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Ventilation for Airborne Hazards

Photo courtesy of L&I. A cloud of toxic welding smoke is being drawn away from the worker's face and into a tube-like suction device called a local exhaust system

The right ventilation can make a huge difference with safety! The local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system shown here pulls harmful fumes away, so the worker doesn't breathe them. Some systems are ready-made for specific activities, like the one shown here for welding.

Photo courtesy of L&I.

Using portable fans or natural ventilation provided by open windows or doors may be easy, but these are often not enough to protect workers from breathing harmful contaminants.

Mechanical ventilation systems that remove air are a better solution to reduce airborne contaminants to a level that is safe over a short or long period of time.

There are 2 basic types of systems:

  • Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) removes harmful contaminants at, or very near, their source.
  • General industrial ventilation systems reduce the accumulation of less harmful contaminants in a room or entire building.

These systems need to be designed and installed correctly to function effectively. In addition, worker training and a good maintenance program (per manufacturer's specifications) are essential to keeping them running as intended.

Related Topics

More help from L&I

For general information, call 1-800-423-7233.

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