Since we are speaking as a Thought Leader at Food Safety Europe 2020, we are able to offer you 20% off a ticket to the event.
Food Safety Europe 2020 takes place on Wednesday 12th February at County Hall in London. It is a BRCGS event for food safety professionals and all those who are interested in improving food safety management in retail, food service and manufacturing environments. The one-day conference will help you keep consumers safe despite the challenges, promising to deliver valuable insights and constructive knowledge-share. It also presents a networking opportunity.
20% Off Food Safety Europe 2020
Get 20% off your ticket with our promo code HVDS20. Click here to book. The full ticket price is £350, £290 for BRCGS partners or £120 for full-time students.
The day will include talks by speakers, including our very own Air Filtration and Ventilation Consultant, Tony Carvell. Other speakers include Helen Sisson, Group Technical Director at 2 Sisters Food Group, Stuart Kelly, Head of Commercial Customised Assurance at Lloyd’s Register, Rebecca Sudworth, Head of Policy at Food Standards Agency and John Figgins and David Brackston, technical specialists from the BRCGS, among others.
The event will also include the presentation of the BRCGS Food Safety (Europe) Awards, which will recognise “the outstanding commitment, support and performance of individuals and organisations who contribute to the development of the BRCGS Standards scheme and the wider food safety industry in the European markets”.
For a full programme of the day, please click here.
Etc Venues County Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB. County Hall is on the South Bank of the River Thames, next to Westminster Bridge.
For more information about our attendance at Food Safety Europe 2020, contact us here. We will also be exhibiting at Foodex at the NEC, Birmingham from 30th March to 1st April this year. Come and see us on stand J201 in Hall 20.
Thank you to all who completed the HVDS Annual Survey about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Your responses help us to understand even better the market for air filtration and ventilation in the food industry. Here are the Annual Survey 2019 results.
Number of AHUs
Almost three quarters of respondents have between 1 and 20 Air Handling Units (AHUs) on site. 17% have between 20 and 50 and 11% have more than 50.
In-house v. Third Party Filter Changes
An overwhelming 86% of sites use a third party to change their filters, instead of using their own engineers, and these are changed to a set schedule, rather than by pressure drop readings.
New Developments/Changes for 2020
In order of importance, the changes to be made by sites over the coming year are using a third party filtration service, investing in dust extraction equipment, testing and monitoring Indoor Air Quality and mapping airflow. Next on the list comes implementing a ductwork cleaning schedule, followed by reviewing air filter change frequency and carrying out repairs to the air handling system. None of the respondents listed intending to invest in additional AHUs or investing in in-house engineer training as something they wanted to implement in 2020.
IAQ Priorities for 2020
Top of the list for priorities for 2020 comes employee health and safety issues when it comes to Indoor Air Quality. Next in line comes meeting BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8, meeting cost reduction targets and causing minimal disruption to the production process, which carry an equal weighting. After that comes meeting customer audit requirements and a few respondents want to address specific issues on site.
The overwhelming majority of respondents have to comply with SafeContractor – with Human Focus, Food Hygiene Certification and other company specific compliance requirements coming in second.
We hope you found the Annual Survey 2019 results of interest. If you would like any information about any of our services, please contact us here or get in touch on 01785 256976.
This week we filmed our new corporate video on location at customer premises. We captured footage of our engineers doing what they do best, such as testing LEVs, changing air filters, conducting surveys, cleaning ductwork, maintaining air socks, monitoring workplace air and inspecting air handling units.
The video was shot at a UK food factory and the day’s filming involved engineers from the HVDS Hygiene Team, air filtration team and dust extraction team and was also attended by HVDS Marketing Manager, Rachel Robb. Rachel says,
“We wanted to create a video that accurately showcases our services so that prospective customers would know what to expect from HVDS. We think this video will get under the skin of what we do by showing the engineers in action on site.”
The filming was carried out by film and video production company, Lilac Films with Steve Cranston behind the camera. Steve has produced professional corporate videos over the years for local and national organisations. http://lilac-films.com/
Once edited, the new corporate video will feature on the HVDS website www.hvds.co.uk and will also be played with subtitles on the HVDS stand (J201 in Hall 20) at Foodex 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham from 30th March to 1st April this year. Rachel says,
“We’re really looking forward to seeing the finished product. Lilac Films are great to work with and we’re very impressed with the work Steve has done so far.”
As well as capturing the corporate video footage, Steve also took some stills during the day showing various aspects of the engineers’ work and the equipment they were working on, such as dust extraction units and air handling units both in the factory roof void and externally.
For more information about HVDS services, please contact us here, or to find out more about what our engineers could do for your business, please contact our team on 01785 256976.
You could be forgiven for thinking that your ductwork is as clean as a whistle. After all, it looks it from the outside, doesn’t it? But HVDS engineers, who have helped customers the length and breadth of the country, know that external appearance can be deceptive. Our Hygiene Team have removed a variety of substances from air handling system ductwork as part of their cleaning and maintenance service, thus improving the efficiency of the system, reducing the energy usage of the production area and optimising food safety and the health and safety of employees.
It obviously depends on what you are producing as to what lurks inside your ductwork. A recent visit to a baked goods factory revealed a build-up of mould and bacteria inside their fabric ducting. HVDS engineers removed the air socks and rather than launder them, the socks were condemned, and replacement socks were installed in the relevant production areas. The engineers also removed any debris and sanitised all other relevant parts of the Air Handling Unit to ensure maximum hygiene. All this was achieved for the factory just ahead of a major audit. Read the case study here.
At a morning food manufacturing site, a steel duct had burst under the pressure of a build-up of dust inside it. HVDS Technical Engineers arrived on site within 24 hours. When we investigated further, we found that the ductwork across the whole system was clogged with dust from production, resulting in a serious reduction in machine efficiency. Our engineers stripped down the machinery and carried out a massive clean-up exercise. It is worth noting that dust from the ductwork explosion had been dispersed across four floors of the production facility, causing a major food safety and cross-contamination hazard. Some food dusts are flammable under certain circumstances, and a resulting fire could have much worse consequences. Read the case study here.
Grease in flue extract systems can be a problem if not cleaned regularly. The photo below shows build-up in the ductwork at one UK food manufacturing site. In places the extracted product reached a depth of 3 inches or more. The grease & carbon was removed using scrapers, brushes and vacuums. In total, around 10 gallons of fluid grease and foreign matter was removed from the ductwork and extraction flue system over a period of 5 days. Read the case study here.
Our BESA qualified engineers work in accordance with industry standards, using cutting edge techniques, such as mechanical cleaning, rotary brushing, compressed air jetting and traditional hand cleaning. Internal ductwork inspections can be carried out via camera probe.
For more information about our HVAC and LEV hygiene and maintenance service, take a look here or download our brochure here. To contact us for advice or to book your visit from our Hygiene Team, please get in touch here.
2019 was a very busy and successful year for HVDS and 2020 will see us building on that growth. Here is what is in store for the company this year.
New Members of Staff
We welcome Christian Taylor, who joins our dust extraction team as Projects and Contracts Engineering Manager. Christian will be helping customers with new dust extraction system installations. For a new installation quote for your site, get in touch with Christian at firstname.lastname@example.org
As manufacturing sites continue to prioritise regular ductwork and flue extraction cleaning, we will continue to recruit engineers to our Hygiene Team. The team performs deep cleans of systems all over the UK to keep them energy efficient and audit compliant. To book your deep clean, contact us here or to enquire about a cleaning engineer role at HVDS, check our careers page here.
Our Food Industry Air Filtration and Ventilation Consultant, Tony Carvell, will be speaking at Food Safety Europe 2020 in London on 12th February. The BRCGS event, which takes place at County Hall, is a firm favourite with HVDS, as it brings together food industry professionals to discuss various aspects of food safety. It is an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from industry experts. Tony’s talk is about why it is important to take a holistic view of Indoor Air Quality. To book your place at Food Safety Europe 2020 or to find out more, click here.
We will also be exhibiting at Foodex 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham, from 30th March to 1st April. This will be the fourth time we have taken part in this show, and this year’s stand is the biggest and best for HVDS yet, showcasing all areas of our business including air filtration, fabric ducting, ductwork cleaning and dust, fume, mist, spray and oil extraction. Come along and see us on stand J201 in Hall 20.
After the success of our eFUSION™ app in 2019, which gives you 24/7 access to your air handling and air hygiene reports, we are proud to announce the MAXAIR™ app for our customers benefiting from our dust control service. The app will keep all your reports in place for easy access and audit purposes. More information to follow.
New for 2020 is our risk assessment template. In checklist format, this template guides you through everything you need to consider in order to comply with BRCGS Food safety Issue 8. It also highlights the level of risk where no action is taken. If you would like a copy of our risk assessment template, or would be interested in a full risk assessment by our trained engineers, please get in touch.
