LEV systems for educational institutions

Schools and colleges have a responsibility to keep their students, technicians and teachers safe. This is a wide-ranging obligation and to fulfil some of it, dust and fume extraction systems will almost certainly be necessary. Chemicals in science laboratories; and dusts, fumes and mists from workshops all pose a significant risk.

Vent-Tech has helped many educational institutions with their dust and fume extraction and to manage the risks faced in these environments, including Cranfield University, City of Bristol College and St Mary Redcliffe School. We can bring this same experience to you to ensure you keep everyone on your site safe.

Processes in schools and colleges requiring LEV systems

School science laboratories often feature fume cupboards from which fumes need to be extracted safely. As well as having the right system, to begin with, it will need to be serviced regularly. This is important to prevent filters from being saturated and chemicals being released back into the environment.

Over in the workshops, where college students are undertaking metalwork, the brazing hearth will need venting efficiently and harmful substances removed from the environment. Exposure to metalworking fluids can cause dermatitis and other skin diseases. And mists from badly managed water-mix metalworking fluids can cause occupational asthma.

Where there is welding, welding fumes need to be removed. Studies have demonstrated a link between welding and respiratory ill health. Welding fumes are also known to be a cause of fume fever and pneumonia.

In vehicle workshops, it is essential that exhaust fumes are adequately controlled.

Woodwork also presents risks from the wood dust. It is essential that students and staff are protected by effective extraction of wood dust. This is because when it is inhaled it can cause asthma. Hardwood dust can also cause nasal cancer and work with some types of wood can lead to skin problems. The HSE says that exposure to all types of wood dust must be reduced as far below the workplace exposure limit (WEL) of 5 mg/m3 as is reasonably practicable.

3D printers are becoming increasingly common in schools and colleges. HSE studies have found significant emissions are given off from both plastic and metal applications. At present, some 3D printers come with a box featuring a fan at the back which just emits fumes into the room. The HSE recommend that 3D printers should have a full enclosure box. This should have a filter that captures the fumes from melting plastic and metal and prevents them from being released into the room.

Advising schools and colleges on LEV extraction systems

The primary solution to dust and fume risks in educational laboratories and workshops will be LEV systems. These control and remove the harmful substances at the source, limiting human exposure to them.

Vent-Tech has deep expertise and wide-ranging practical experience in LEV systems. We advise educational institutions on bespoke dust and fume extraction systems that will meet the HSE’s strict criteria for keeping students, technicians and teachers safe from these hazardous substances.


“ I was not part of the project team when Vent-Tech installed the initial system but it continues to work effectively, ensuring that our staff and students are not risking their health. I have, though, worked with Vent-Tech on several occasions since then on other projects, and their flexibility and expertise about all areas of LEV continue to impress. They respond quickly to any requirements and generally look after us, as well as testing our systems each year to ensure we continue to comply with health and safety requirements. I would happily recommend them to other companies needing similar projects undertaken.”

Steve Ramsden, City of Bristol College, Building Services Engineer

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