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“Alan was a very friendly and explained everything really well. The engineer Ray Baines was very professional and helpful with any problems we have had. He is a credit to your company.” - Northumberland County Council


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Northumberland is the 6th largest county in the UK, covering an area 5013km2 and spread throughout the county there are 44 middle and secondary schools with DT Departments that have 90+ items of LEV equipment. P&J Dust Extraction have been working with Northumberland County Council since 2001 following a competitive tender process.


P&J were successful in securing the annual program of LEV testing in the County’s schools, initially for a period of 3 years, which has since been renewed and additional services added; The safety inspection of DT woodworking machinery.

P&J’s LEV Testing co-ordinator is given a list of schools and contacts for the various DT departments within the County. Each year our LEV Testing team put together a proposed test schedule which takes into account the need to ensure that each school is tested within the statutory maximum interval of 14 months.


The work load at each site is considered as well as the time required to check in with reception on arrival, find the relevant staff member(s) and transport tool boxes and test equipment to the various class rooms. Travel times needed to traverse the county to reach the widely dispersed schools, often travelling on rural roads and in winter weather conditions are also factored into the LEV test schedule.


After the proposed schedule has been submitted to the County Council for approval, in principle, each school is contacted with an offer of a test date. This initial contact is by email, which is followed up by a phone call if there has been no response from the school.


It is common to chase some schools to obtain agreement to a test date that is convenient to them. Each test date invitation includes a list of the LEV equipment that our Testing team expect to test, and a reminder that we will also need to access all rooms where the LEV is situated and rooms in which the machinery it is serves is located as sometimes these are different.


Each school is reminded that our engineers will need to discuss the report with someone appropriate on site and that to comply with HSE guidance the Test team will need to see the equipment in use with the usual materials so that they can take dust exposure level readings and ensure the LEV is being used correctly.

When all of the schools have agreed a test date, the confirmed schedule is re-submitted to the Council who randomly select 5% of the tests for a QA visit. The council representative visits the selected school(s) whilst our test engineer is on site to discuss progress with the contract and observe the quality of the service.

The LEV test engineers who are usually scheduled for this contract are both AILEVE (Institutue of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers) qualified and if any additional test resource is needed we send our LILEVE qualified test engineer. In the unlikely event of more staff being required more of the 8 strong LEV test team would be scheduled.


All LEV test engineers wear the P&J uniform, always carry their P&J ID card, ILEVE LEV Competency card together with their enhanced DBS clearance.


They will always turn up to each test in a P&J Mercedes Vito van fully equipped with LEV spares and calibrated LEV test equipment. On arrival at the school, after signing in at reception, our LEV test engineer(s) meet their designated site contact, check if there have been any issues or changes since the last test, review the LEV maintenance log book and proceed with the thorough examination and test of all of the LEV on site. All of the items required by HSG258 are included in the test.

When all the LEV has been tested our engineer discusses their findings with the designated contact, explains any simple improvements that the DT department could undertake such as enhanced housekeeping or perhaps a minor hood modification. Then then finally issue new LEV log books for the user checks to be recorded over the next year.


The engineer sends his reports and photographs electronically to P&J’s head office where one of the test administration support team will compile the final report.


They will be responsible for obtaining any updates for the LEV system drawings from the office draughtsman, checking the final report against the site findings and adding any enclosure documents that the LEV engineer thought would be off benefit to the report reader to further explain the findings.


A proportion of the finished LEV reports are subject to a QA check by our own inhouse team. The finished LEV reports are emailed as PDF documents to the head of DT at each school, usually within 48 hours of the test visit. If remedial works are required a quotation for these is sent to the local authority and the school, if this is ordered the work is scheduled and carried out.


Most remedial works require a re-test to prove the effectiveness of the repairs so this will be carried out when the work has been completed.


Northumberland County Council request that a summary of all of the test findings is sent by email to the council contact at the end of each month, along with copies of the reports.


Any serious issues are notified to the council contact immediately by email. Various different summary formats are available according to the level of detail that the local authority would like; some like a copy of every report emailed to them and a summary listing only those reports where problems were identified, others prefer a CD of all reports.


P&J’s IT department can cater for all requirements. The council have very high quality standards which is why an annual contract review meeting is held at County Hall in Morpeth. P&J’s Director responsible for LEV Testing, MILEVE CMIOSH qualified, attends together with the relevant council representatives. This has culminated on very satisfactory terms for the last 13 years.

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