At HVDS, we recognise the value to our customers of providing useful information to help them maintain good Indoor Air Quality. For this reason, we are putting together a suite of resources that can be downloaded from our website for free. These include, for example, data sheets for each of our products, our HACCP Plan Template, our service brochures and checklists, such as this one about how to prolong the life and get the most out of your fabric ducting.
In 2020, we will continue to build on these resources. If there is anything you would find particularly useful, please drop us a line to let us know and we will do our best to provide it.
We will continue to listen to our customers to ensure we are giving them what they need and want. To help us with this, at the end on 2019, we conducted our Annual Survey. This highlighted the challenges our customers are facing and their priorities for the coming year. The results of this survey will be out later this month. Watch this space!
On behalf of the team at HVDS, we wish you all a happy and successful 2020!
We are delighted to be attending Foodex again this year! Foodex 2020 is the UK’s premier trade event for the food and drink industry and is aimed at manufacturing professionals in the processing, packaging and logistics industries. It takes place from 30th March to 1st April 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham.
As a real one-stop shop for the food and beverage industry, Foodex 2020 will highlight the top trends across the food manufacturing sectors. These trends will include improving traceability and consumer trust, food safety and transforming productivity, as well as showcasing the product launches, the newest technology and the latest ingredients and superfoods to hit the market.
The type of visitors to Foodex 2020 (and, in fact, those that would benefit the most from attending) will include health and safety representatives, site managers, equipment buyers, food technologists, warehouse managers, supply chain professionals, transport managers, both plant and craft bakers and butchers. Watch the video below to find out what visitors to Foodex 2018 said about the show.
As a specialist supplier to the food industry (serving over 100 of the largest food and drink manufacturers in the UK and Ireland), we are looking forward to making valuable contacts within the industry, as well as showcasing our 40-year plus experience in providing clean air solutions.
On our stand (J201 in Hall 20) we will be displaying our clean air services, including:
- Air filtration
- Dust, fume, spray, mist and oil extraction
- Cleaning and maintenance
At Foodex 2020, there will also be plenty of opportunity to hear about the issues that are currently shaping the industry with seminar sessions by manufacturing industry thought-leaders. In addition, with everyone who is anyone in the food and drink industry under one roof, there will be the chance to source new suppliers to further boost efficiency and productivity.
Exhibiting alongside Foodex 2020, during the same three days in neighbouring halls, is The Ingredients Show, Food & Drink Expo 2020, National Convenience Show and Farm Shop Deli Show. The five shows are expecting over 30,000 attendees, 1,500 exhibitors, 250 speakers and 100 live events.
If you are going to be at Foodex this year, we would love you to come and say hello to us on stand J201. In the meantime, feel free to connect on LinkedIn.
Today, we set out to “make the world better with a sweater”. We put on our best Christmas jumpers, Santa hats and sparkly accessories to help raise money on Christmas Jumper Day 2019 for Save The Children. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed dressing up for the day and helping to make a difference.
If you would like to donate £2 to this fantastic charity, simply text TeamHVDS to 70050.
“Your £2 donation could change a child’s life. It could help them grow up healthy and safe, and get an education, so they can grow up to be who they want to be.”Save The Children
Save The Children was founded in 1919 to aid children internationally and Princess Anne has been the charity’s president since 1971. Christmas Jumper Day was launched in 2012 on Friday, 14th December. Read more about how donations to Christmas Jumper Day 2019 will help children all over the world here.
And, if you’d like to make a difference in a different way, you can always buy a ‘virtual gift’ at the Save The Children online shop. These gifts include a birth kit for a midwife, winter clothes for a child, mosquito nets and water filters.
Our other fundraising effort this year was a collection of donations for residents in local nursing and care homes. The collection was organised by recruitment agency Adecco in Hanley, Staffordshire and between us we donated a pile of goodies, including biscuits, chocolates, toiletry sets and hand cream. These were collected this week by a member of staff from Adecco and distributed to local older people. We really hope that they enjoy receiving our gifts and that it helps to brighten their Christmas.
Thank you to all HVDS staff who took part in the Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day 2019 and who donated to the collection for older people in our community. Your efforts are very much appreciated.
We would like to thank all our customers for their continued business and support over the last year. Thank you also to our dedicated staff, who continually go the extra mile to always deliver the best service possible. 2019 has been a year of massive growth for HVDS with an increasing number of contracts with some of the largest food manufacturers in the UK and Ireland, as well as a number of dust control contracts with manufacturers across a number of industries.
Business has been booming across all areas. Our Hygiene Team, in particular, has expanded to meet customer demand. The Hygiene Team looks after our customers’ cleaning requirements, including the cleaning of:
- HVAC and LEV systems
- Oven flue extraction and ventilation systems
- Kitchen canopy and extraction systems
- Perforated air distribution ducting
- Fabric ducting
- Heating and cooling coils
- Evaporative chillers
They also carry out ductwork repairs/maintenance and internal ductwork inspections via camera probe.
The team, which helps to ensure audit compliance, according to the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8, Section 6, is coordinated by our Contracts Manager, Katy Austin, and headed up by Team Leader Cleaning Engineer, Adrian Vermaak. Over 2019, the team has grown substantially and is servicing a number of customer sites daily. Read a customer case study here.
The second team to be growing rapidly is the Dust Extraction team. This is led by Michael Yates, Site Dust Extraction Engineering Supervisor, and is coordinated by Dust Contracts and Aftermarket Sales Manager, Jane Boon. In 2020, there will be a new addition to the dust team, who will be responsible for new projects.
HVDS dust extraction engineers are trained in Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) system installation, maintenance, testing, cleaning and repair to help manufacturers comply with COSHH regulations to meet workplace safety obligations. Customers choose from a range of service packages to keep their systems working efficiently.
As a consequence of our success, 2019 has seen HVDS recruit on average one new member of staff per month and staff training and development has been very high on our agenda.
We wish all customers, contacts and staff a peaceful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Since the majority of our air filtration customers are in the food industry and their production is currently in full swing for Christmas, we thought we’d take a look at the history of some of the traditional fare we eat here in the UK over the festive season.
We were surprised to find that a lot of the food we enjoy at Christmas dates right back to medieval Britain, although there have been a few changes over time. Some of our festive food, however, started as a tradition abroad. Read on to find out more.
Turkeys were brought to Britain from America more than 500 years ago by Yorkshireman, William Strickland. In the 16th Century, turkey began appearing on the Christmas table and Henry VIII was the first English monarch to eat turkey at Christmas. Up until then people had traditionally eaten boar’s head, goose, peacock and swan.
In the 1950s, when turkey was more widely available, it became as popular as it is today. Now, we eat around 10 million turkeys every year at Christmas!
“The majority of families (76%) around the UK will serve up a succulent roast turkey as the centre piece of their festive meal this Christmas.”britishturkey.co.uk
Instead of dried fruit and spices, mince pies were originally filled with meat, such as lamb. They were fashioned in an oval shape, which represented the manger that the baby Jesus slept in.
In Stuart and Georgian times, mince pies were status symbols and people employed pastry chefs to make them in different shapes.
A medieval custom said that eating a mince pie every day from Christmas Day to Twelfth Night is supposed to bring you happiness for the year ahead.
Bringing a yule log into the house to burn was an old Nordic tradition. The largest end of the yule log (which was an entire tree!) was placed in the fire and lit from the remains of last year’s yule log. You had to be careful not to throw the ashes out on Christmas Day though, as this was thought to bring bad luck.
On Christmas Eve, after a day of fasting, people would line their stomachs with porridge, containing honey, dried fruit and spices.
In the 16th Century, the oatmeal was replaced in the recipe with wheat flour, eggs and butter. The mixture was boiled to make a plum cake.
Fruit cakes were made by wealthy families, which they coated in marzipan for Easter. A similar cake was made at Christmas using dried fruit and spices.
At HVDS, we are proud to provide air filtration and ventilation solutions to some of the most well-known brands in the UK. Thank you to all those who are working over the festive season to bring us the food we enjoy at Christmas.
For more information about our Indoor Air Quality services, contact us on 01785 256976 or get in touch here.
We often find that people don’t understand what their obligations are with regard to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) on site. This can apply to anyone responsible for clean air in a production facility – Factory Managers, Operations Managers, Engineering Managers and Hygiene Managers alike. Furthermore, different areas of a production facility (packaging, manufacturing, ripening, cooling, high care, low care etc.) can have different air handling requirements – and understanding what these requirements are, can be confusing. The HVDS Risk Assessment Template will help you take control.
What are the risks of poor IAQ?
The risks of getting air management wrong are:
Food Hygiene and Safety
Compromising food safety by allowing bacteria, mould spores, cross-contamination from other production areas (e.g. from low care to high care) can damage your process, your brand reputation and your profit.
Lack of Audit Compliance
The BRCGS conducts regular audits to ensure compliance. Inspectors do not give much notice and any notice they give is usually not adequate to correct any ongoing issues prior to the visit.
