Air monitoring can be a useful tool to identify and measure asbestos exposure risks, and in many cases is a legal requirement.
Air monitoring is undertaken to show individuals and work processes are not generating airborne asbestos fibres, or that an area is safe to re-occupy after asbestos works or accidental disturbance of suspect materials.
BENSS' Occupational Hygienists can advise if air monitoring is appropriate in the first instance, and the type and frequency of sampling. It's important to note that a visual inspection of an area, or the condition of suspect materials, is often more effective in identifying potential exposure risks.
All air monitoring results are issued as NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited Analysis Certificates.
Above: Human Hair Magnified
Left: Blue Asbestos Fibres Magnified
Asbestos air monitoring may be conducted for a variety of reasons, and there are four main types of monitoring that fit most requirements. Each type of monitoring may be used on its own, or in conjunction with others.
When there are concerns an area may be contaminated with airborne asbestos if, for example, suspect materials have been damaged or disturbed, Background Air Monitoring can assist with the risk assessment process.
Background Monitoring would usually be conducted in conjunction with a visual inspection of the area.
Personal Monitoring measures airborne fibre concentrations in the immediate vicinity of persons involved with asbestos works, or who risk disturbing materials during non-asbestos works.
Air samples are taken from the breathing zone, and workers should be using suitable Personal and Respiratory Protective Equipment (PPE & RPE).
Control / Leak
During asbestos works, control monitoring is undertaken to confirm control measures are working, detect leaks in an enclosure, and check filters on negative air pressure units are intact.
Elevated fibre levels identified through control monitoring indicate that actions need to be taken, typically to stop works until the issue is identified and addressed.
Photo: SKC AirChek Air Sampling Unit & Filter
After works with friable (higher risk) asbestos materials in the workplace Clearance Monitoring is required.
Clearance monitoring, in conjunction with a thorough visual inspection, provides evidence that an area is safe for reoccupation.
Satisfactory results of Clearance monitoring, and a Visual Clearance inspection, must be documented in a Clearance Certificate.
See Also Asbestos Clearances