The Asbestos survey is important if workers are exposed to dusts and vapours. Workplace air monitoring is necessary to ensure that the concentrations are below the published Occupation Exposure Limits (OELs) and Short Term Exposure Limits (STEL).
Asbestos Survey & Welding Fumes
Workers are exposed to dust and vapours in many settings. This includes workers in factories where welding, cutting, machining, soldering, metal treatment, chemical processes or painting is carried out. Each type of activity has hazards associated with it including welding fumes.
Asbestos Survey & Monitoring methods
The monitoring equipment to complete the Asbestos Survey can be attached to the worker or placed in the work area. The actual method of monitoring depends on the substance of concern. Methods include pumps, impingers, sorbent tubes and filters. Some types of monitoring equipment will give an immediate result but most require lab analysis. Environmental Efficiency also uses ISO17025 accredited labs for all analysis.
Assessment of the results
There are legally binding Occupation Exposure Limits for a wide range of substances in both the UK and Ireland. These state the maximum concentration that a worker can safely be exposed to for a standardised 8 hour shift (OEL) and a higher concentration for 15 minute exposure (STEL). Our experts will compare all results taken from the Asbestos survey & we will study the occupational exposure limit to advise what action is to be taken.
How frequently should you monitor the air in the workplace
BS EN 689:1996 recommends repeating monitoring at least every 64 weeks if the results are less than 25% of the OEL. If they are higher but still less than 50% of the OEL, then repeat monitoring should be carried out every 32 weeks. If these are still higher, but less than the OEL, then repeat monitoring should be carried out every 16 weeks. If these are higher than the OEL, then immediate remedial action is required plus re-monitoring to determine that it is effective.
If you change processes, the floor layout or the substance used (for example replace one chemical with another, or move welding bays to a different area) you should repeat the monitoring regardless of past monitoring results.
What if monitoring results are high?
If so, there is an accepted hierarchy of measures to implement starting with elimination of the substance of concern and finally, if all else fails, PPE. Environmental Efficiency can advise on the most appropriate measure.
What guidance is available?
For the UK, the HSE document G409 provides guidance. In Ireland the HSA 2011 Code of Practice should be referred to.
Local Exhaust Ventilation is typically installed to extract workshop air. Environmental Efficiency can undertake the statutory inspections.
Breathing air is a typically supplied to welders and others working in adverse conditions. Environmental Efficiency can undertake the quarterly assessment of breathing air.