Health and Safety of Employees
From bacteria blowing through your ductwork to legionella in pooling condensate from your air handling system, poor air management can put the health and wellbeing of your workers at risk.
What is the HVDS Air Management Risk Assessment Template?
Interpreting the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8 and understanding what you need to do for full audit compliance, in terms of maintenance, cleaning, repairs, correct air handling unit installations etc. can be confusing, especially when you have different types of production areas with different requirements. One way we help to simplify things is by providing an Air Management Risk Assessment Template.
The Air Management Risk Assessment Template helps you evaluate your air handling requirements on site. It is a checklist, guiding you through a series of considerations/tasks, which will help you prioritise the actions you need to take to achieve compliance. The Air Management Risk Assessment Template also states what the risks are of not taking action. This simple working document can be used time and time again to regularly identify issues and monitor your IAQ.
Devised by HVDS Indoor Air Quality specialists, the Air Management Risk Assessment Template indicates against each consideration/task, the relevant section in the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8. Our specialists have also included some of their own recommendations to ensure that audit compliance is as complete as possible.
How to get your copy of the HVDS Air Management Risk Assessment Template
If you would like a copy of the Air Management Risk assessment Template, please contact us on 01785 256976 or get in touch here. If you would like help filling in your template, our engineers will be happy to assist. Simply get in touch to book a visit.
After handling an increased volume of production in the run-up to Christmas, many food and beverage manufacturers turn their attention to some routine cleaning and maintenance early in the new year. Air handling systems, in particular, can benefit from a bit of TLC, and at HVDS, we recommend a review of requirements, followed by a thorough clean-down of your whole system by our engineers to ensure good Indoor Air Quality and audit compliance.
You can conduct the review of cleaning and maintenance requirements yourself or we will do this for you. Look at the condition of the following:
- Air filters – Do these need changing? Review the pressure drop for all filtration stages.
- Fans – How clean are these? Is there any build-up that could lead to bacterial growth?
- Heating/cooling coils – Is there dirt trapped in the coil? Is the aluminium still in good condition? Is there a build-up of ice on the cooling coil?
- Ductwork – Check both inside and out for mould/bacteria growth or product build-up. Are the louvres operating freely and are they free of debris?
- Drains – Is condensate pooling?
- Motors – Is there a build-up of dirt?
- Belts and pulleys – Look out for exterior cracks and signs of wear.
- Air Handling Unit (AHU) – Is there build-up on the interior, sides, wall and floor?
For more help in determining your cleaning and maintenance requirements, consult BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8, section 6, or contact us on 01785 256976 or here.
At HVDS, we take staff training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) very seriously for all employees, from office staff to our engineers who are mainly out on the road visiting customer sites.
Each member of staff has a Training Plan, which is regularly monitored and reevaluated to ensure that staff have the knowledge and skills to perform their jobs to the best of their ability and to the standard required by our customers. The types of training undertaken by HVDS staff includes professional qualifications, such as the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) qualifications for engineers, health and safety qualifications and more general training in skills, such as customer service.
“CPD is the holistic commitment of professionals towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers.”
Some of our dust extraction engineers are currently working towards the P604 qualification. The P604 is an advanced proficiency qualification in “Performance Evaluation, Commissioning and Management of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems” and is Level 5 in the BOHS qualification framework. The aim of the course is to “provide candidates with the theoretical and practical knowledge to commission new and existing LEV systems, to a standard which reduces occupational ill health”, and the qualification is suitable for anyone “responsible for managing, commissioning and evaluating the performance of LEV systems”. Candidates must pass two parts of the course within 12 months: the written examination and the commissioning report submission.
Our most recent round of training for office staff was last week when we took part in a mastermind event at the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the NEC in Birmingham. The event was attended by sales and marketing staff from a number of companies across the UK and was run by Objective Assessment.
The day covered aspects of time management, working smarter, working together more effectively, contacting prospecting customers in the most effective way etc. and gave staff the opportunity to come up with action plans in the regular break-out sessions. These training sessions by Objective Assessment take place every three months, build on existing skills (including soft skills), teach new skills and help develop new ways of working. This is particularly important for HVDS at the moment, as we are going through a period of rapid growth, which has resulted in taking on many new members of staff and putting in place new processes and procedures to streamline our business further.
Like many other businesses, we understand the importance of supporting and empowering our staff with the correct training, which in turn us to serve our customers even better.
Why Has Welding Fume Guidance Been Revised?
In February this year, HSE issued a safety alert about a change in control requirements for exposure to welding fume, including fume from mild steel welding. This was as a result of new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly also kidney cancer in humans. HSE has now revised its guidance on exposure to welding fume and has published the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) advice to help ensure that any welding fume released is adequately controlled.
During 2020, HSE inspectors will be visiting businesses across the UK to check that they are complying with the law on welding fume. In order to comply, you need to understand the risks and put the recommended measures and controls in place.
What is the New Guidance on Welding Fume?
‘Task specific COSHH guidance for welding, cutting and allied jobs’ outlines specific guidance on these areas, including advice for manager, and can be read here. HSE has also published guidance on its web pages and this can be read here. A brief summary of this guidance is outlined below.
A Brief Summary of the HSE Guidance on Welding Fume
HSE states that all welding fume can cause lung cancer, asthma and other health conditions, and that as an employer you must protect your workers’ health by controlling the risks from welding fume, no matter small an amount of welding your workers do.
“All welding fume can cause lung cancer”
Health and Safety Executive
HSE lists controls you should put in place. These include:
- using alternative cold joining techniques
- welding in a way that produces less fume
- local exhaust ventilation (LEV)
- respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- maintaining control measures and good general ventilation
- making sure welders understand the risks and how to use controls
For more information about health risks from welding, click here.
Controlling the Risk
1. Avoid or Reduce Exposure
HSE advises employers to think about ways to avid or reduce exposure by using alternative joining, cutting or surface preparation methods that produce less fume and/or dust. Considerations include, for example, automating or mechanising the process and using materials that generate less fume, e.g. MIG welding, instead of MMA welding.
2. Use Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV)
Where you can’t avoid welding, HSE advises employers to use Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). This is a form of fume extraction and, therefore, helps to remove contaminated air from the process at source. For advice on choosing the right LEV for your process, click here. For more help and information about an LEV for your workplace, get in touch with our dust and fume control specialists at HVDS here.
3. Use Suitable Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
Where it is not practical to provide LEV or where LEV alone cannot achieve adequate control, you must provide your employees with suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
For more information about controlling the risks from welding, see the HSE guidance here.
Maintaining exposure controls
HSE lists ways in which you should monitor the effectiveness of the controls you have put in place to protect your workers. These include following instructions on how to use equipment, keeping equipment in good working order, repairing any faulty equipment immediately etc.
A risk assessment will reveal whether or not you need to put a system of ongoing health checks in place. This health surveillance will help to detect any health hazards, protect workers’ health by early detection of changes or disease and evaluate control measures.
Health surveillance for exposure to welding fume as an asthmagen should include regular questionnaires and spirometry.
Although not required by law, health surveillance for exposure to welding fume as a carcinogen might include keeping individual health records for all workers exposed to welding fume. This record should include a historical record of jobs in their employment with you involving exposure to a known carcinogen. Records should be kept for at least 40 years.
Workers must be informed that, where not properly controlled, fume and dust from welding and cutting can cause lung cancer and other lung conditions. HSE lists the training workers should receive with regard to the health related aspects of welding and what they must do to protect themselves from exposure. This training includes how Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems work, how to properly use an LEV system and how to ensure their system is working properly. For more information about maintenance and testing of LEV, click here. HVDS offers a full LEV testing service. Get in touch on 01785 256976 or contact us here.
“Training should include how local exhaust ventilation systems work”
Health and Safety Executive
For advice and a FREE survey of your LEV systems to make sure they are protecting your workers as effectively as possible, please get in touch with our dust and fume specialists here.
Note: Employers must consult their workers and their workers’ representatives regarding workplace health and safety arrangements.
Where Can I Find More Detailed Information?
For more detailed information on the welding fume exposure recommendations contained in this article, see the full guidance here.
For help with choosing the right LEV for your workplace or for LEV testing and maintenance, please get in touch on 01785 256976
Aim of the Annual Survey
The HVDS Annual Survey aims to give us a better understanding of our customers’ air filtration and ventilation requirements. And this market research will allow us to tailor our service to the needs of our customers, providing them with an even better service, as well as keeping us ahead of current trends and issues that are important to our customers.
This year, we have two surveys to help us cover different aspects of our service.
HVDS Annual Food Industry Indoor Air Quality Survey
The first is for those with air handling requirements in the food industry, which can be found here.
HVDS Annual Dust and Fume Extraction Survey
The second is for those in any industry with a requirement for dust, fume, mist, spray and oil control. These industries are typically construction, pharmaceuticals and heavy goods manufacturing. This survey can be found here.
