Guide to Lab Equipment Testing

Clean Air systems are long-term investments, so must be regularly serviced to ensure optimal performance and pro-longed lifespan. At Crowthorne Group we offer bespoke testing for a range of clean air laboratory equipment and LEV systems for a range of industries including school, universities, hospitals, and research facilities.

In this article, we will summaries the tests that must be carried out in order to comply with national standards and regulations on the following laboratory equipment: microbiological safety cabinets, fume cupboards, laminar flow cabinets and LEV systems.

Microbiological Safety Cabinets

The following tests must be successfully completed to comply with BS EN12469 regulations:

  • HEPA filter integrity
  • Airflow velocity and visualisation
  • Operation of airflow indicators and alarms check
  • KI-Discus (determine the product protection and cross-contamination levels)

In addition to regular testing of the above, safety cabinets being used for known or potential human pathogens must be deemed safe before use by a competent person. Crowthorne Group’s fumigation services cover this, see here for more information.

All safety cabinets should be serviced on an annual basis to ensure compliance, however if placed in a CL3 or CL4 lab they should be tested every six months.

Fume Cupboards

Fume cupboards must comply with COSHH regulations, with on-going maintenance tests to demonstrate safe performance. Tests include:

  • Airflows and alarm system check
  • Airflow visualisation
  • Containment

Crowthorne Group offer containment testing using sulphur hexafluoride tracer gas – which meets both national and international standards. Find out more about our containment testing.

Filter efficiency is vital when operating a fume cupboard as it provides the operator protection from potentially hazardous substances. For this reason, filter tests should also be carried out in accordance with BS7989 regulations.

Fume cupboards should be tested on an annual basis (at a minimum) to ensure they are fit for purpose and any necessary remedial work is completed.

Laminar Flow Cabinets

Crowthorne Group offer a variety of performance and safety tests for laminar flow cabinets as part of a routine service contract, which can be tailored to suit your industries individual needs. These tests can include the following:

  • Inspect pre-filter
  • Check operation of switches, warning systems & speed control
  • Check general condition of fan
  • Check operation of air flow indicators & pressure gauges
  • Measure airflow velocities
  • Check lighting tubes & light levels
  • Check noise levels
  • HEPA filter leak integrity test
  • Airborne particle counting

Laminar flow cabinets should be tested on an annual basis (at a minimum) to ensure they are fit for purpose and any necessary remedial work is completed.

Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Systems

Isolators are considered as LEV systems under COSHH regulations and therefore must be tested on a year basis, as a minimum. Isolators located in CL3 or CL4 labs must be tested every 6 months, in line with MSCs11 regulations. The following 3 stage process should be completed when testing LEV systems:

  1. Inspect for damage through a visual and structural examination
  2. Evaluate technical performance including assessment of capture zone, measuring face velocities and fan checks
  3. Assess effectiveness to ensure system is controlling the contaminants sufficiently

Clean Air Equipment Service and Fumigation

Crowthorne Group specialise in providing independent service, validation, and fumigation of clean air equipment within various industries, working closely with major manufacturers to ensure our practises adhere to standard regulation. These relationships also enable us to establish procurement routes to source replacement parts from, ensuring the integrity of the lab equipment remains the same.

To book an unbiased service report on the performance of your laboratory equipment or enquire about one of our products or services, contact us today and speak to a specialist.

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