchmark figures recorded after installation. 


Note: Commissioning is considered the first Thorough Examination and Test of your system and the subsequent report would satisfy the HSE as a test report. 


What to Do if Your LEV System has Never Been Commissioned?

Although not ideal, it is possible to retrospectively commission an LEV system. This would require a full service and clean of the system, including new filters to bring the system as close as possible to its as-new performance, the system would then be tested to make sure it is providing adequate control.  It is even possible to retrospectively commission a system if there is no design spec available. In this case, as there is no specification to compare to, the system would be tested to make sure it is providing adequate control and the commissioning report would then become the benchmark for the system.


What is in an LEV Commissioning Report

When an LEV assessor writes up a commissioning report it will include useful information and figures to help maintain the upkeep of your LEV system. Your commissioning report should include:

  • A statement indicating whether the four key statutory obligations under COSHH are met:
    • The system effectively controls the hazardous substance
    • The system is in good condition
    • The system is clean
    • The system is being used correctly
  • General Arrangement drawings and schematics together with a description of the LEV
  • Photographs of the system
  • Details of the LEV performance specification and whether it is being achieved
  • Pressures, air volume flow rates and velocities at specified test points
  • Written descriptions of the commissioning process, the tests conducted, and the outcomes of
    • Air sampling results either direct reading instrument, static monitoring or personal monitoring
    • Filter efficiencies including the concentration of the contaminant in the cleaned air if returned to the workplace
    • A description of how operators were using the LEV and how they should use the LEV for effective operation
    • A prioritised service and maintenance plan for the LEV system


Where Does LEV Servicing Come into it?

We also offer LEV servicing, which is again different to testing and commissioning. LEV servicing is not a legal responsibility; however, it is highly recommended. Having quarterly LEV servicing is a good way to catch small issues and fix them before they escalate into more costly and time-consuming problems. With the right training, this can also be brought completely in-house! 


How Can Vent-Tech Help?

Our team of LEV experts have a wealth of experience with both LEV commissioning, testing and servicing. We can ensure that your systems are running efficiently and that you have all the relevant documents should the HSE come to inspect. 

With a focus on training and sharing expertise, we are leaders in reducing occupational hazards associated with air quality and improving understanding of how managers can keep their employees safe. 

If you have any questions or uncertainties related to your LEV system, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.