The surveys are multiple choice and only take approximately two minutes to complete. They can be competed anonymously if preferred, meaning that you don’t have to leave your name or any contact details when you fill it in.
Annual Survey Results
Because we think you too might find the results of the surveys interesting, we will publish a summary of the results in January. You can request a copy of the results here.
Complete the HVDS Annual Survey
We would very much appreciate it if you could take part in our Annual Survey for 2019. If you are not directly responsible for air handling or industrial ventilation in your particular organisation, please share the relevant link with the appropriate person.
The Annual Food Industry Indoor Air Quality Survey can be found here.
And the Annual Dust and Fume Extraction Survey can be found here.
We are very grateful for your support.
If you have any questions about the survey, please get in touch here.
This article looks at the combustible nature of powdered food substances and how to prevent explosions.
The Danger of Ingredient Dust and Powder
One of the most overlooked aspects of working with ingredients in a food production facility, is the fact that some ingredients have the propensity to cause explosions. These substances include, for example, flour, sugar, dried milk, custard powder, instant coffee and soup powder. Common processes that can create explosive dust in the food industry are flour and provender milling, sugar grinding, spray drying of milk and storage of whole grains. Other processes include using finely sprayed oils, mixing with potable flammable solvents and certain sterilization techniques.
According to the Health and Safety Executive,
“If any combustible substance is mixed or suspended in air at the correct concentrations and contained in a vessel or building when ignition occurs, then a violent explosion can result. If it is uncontained then a fireball may occur.”
On 14th August 2015, a worker at Adams Foods in Leek, Staffordshire, suffered facial burns after a powder explosion. A spokesman for Adams Foods, which supplies ingredients to retailers, said,
“A member of staff working on the production line received minor injuries. Emergency services were called and the incident is now fully under control with all other production lines operating as normal.”
Fortunately, the injured worker was discharged after being treated at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. However, another similar incident could result in far more serious, and even life-threatening injuries. For more information on this story, click here.
For a FREE dust extraction survey of your site, please click here.
What Causes Powder Explosions
Powder explosions are caused by combustible powdered substances in the air, coming into contact with a source of heat.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) are concerned with preventing or limiting the instance and harmful effects of such explosions.
According to HSE,
“In DSEAR, an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.”
Considerations When Working with Combustible Powders
In order to operate your process plant safely and to meet DSEAR requirements, you must take the appropriate precautions. These precautions relate to storage and handling, pneumatic conveying systems, chokes etc. To read the recommended precautions, please click here.
Another issue to consider is your ductwork, which can get clogged with extracted dust particles. As well as presenting a significant fire risk, a massive build-up of can dust can even cause ducting to rupture, as a manufacturer of morning foods found recently. Please see our case study for further details.
Download our brochure about HVDS’ dust control services here.
HVDS offers a full dust control solution as per HSG258 and according to COSHH and ATEX regulations.
HVDS is an Avetta accredited supplier. Avetta, formerly PICS Auditing, is an organisation for companies that need formalised supplier pre-qualification to ensure that those contractors conform to health and safety, environmental and other legislation in order to minimize risk, maintain a safe environment and reduce organisational liability. Avetta provides a supply chain management solution for procurement, safety and sustainability professionals, removing the administrative overhead and minimizing the cost of qualifying, managing and monitoring their suppliers. Furthermore, Avetta can help its clients:
- Improve safety by lowering incident rate
- Streamline your qualification process by reducing contractor selection and approval process time
- Cut administrative costs
- Increase supply chain visibility across all areas of your business
For more information about Avetta, click here.
According to Avetta,
“Companies that have leveraged the Avetta platform have lowered
their incident rate on average by 54%.”
Industries benefitting from Avetta prequalification include:
- Construction Materials
- Facilities Management
- Oil and Gas
- Utilities / Energy
Most of our customers come from the manufacturing industry where timing and efficiency are everything. Manufacturing companies that partner with Avetta to create a transparent and streamlined supply chain risk management process. This ensures that operations run safely and smoothly.
“A mistake or miscommunication between the owner/operator and supplier can result in catastrophic loss in terms of profit, the environment, or human life.” (Avetta)
Avetta advises that every company has a supplier prequalification system in place, in order to mitigate risk. This system could include:
- Using objective criteria when evaluating suppliers
- Creating a standard prequalification form
- Performing audits on suppliers
- Conducting a proper inspection of suppliers where appropriate
- Looking at both quantitative and qualitative data
For more information about HVDS air filtration, dust extraction or ductwork cleaning, repair and maintenance services, please get in touch.
HVDS will be attending Food Safety Europe in London on 12th February 2020 and Foodex at the NEC in Birmingham from 30th March to 1st April 2020. Come and see us on stand J201.
In a week when we engaged a film company to produce a new corporate video for our website, we also found ourselves shooting a video with professional training and coaching company, Objective Assessment, about how our customer-focused sales cycle has further raised customer confidence in HVDS and the services we provide.
‘Stars of the screen’ were our Managing Director, Mark Stevens, Food Industry Air Filtration & Ventilation Consultant, Tony Carvell, and Dust Extraction Specialist, Darren Carvell, who were interviewed by Gary Delbridge from Objective Assessment. As you can see, Objective Assessment brought along all the gear – green screen, lighting etc. in our ‘studio’ in the HVDS meeting room at our offices in Stafford. Thank you to Anna Carter for setting all this up and filming the interviews.
Here are Tony and Darren preparing to be filmed and receiving instruction on how to look ‘natural’ in front of the camera!
In the video, the team discussed how at HVDS we take the time to really understand the challenges our customers are facing before we even quote for the service. The HVDS technical team do this by digging deeper with the right questions and by drawing on their vast knowledge and experience of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues on manufacturing and production sites. Digging deeper in this way ensures two things: that they find the best solution and that the quotation the customer receives is as accurate as possible. In the last twelve months, thanks to coaching by Objective Assessment, HVDS has shortened the sales cycle from quote to order placement by the customer. With customer confidence so high, we have seen enormous growth in our business during the same period too. The team therefore welcomed this opportunity to pay testament to all Gary’s hard work with them.
After our screen experience today, we are all fired up about making our corporate video about the work we do at HVDS, helping sites with air filtration, dust extraction and ductwork cleaning, repair and maintenance. The video will feature on our website and also at some of the events we are attending in 2020, such as Food Safety Europe on 12th February in London (with link) and Foodex at the NEC (stand J201) from 30th March to 1st April.
We are delighted to be speaking as a ‘Thought Leader’ at the BRCGS Food Safety Europe 2020 conference on 12th February. The one-day conference, which will be held at Etc Venues County Hall in London, will be examining European food safety management in food manufacturing, food service and retail environments.
Having attended Food Safety Europe in previous years, we value the insights, knowledge-share and ideas the event delivers and are, therefore, delighted to be imparting some of our own ideas and tips on food safety with regard to managing Indoor Air Quality.
Our speaker at Food Safety Europe 2020 will be Tony Carvell, who is our Food Industry Air Filtration and Ventilation Consultant at HVDS. Tony has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. Working daily with food production sites to improve their Indoor Air Quality, Tony specialises in meeting (and surpassing) audit compliance goals, and targets for cost reduction and energy efficiency. His vast industry experience gives him the benefit of a holistic view, helping sites get even more value from their processes and systems.
Tony’s talk will be entitled ‘A Holistic Approach to Managed Indoor Air Quality’. In particular, Tony will be looking at:
- The importance of a holistic view
- The hazards of poor air management
- Busting myths relating to Indoor Air Quality
- Good working practices
As well as giving us lots of tips on what to do to keep our indoor air clean and safe, Tony will be drawing on his experience 10 years of looking after the air filtration requirements of some of the largest food and beverage production companies in the UK and Ireland. Connect with Tony on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/tonycarvellhvds
Food Safety Europe 2020 will also provide a networking opportunity for food safety professionals and delegates across the industry – to swap ideas on how to keep consumers safe, despite the challenges.
The conference will also showcase and present BRCGS Food Safety (Europe) Awards. These awards will recognise
“the outstanding commitment, support and performance of individuals and organisations who contribute to the development of the BRCGS Standards scheme and the wider food safety industry in the European markets.”
Nominations are now open. For more information, click here.
For more information about Food Safety Europe, or to book your place, click here.
Fabric ducting is a versatile and more efficient alternative to metal ducting in food production plants. As well as being easy to install and configure to a bespoke layout, they can increase the primary air flow rate compared with standard air ducting. But how to get the most from your air socks? We look at some tips that will keep your air socks working as effectively as possible, keeping your factory air clean and helping to avoid cross contamination.
Tip 1 – Get a Proper Survey
Fabric ducting layout can be tailored to your exact requirements to ensure optimum air flow conditions in each of your individual production areas and there is practically no limit to what you can achieve. Spend the time talking through your needs with a trained specialist and arrange for a full survey so you know all the options available.
