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Schools failing extraction exam

06 June 2017

According to TLM Laser, ignorance is the root cause of a potentially serious health risk that lies within many school, college and university Design & Technology departments where lasers are being used for cutting or marking. Fume extraction, or rather the lack of it, is the reason.

TLM Laser director, Andy Toms explains that potential dangers that exist if careful consideration is not given to dealing with the fume and particulate generated when using lasers to cut or process materials.

"Over the years, TLM has visited hundreds of educational establishments and, from what we’ve seen, we estimate that 95% of educational facilities using lasers are under-extracting," He said.

"We’ve been inside school departments that are virtually fume-filled and where a toxic film can be seen around the laser area. In an even worse example, students were asking to leave the classroom dues to headaches and eye irritation created by the laser fumes. In all of these cases there has been some form of extraction – but it has just not been sufficient enough to match the installed laser’s specifications.

Toxic fumes in the classroom puts students’ health at risk (toxic gases can cause inhalation injury, ranging from minor respiratory discomfort to acute lung and airway injury and, in extreme cases, fatality). It also counters COSHH regulations especially with regard to Local Exhaust Ventilation testing (LEV). 

Organisations which have concerns about their establishment’s current laser extraction system and whether they comply with current legal obligations, or would just like more information on the BOFA range of fume extractors, can contact TLM Laser for advice.