Tip 2 – Establish a Regular Cleaning Schedule
As with metal ducting, over time, mould and bacteria can build up on the interior (and also exterior) of air socks. This can reduce Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and, consequently, presents a risk to food in production areas and also to workers’ health.
As prevention is always better than cure, we advise our customers to put a regular cleaning schedule in place. A 6-monthly or annual clean is usual, depending on your production area. Air socks can be laundered in industrial washing machines, ensuring a deep clean, or cleaned by hand to remove all traces of build-up.
Tip 3 – Have a Spare Set of Air Socks
In order to prevent disruption to production during air sock cleaning, it is a good idea to have a spare set of air socks on hand. The dirty socks are removed and taken away to be sanitized, and your spare set is installed. The lightweight fabric means that removal and install are quick – keeping your production moving. At HVDS, we can store spare air socks on behalf of our customers to save space on site.
Tip 4 – Clean Air Socks After Factory Washdown
During your regular machinery and factory cleaning, the hot water sprays you use can create humidity. Humidity increases the risk of mould spores and bacteria forming on and in fabric ducting. To help prevent mould and bacteria taking hold, we therefore recommend scheduling your air sock cleaning for just after factory washdown.
Tip 5 – Choose Your Fabric Ducting Service Carefully
A fabric ducting company worth its salt will have engineers who have been BESA trained. The BESA is the Building Engineering Services Association – the UK’s leading trade organisation for building engineering services contractors, and it represents,
“the interests of firms active in the design, installation, commissioning, maintenance, control and management of engineering systems and services in buildings.”
HVDS engineers have completed their BESA training and have the most relevant skills and knowledge and qualifications in air hygiene and health and safety. Our engineers have also completed their Human Focus training – independently approved health and safety courses.
As previously highlighted, a good air sock supply and installation service will conduct a full survey and discuss your application and ventilation requirements with you in detail to ensure you get exactly what you need. They will take into account aspects such as placement of air holes for optimum air flow and temperature control, colour, shape and material of the air socks, as well as installation and maintenance options. To understand your requirements fully, your supplier will need to be a specialist supplier to the food industry. HVDS has been an expert in clean air for food production facilities for over 40 years.
For more information about fabric ducting for your food production site, speak to an HVDS fabric ducting technician on 01785 256976 or contact us at email@example.com
We recently had a team photo session at HVDS. The aim was to get some good shots of HVDS staff members for the website and for some of our new printed materials too.
At 7 in the morning, both the office staff and the engineers gathered in the car park for a quick photoshoot before the engineers had to be on the road to visit customers. We managed to take photos of most of the HVDS team, apart from a few members of staff who were already out at customer sites. We took pictures of the whole team, the office staff, as many of the engineers who were able to attend, and the air filtration team.
The dust extraction team and the hygiene team are yet to be photographed. Both the dust extraction and the ductwork cleaning service have expanded rapidly over the last few months. In fact, we welcomed Nathan Jones to the hygiene team last week. Nathan is working alongside Adrian, Darren and Lee, providing a first class ductwork cleaning service to our food manufacturing customers. We look forward to being able to take these further team photos later in the month.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the photoshoot. Despite the early start and the fact that the engineers were keen to get their vans loaded up for the day, there were plenty of smiles and jokes, making it a pleasant experience for all.
In among all the formal pictures, we took this informal ‘selfie’ too!
Our food production customers enjoy the many benefits of fabric ducting. Fabric ducting, or air socks are:
- Fast to install due to their lightweight design,
- More efficient, having the ability to increase the primary air flow-rate by almost 50 times that of standard air ducting, and
- Flexible, so their layout can be tailored to accommodate specific site requirements.
And they are suitable for all types of food processing areas, from raw ingredient handling areas to packaging. But what about hygiene? How do you keep fabric ducting clean?
Like any other ducting, air socks are prone to mould and bacterial growth. The air distribution holes in fabric ducting enable highly effective air distribution. This actually helps prevent moisture stagnation that would usually result in condensation, and potentially mould, in the ducting. However, some food production plants are more prone to mould than others, and there are certain times when the risk of mould forming is greater. One of these times is during machinery clean-down where hot water sprays are used. Heat and moisture create humidity and a higher risk of mould spores forming internally and externally on the fabric ducting.
Note: A tip is to leave the Air Handling Systems (AHUs) on during factory clean downs. This will ensure that dry and cool air continues to flow through the air sock, helping to prevent mould growth.
Mould and microorganisms growing in the system will lead to a reduction in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Controlling the level of mould is especially important in a food manufacturing facility. It has the potential to carry disease and infection, which are easily transferred if they come into contact with food products. Ductwork carries air directly to workers’ breathing zones and production areas where it can affect food. Indeed, a range of adverse health affects have been reported following consumption of mouldy foods. These include nervous system impairment and liver damage. It is, therefore, essential to keep ductwork as clean and mould-free as possible. For more information about mould, click here.
In order to keep fabric ducting clean and hygienic, we recommend that it is professionally cleaned every 6 months to a year. Another benefit of fabric ducting is that it can be cleaned without altering its characteristics or performance over time. The HVDS Hygiene Team will remove, wash and sanitise your air socks and then replace them in their original positions. Our laundering service provides a deep clean to help reduce further growth of mould. We provide many of our customers with a spare set of like-for-like bespoke air socks to replace the dirty ones during cleaning.
Interested in fabric ducting for your production plant? Following a survey of your site, HVDS will supply and install air socks tailored exactly to your requirements. For example, if you need airflow holes to distribute air to one section, but not to another within the same production area, we can supply air socks to this specification. In fact, there is virtually no limit to what we can provide.
For more information about fabric ducting, click here. To discuss fabric ducting cleaning for your food production site, please get in touch on 01785 256 976, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to help.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO),
“Dusts are solid particles, ranging in size from below 1 µm (micrometre) up to at least 100 µm, which may be or become airborne, depending on the origin, physical characteristics and ambient conditions.”
Dust can be created by manual processes, such as cutting, crushing and grinding and particles can be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. Different types of dust also carry different risks to human health and can be classified into three types: L Class (Low Risk), M Class (Medium Risk) and H Class (High Risk). Each class has a maximum allowable concentration, which is essential for employers to understand.
L Class Dust (Low Risk)
L Class dust is of lower toxicity and includes simple house dust, soil, general construction dust/waste, soft woods and solid surface material. The workplace exposure limit/maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for L Class dust is >1 mg/m3. This means that you need a dust extractor that catches 99% of the dust. For L Class dust, there should be a Filter Leakage no greater than 1% of the collected dust.
M Class Dust (Medium Risk)
Dusts in the M classification include hard woods (e.g. oak and beech), board material/man-made woods (MDF), repair compound, filler and clear coats, cement, tile cement, brick, mortars (silica), concrete dust, quartziferous materials (e.g. sand) and paints, such as oil paints and latex. They present a medium degree of risk to human health and the workplace exposure limit/maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for M Class dust is ≥ 0.1 mg/m³. Thismeans you need a dust extractor that catches 99.9% of the dust. For M Class dust, there should be a Filter Leakage no greater than 0.1% of the collected dust.
H Class Dust (High Risk)
H Class is high toxicity dusts containing pathogenic or carcinogenic particles, as well as asbestos, mould spores, bitumen, mineral fibres and artificial mineral fibres, like glass wool. They present a high degree of risk to human health and the workplace exposure limit/maximum allowable concentration (MAC) for H Class dust is < 0.1 mg/m³. This means you need a dust extractor that catches 99.995% of the dust. For H Class dust, there should be a Filter Leakage no greater than 0.005% of the collected dust.
Another category of dust, as highlighted by Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is combustible dusts. A combustible substance, mixed with air and with the addition of a source of ignition will cause an explosion. Workplaces that typically produce potentially explosive atmospheres include those handling fine organic dusts, such as wood or flour dust and those where processes release flammable gases or vapours, such as vehicle paint spraying. The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) make employers responsible for eliminating or controlling the risks from explosive atmospheres in the workplace. According to HSE,
“In DSEAR, an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions*, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.”
*Atmospheric conditions are commonly referred to as ambient temperatures (–20°C to 40°C) and pressures (0.8 to 1.1 bar).
There are two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres: Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’) and Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’).
Dust Control Considerations
It is important to use the right dust extraction equipment. In fact, HSE are giving out substantial fines where the wrong/no dust extraction equipment is being used.
When choosing dust extraction equipment the following should be taken into account:
- Type of dust you need to control (L, M or H Class, explosive dust)*
- Volume of dust to be extracted to match the extraction rate
- Storage capacity of the extractor
- Disposal of dust – with secure disposal required for H Class waste
* most L and M Class dust extractors will have similar suction rates and filtration levels
Different types of dust present different risks. At HVDS, we help you choose the right dust control solution for your particular workplace. For more information contact us here. To find out more about our dust, fume, mist, spray and oil extraction service, click here.
Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems control substances hazardous to health and every company providing LEV extraction equipment has a legal requirement to comply with COSHH Regulation 9, in order to protect its employees.
“Proper maintenance is a vital part of any control regime and inspectors and enforcement officers should ensure that employers comply fully with regulation 9, particularly where there is exposure to substances that can cause cancer or asthma.”COSHH Regulation 9 – Maintenance
How An LEV System Works
Many processes create harmful dusts, fumes and vapours that are hazardous to health. LEV systems use extract ventilation to transport these airborne contaminants away from the employee’s breathing zone. Pollutants are drawn away from the process by means of an extraction hood, booth or other device placed over or around the area in which the harmful substance is being released. Ducting to the inlet of a fan is connected to the device so that the extracted air can be discharged to the atmosphere or cleaned and then released.
In order to ensure that your system is in a good state of repair and works efficiently, a thorough examination and testing should be carried out a minimum of every 14 months. In some cases, examinations should be more frequent. If you are unsure how frequently your LEV system needs testing, please contact us here.
Employers must keep a record of LEV examination and testing, including any remedial repairs undertaken as a result of the examination and test, for a period of at least 5 years.
How We Can Help
We provide a comprehensive LEV testing service to ensure your systems are compliant. Our accredited engineers are trained to BOHS standards and will carry out an examination according to COSHH Regulation 9 (HSG258) See the HSE publication, Controlling airborne contaminants at work: A guide to local exhaust ventilation (LEV), for more information.
We also provide Workplace Air Monitoring and will provide a full report of your current Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
For more information about our dust extraction service, please click here. Alternatively, please contact us on 01785 256976 or at email@example.com Due to continued company expansion, we are currently recruiting for an LEV Testing & Mechanical Service Engineer. For more information about this role, please click here.
From 2016 to 2017, HVDS doubled in size – and we are continuing to grow!
In the last 18 months, HVDS have taken on 11 engineers and 5 members of office staff. This year alone, we have been pleased to welcome additions to our rapidly expanding dust extraction team and are currently also in the process of recruiting more ductwork cleaning and air filtration engineers.
All new staff have a training programme and we have seen many of them pass a range of exams to develop their skills.
Our continued growth comes after our expansion project of 2017, which saw the extension of the warehouse and distribution facilities at St. Albans Road in Stafford. The extension provided more than 60% additional space and gave HVDS customers a range of additional benefits. Take a look at our time lapse footage and image slideshow of the warehouse extension and concrete laying here.
The reason for our recent expansion follows years of laying solid foundations. Quality, excellence and outstanding service have always been paramount and recent comments by our customers show that this is paying off in terms of the benefits they receive. As well as receiving guaranteed audit compliance and energy efficient, high performance air solutions, we are supplying them with a value added service while keeping their costs to a minimum.
Read some of their comments below:
“I have worked with HVDS now for 3 years. In that time I have received first class service. The work done on site has been completed on time with no fuss and no mess left behind. The team have provided solutions to our problems, excellent design and installation of our CAPEX projects and fantastic documentary support for our audits. The engineers that visit site are professional, courteous and cheerful. They complete the work in a safe, timely manner and I barely know they are there. Overall a first class service provider I would recommend to anyone.”
Site Services Engineering Group Leader, Kerry Foods
“Thanks to the team at HVDS for their efforts this year, from admin to the guys who carry out the works. All documentation arrives in a timely manner from the required RAMS, to the service documentation, which allowed us all to get on with our daily works unhindered.
A special word to the service guys who always carry out the work effectively with a minimum amount of fuss and supervision, in what sometimes can be a challenging environment!”
Engineering Manager, Seachill
“Service levels, discussions, feedback & reporting has been excellent. Taking on many tasks to improve ‘our’ companies performance, and production. HVDS have provided great assistance with passing Audits with the FUSION™ service. No hesitation in recommending them.”
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for all your support over the last few years and would also like to thank our hardworking and dedicated team.
For more information about our service, please get in touch here.
At HVDS, we have a very dedicated team of specialists in dust extraction. Their commitment to our customers is second to none. So when they gain their BOHS LEV qualifications and pass their exams with flying colours, we can only feel a sense of great pride in the knowledge that they will be using their new skills to serve our customers even better.
Pictured here are Darren Carvell, our Dust Extraction Specialist, and Jane Boon, our Dust Aftermarket Sales & Contracts Manager. They have both successfully completed the BOHS P600 course (Methods for Testing the Performance of Local Exhaust Ventilation Systems) with only one point off full marks!
A few days prior to this success, our Dust Extraction Manager, Carl Latham, passed his P604 theory exam! This success can be added to Carl’s other LEV qualifications and BOHS accreditations (P601, P602 and W201).
The P604 course (Performance Evaluation and Management of LEV Systems) is for engineers, supervisors, managers, health and safety professionals and technical staff who have day to day dealings with LEV equipment.
Many thanks to Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) training provider, OXYL8 Ltd, for helping our team meet the qualification and membership requirements of the Institute of LEV Engineers (ILEVE).
The BOHS is the British Occupational Hygiene Society, which provides information about managing and controlling workplace health risks. A guide to all their LEV quaifications can be found here. The BOHS strives to create a healthy working environment for everyone.
One of our core values here at HVDS is to ‘strive for continuous improvement, in a culture of progress’. Well done to all who have recently qualified and good luck to those still awaiting their exam results.
If you would like to speak to our dust extraction experts about issues affecting your workplace environment, please get in touch here. We offer a FRE dust, fume, mist, spray and oil site survey to help you make informed decisions. Request your survey here. For more information about our dust, fume, mist, spray and oil extraction service, please click here.
It’s Clean Air Day 2019 so many of our team have left their cars at home and either walked or cycled to work. Our Dust Extraction Specialist, Darren, walked 8 miles to get here – leaving home at 4 am and arriving 2 hours later. Now that’s walking the talk!
Clean Air Day 2019 encourages people to find out more about air pollution, share information and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone and the website contains lots of useful information resources and statistics. For example, did you know….?
“It is thought that up to 36,000 deaths each year in the UK are caused by air pollution.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets maximum limits for air pollution. These limits look at daily and annual averages. According to the Clean Air Day website, almost 2,000 locations in the UK are above these limits and there are places in the UK where the air pollution is three times as high as the WHO limits.
The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) publishes an Air Pollution Forecast that you can use to check the air pollution in your area.
Pollution in the air can contaminate foods compromise food safety and the food production industry is particularly vulnerable. For certain foods (such as baked goods), the most vulnerable part of the production process is between oven and packaging, for example, when contamination can occur.
HVDS provides an air filtration service, which will keep the air in your food manufacturing plant clean and free from contaminants, including emissions, pollen, dust, mould spores etc. Our hospital grade HEPA filters offer such a high level of filtration that they will even stop the spread of viruses.
For more information about our air filtration service for food manufacturers, get in touch here. Or call one of our air filtration experts on 01785 256976. We’re here to help.
At HVDS we help clients in the Food Industry with cleaning and maintenance of air filtration and extraction systems. Our teams work to ensure that systems are suitable for use, hazard free and audit compliant. In this instance, our team were called to investigate a case of poor airflow.
The HVDS team were called on-site to a food factory to investigate poor airflow and leaking ducting. This is what they found.
So, what is wrong with these pictures?
These pictures clearly highlight poor workmanship on an installed ventilation system. Consequently, this meant poor airflow in the food factory, and the ventilation system not performing correctly.
Solving the problem – how did we proceed?
The HVDS team worked with the customer to rectify these issues and ensure correct installation, so that their food factory ventilation systems work effectively and successfully.
How can HVDS help you:
Contact us today on 01785 256 976 to find out more about our clean air solutions for the food manufacturing and processing industry.
In this infographic we take a look at Air Filters in relation to Audit Compliance, and the benefits you will gain from having an air filter audit carried out.
For a more in-depth look at Audit and Compliance, and whether your Air Filter Systems are up to scratch, click here.
Air filtration and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) levels are two of the many different operational functions for which companies are responsible. However, often these important areas are overlooked due to other perceived priorities or deferred maintenance.
This is simply bad practice, not only from a financial standpoint but also from the viewpoint of good business standards. Some facts to consider from a range of studies into IAQ include ‘a significant number of workers believe that poor IAQ has caused them to miss work‘, and ‘nearly 80% of factory workers now believe that clean air is an important priority and should be treated as such by organisations‘.
Considering the above, it is essential that senior teams have a trusted partner to support them in the optimal selection and operation of their air filtration systems, as well as robust maintenance and control systems in place.
We all know that there are many benefits to having an efficient HVAC system. These include: –
- The opportunity to create a better working environment for your staff
- Protection of the production environment
- More efficient maintenance programmes due to reduced downtime
- Cost savings through reduced energy usage facilitated by an optimised HVAC system
Specifically focusing on food production, what concerns might food processing plants have?
- Unable to meet regulatory and customer standards
- Potential compliance risks
- Concerned about productivity and absenteeism issues caused by poor IAQ
Air Filtration Audit
A thorough air filter audit of your air handling systems is the first step to provide you with professional guidance and analysis for cost savings and risk reduction. Well planned audits can discover serious issues that are leading to problems in an HVAC system. Additionally, these surveys help us catch minor troubles that could lead to serious issues if left unattended.
Furthermore it allows professionals to make recommendations on filter technology that will save you time and money by reducing labour and energy cost.
5 benefits that you will get from an air filter audit:
- Analysis of your current filter state by a team of industry experts.
- Professional guidance and analysis to reduce your energy spend, decrease your risk, and save you time.
- Valuable and detailed benchmark data.
- Life cycle cost report that will show you where your HVAC systems could be performing even better.
- A standardized list of filters by air handler unit (AHU) and application.
The provision of an efficient and effective air handling system within your food factory has proven to improve hygiene levels. HVDS’ air hygiene and air handling products and services have been installed in food manufacturing facilities throughout the UK and Ireland. We have helped to significantly improve cleanliness, hygiene and productivity within these manufacturing facilities.
At HVDS we also appreciate the critical nature and the time consumption of food audit compliance. Consequently, HVDS ensure that your audit reports are to be suitably presented to reduce audit inspection time.
In this infographic we take a look at Dust Control Systems, and what you should be checking as part of your regular maintenance schedules.
For a more in-depth look at the following points, click here:
1.) How Dust Control Systems work
2.) Prevention and maintenance of poorly kept systems
3.) How Dust Control can affect employee health and well-being
At HVDS we help clients in the Food Industry with cleaning and maintenance of air filtration and extraction systems. Our hygiene teams work to ensure that systems are suitable for use, hazard free and audit compliant. A typical job for us that meets this criteria is Extract Flue Cleaning.
A typical brief:
Customers typically request that we go on-site in order to assess and subsequently clean their oven or fryer extract flues.
Our teams come across a range of scenarios when carrying out these jobs. Here are two examples of what the HVDS team have found on separate occasions:
The images above show two different cases of what can come from an extract flue assessment and clean – specifically an extract flue that has been poorly maintained over time. The image on the right clearly demonstrates what happens when an extract flue experiences very heavy use but has not been experiencing a regular cleaning regime.
So, what is wrong with these pictures?
The chocolate looking substance, otherwise known as “liquid firelighter”, can cause an enormous fire and safety hazard to large factories which is why cleaning, assessment and early intervention are critical.
Solving the problem – how did we proceed?
When it comes to Extract Flue Cleaning our hygiene team works to clean out the systems, leaving them in a safe and audit compliant state as you can see below.
What could have been done to avoid this situation?
A regular maintenance plan is always advised to avoid situations like the one you see above. In terms of how often you should get your flues cleaned – this timeline gives a good indication:
- Heavy use (12-16 hours a day): every 3 months
- Moderate use (6-12 hours a day): every 6 months
- Light use (2-6 hours a day): every 12 months
How can HVDS help you
At HVDS we offer free ‘behind the scenes’ surveys to give you peace of mind, as well as offering cleaning and maintenance services to keep your air and extraction systems in good working order.
Contact us today on 01785 256 976 to find out more about our clean air solutions.
At HVDS we get a lot of enquiries from customers regarding maintenance and investigation into their current systems. It is during these investigations and surveys that we come across situations like this one.
A customer requested we investigate the reason behind a lack of extraction from their Dust Extract Unit (DEU) in their ingredients blending room.
Here is what we discovered on site.
So, what is wrong with this picture?
Our investigation found that the ductwork was severely contaminated, resulting in the reduction of the DEU’s ability to extract dust.
Solving the problem – how did we proceed?
HVDS carried out a full ductwork system deep clean followed by a DEU filter change. This dramatically improved the hygiene levels by improving the Indoor Air Quality of the ingredients room.
The clean and filter change enabled the dust extractors to begin working to their full capacity once again, resulting in a clean and compliant production environment.
What could have been done to avoid this?
A regular maintenance plan is always advised to avoid situations like this one.
While an engineers time can be limited, with other responsibilities such as production maintenance and management, the time taken to carry out regular checks can be extremely beneficial and incredibly cost effective in the long run.
How can HVDS help you
At HVDS we can offer free ‘behind the scenes’ surveys to give you peace of mind and to ensure that your production environments are compliant and working correctly.
Contact us today on 01785 256976 to find out more about our air filter and extraction solutions.
The HSE have issued the following safety alert:
There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.
The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.
With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.
What you need to do:
- Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.
- Make sure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled using engineering controls (typically LEV).
- Ensure that suitable controls are provided for all welding activities, irrelevant of duration. This includes welding outdoors.
- Where engineering controls alone cannot control exposure, then adequate and suitable RPE (respiratory protective equipment) should be provided to control risk from any residual fume.
- Ensure that all engineering controls are correctly used, suitably maintained and are subject to thorough examination and test where required.
- Make sure any RPE is subject to an RPE programme. An RPE programme encapsulates all the elements of RPE use you need to ensure that your RPE is effective in protecting the wearer.
How can HVDS help:
Should you have any questions about the impact of this on your business, our LEV technical specialists and engineers are here to assist. Get in touch today on 01785 256 976 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When carrying out a survey on some Air Handling Units (AHUs) at a food manufacturer & processor recently, we came across this scenario; the AHU fan’s anti-vibration mounts had either completely come off or were not installed correctly.
With the fan still running and providing good airflow, it can lead you to believe that the system is fine and that it doesn’t need any immediate maintenance. However, small problems like this can lead to much bigger issues in the long run.
Why are anti-vibration mounts so important?
Here we take a look at four reasons why you should be ensuring that the fan anti-vibration mounts on your AHU’s are installed correctly:
- Anti-vibration mounts help to reduce vibration noise
- The mounts protect the fan by preventing the fan blades hitting the casing, and breaking off and throwing the fan off balance
- Anti-vibration mounts prevent structural problems occurring in the AHU caused by vibration
- The anti-vibes allow the correct and natural fluid movement of the fan whilst in operation and allows it to work at its optimum effectiveness and efficiency
Checking your anti-vibration mounts are in place correctly
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. Here at HVDS we can carry out an in-depth mechanical analysis and survey of all your AHU and fan requirements on site, to help you avoid potential costly repairs and maintenance in the future.
While clean air is a key ingredient to every part of the food and beverage manufacturing process, it is not the only ingredient involved if you take a filters only approach to clean air.
Come and join us at Food Safety Europe 2019 where HVDS will be speaking to delegates about the need for a holistic approach to clean air management and clean air risk assessments. Whereas filters are a key element, the overall health of the system needs to be assessed by engineering, hygiene and inspection auditors.
It would be dangerous to suggest that the use of any particular filter could improve shelf life as there are so many factors in the whole food manufacturing process. For example, ventilation and dust collection systems should be considered, and clean air systems should be managed in a joined up strategy.
Auditors Indoor Air Quality Risk assessments should be on the basis of a complete system inspection.
HVDS are leaders in Food Industry Clean Air Solutions.
As the only known company that is focused in the Food and Beverage business, HVDS is respected in the food industry as the preferred supplier for audit compliant Indoor Air Quality. At HVDS our focus is on more than just filters – it is to safeguard food industry processes and systems against airborne contamination. Our knowledge of how systems work give our customers peace of mind and brand protection.
As a clean air managed services provider, HVDS work with our customers to maintain filter systems to the meet the latest regulations and guidelines as well as meet the stringent requirements of audit compliance.
As a company HVDS are assisting auditors with practical steps to help their customers and clients meet Indoor Air Quality requirements.
The food processing industry, along with other industries such as medical and pharmaceuticals, has the necessity for clean rooms that can monitor particle count, type, and size, and therefore require dust controls systems to remove potentially dangerous particles from the air that can cause an explosion and are also necessary for the breathing safety of employees. In essence, dust control is essential for maintaining workplace safety.
So, how do dust control systems work?
Simply put they work by capturing particles and accumulating them in a collector until safely disposing of them, somewhat like a large and powerful vacuum cleaner.
Fans create a suction that draws the particles suspended in the air to the collector via ductwork. In the collector, the contaminated and clean airs are separated. For example, a system will push the contaminated air into the top of the collector and once inside will force it downward to the bottom. The contaminants hit the sides of the collector and then fall to the bottom while the clean air is pushed out and into another filtration system to collect the finest particles.
Why is dust control so important?
The twin threats in a food processing environment are deflagration (combustion that propagates through a gas) and disease. Both threats are caused by a fine powder of particulates that accumulate in the air within these facilities. The most efficient way to neutralize both risks is to remove these suspended particles from the atmosphere.
Deflagration is an explosion caused by the extremely rapid transfer of heat through the air and factories. Processing plants that allow suspension of particulates to propagate are setting up the environment for such an explosion. In fact, a secondary explosion usually follows, precipitated by the rapid rise in pressure caused by deflagration. As the explosion picks up fuel from the air and spreads, it can become even more destructive than the initial detonation. The entire facility can be levelled, resulting in massive loss of life and material. Dust control removes particles from surfaces and the surrounding atmosphere and significantly minimizes this danger.
In every heat explosion, there are three elements present, known as the “fire triangle”, these are oxygen, heat and fuel. When these elements are present, an explosion occurs. If suspended particulates accumulate in the air, their combined surface-area-to-volume ratio makes them highly combustible and even what may seem to be ordinary, everyday substances can become a risk.
Of course, removing heat sources is very costly and often difficult. The most effective way to minimize the risk of deflagration is to remove the elements of dispersion and fuel from the surrounding environment. This is most easily accomplished through dust control.
So, neglecting dust can have explosive consequences. Substances regularly used in industrial cooking and baking including flour, sugar and various powders, all have the potential to explode.
When substances are finely ground inside baking and cooking appliances they can create a dust cloud. This dust, when suspended and mixed with air, can cause large and even fatal explosions.
Bag tip units and bulk silo venting equipment is sometimes overlooked, but it is vital in the food manufacturing industry. These systems help reduce the amount of dust that is left over, dust that has the potential to cause explosions in the future.
Prevention is better than cure so actions such as: –
- Looking at where equipment is positioned and ensure there are no leakage points around handling systems that produce dust.
- Vacuum clean-up systems can also be used to ensure vessels and equipment are left scrupulously clean.
Let’s also take a look at the health risks for workers in a food processing plant. We know that suspended particles are readily inhaled and so removing powders from surfaces and air will minimize the health risks associated with working in these plants. Although the lungs can expel most powders to some extent, they cannot eliminate them entirely. Over time, these substances collect in the lungs and may result in irreversible health conditions. So once again, dust control is critical for safeguarding employee health.
There is something known as “Farmers lung” which can be caused from particles expelled by grains. Farmer’s lung can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the lungs. This results in reduced breathing capacity and makes it more likely that cancer and other chronic diseases will develop. While removing a source of heat may help curtail deflagration to a point, it will not eliminate the health risks caused by suspended particles. Only dust control, performed through filters and vacuums, can accomplish this.
Prevention and Maintenance
It goes without saying that neglecting dust can have serious consequences and substances that are commonly found in the food processing industry such as flour, sugar and various powders, all have the potential to explode and so preventative maintenance is vitally important.
What sort of maintenance requirements are needed for dust control systems?
The following maintenance activities need to be carried out:
- The collector and filters must frequently be cleaned to enable the machine to run properly.
- The fan and electrical switches and boxes have to be frequently cleaned.
- The cooling vents of the machinery must be kept clean as well to prevent the machines from overheating.
- There should be an inspection for leaks in the vacuum hoses or ductwork after the cleaning. Leaks make the machine less efficient and can actually spread the contaminated particles rather than collect them.
Employee Health & Wellbeing
Employees are the most valuable asset to any business. As well as a moral obligation to protect a company’s workforce, there is also a legal obligation.
Dust that is produced as a result of food production, can also have serious effects on the health and wellbeing of employees. Exposure to dust can cause serious skin conditions and even occupational asthma, when flour dust is breathed in. In fact, respiratory conditions among bakers are now the highest of any occupation in the country.
The HSE sets a long-term Workplace Exposure Limit of 10 mg/m3 (averaged over 8 hours) and a short-term exposure limit of 30 mg/m3 (averaged over 15 minutes). Breaching of these standards can result in severe penalties, loss of productivity due to employee sickness and even legal action.
Last year, an employee from a baking company in Southampton was awarded a five-figure sum after developing occupational asthma due to over exposure to flour dust. For small or large food manufacturers, looking after employee health by reducing dust exposure is vitally important.
Also, in late 2016, a bakery company in Stevenage was fined over £36,000 for failing to comply with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) standards — a very real threat to smaller businesses.
The HSE is continuing its proactive assessment of food manufacturers for dust control and issuing penalties for the breaching of standards, but it is not just the threat of being penalised that means it is vital for the industry to take dust control more seriously. It should be about the what that companies go about their business. “This is the way we do things around here”.
A final word on the environment
Whilst most food products by their nature are not hazardous to the environment there is still a legal obligation to comply with emissions according to EPA.
For more information and advice on dust control, air filtration and ventilation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or email@example.com.
One of our engineers posted some great images on LinkedIn last week showing some of the work done by HVDS’s cleaning team at one of the UK’s largest abattoirs.
So, with that in mind, we thought we would take a closer look at some of the challenges that slaughterhouses face and why it is important for a professional team to properly maintain the Air Handling Units (AHU’s).
Why are AHU’s so important in slaughterhouses?
A part of designing an air handling system is to prevent the occurrence of condensation and, in slaughterhouses condensation can occur during cleaning or during the initial chilling process of hot carcasses. The air is usually supersaturated and warmer than the room’s boundary surfaces, hence it will be depositing a large amount of condensation on the cold surfaces.
It is important then for the air to be dried out to keep the moisture levels low in order to prevent product contamination and reduce fungal and/or bacterial growth. It is also necessary for the protection of equipment such as conveyor belts and other machinery from corrosion.
Other problems slaughterhouses need to tackle include:
– Bacteria that can thrive in uncontrolled humidity
– Contaminants affecting product quality leading to health concerns for workforce and consumers
– Longer drying times for floors, surfaces and equipment after cleaning
– Potential production interruptions and plant downtime
– High energy consumption and operating costs
For more information and advice on the impact of air handling and ventilation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding someone that satisfies your maintenance needs on site can be a real challenge in the fast-paced world of Food Processing. Even more so when you place your trust in a provider, and take it on faith that they will carry out spot checks and surveys correctly.
Sadly, this is not always the case, and Food Processing buildings can easily become unsanitary and under-maintained behind the scenes.
Why you should ensure your Air Handling Maintenance is up to the mark
Here are some shots HVDS recently found from a full site survey. This site was ‘maintained’ by another provider for nine years prior, however these images tell a different story. Issues like this what you see below, as well as uncleaned systems, can lead to a variety of problems later down the line. That is why it is crucial to have proper procedures and processes in place.
With things like this often going undetected in plants, a site survey provided by an external and impartial provider is advised. Here we take a look at the benefits of a site survey and an effective and managed maintenance plan to avoid situations like the ones illustrated above.
The benefits of a Site Survey:
1. Identifies poorly maintained and unclean systems
An air handling survey can provide you with comprehensive information about your air handling and ventilation systems. It can uncover poorly maintained systems, and highlight ways in which you can reduce risk and improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). One of the biggest issues we find when completing site surveys is poorly maintained systems that are in desperate need of a clean.
2. Enables you to re-strategise and optimise your air handling management
If you are looking to build an effective maintenance strategy, or optimise your current systems, the information provided from a site survey will enable you to make calculated decisions regarding you air handling management.
3. Gives a clear understanding of your personalised requirements
A site survey will allow you to really understand what your personalised requirements are. A one size fits all approach doesn’t always work, or your requirements may have changed. A fresh survey will present you with new ideas on air filter specification or on how to improve your air mapping, or upgrade your ductwork.
How we can help:
For more information on our Air Handling and Ventilation Site Surveys, click here or call us on 01785 256976
Here at HVDS we are often asked to look at air filters, ductwork systems and issues with airflow. There are many issues that can be lurking behind causing trouble for food manufacturers. Here we take a look at a couple of cases where our help has been invaluable.
HVDS were recently asked to look at an issue with low airflow. Here is what we discovered on site.
What is wrong with this picture?
What you can see here is a filter that has clearly been neglected. For how long, we don’t know.
What could be done to avoid this?
A well-managed air filter regime is always possible, and it is what should have been implemented in this instance to avoid this issue. Even if engineers are busy with production maintenance, management and service of filters is crucial. In the long-term it can be costly to replace, not to mention the repercussions of dealing with any health and safety concerns that may arise from poorly maintained equipment such as this.
It’s not only filters that can get into these poor states either. Our team also recently carried out ductwork cleaning for a client and came across this… all found inside the ductwork as a result of extracting from the travel ovens.
Why is this a cause for concern?
One of the biggest causes of fires in food factories is uncleaned extraction ductwork and flues. With sites manufacturing and producing 24/7, it is crucially important to allocate time for cleaning and inspection to ensure risk is minimised.
How can HVDS help
At HVDS we have tailored solutions for your applications, we also offer free ‘behind the scenes’ ductwork surveys to give you peace of mind.
Contact us at email@example.com today or call on 01785 256 976 to find out more about our air filter and ductwork solutions.