If you’re not familiar with asbestos air monitoring, this page covers all the important info:
- Exposure monitoring
- Control monitoring
- How is air monitoring done?
- When do you need to undertake air monitoring?
Asbestos air monitoring is broadly split into 2 types – Exposure Monitoring and Control Monitoring.
With Exposure Monitoring, a person wears an air sampling pump with the filter located in their ‘breathing zone’. In the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) Guidance note, the breathing zone is defined as “… a hemisphere of 300 mm radius extending in front of a person’s face and measured from the midpoint of an imaginary line joining the ears.”
Exposure monitoring is undertaken to reliably calculate the employee’s level of potential exposure so that it can be compared to the relevant exposure standard. The sampling pump is usually worn at the waist on a belt, with the filter cartridge clipped to the employee’s lapel.
Control Monitoring uses static equipment in an area to give a general indication of airborne fibres within that area.
Some of the main reasons for Control Monitoring are:
1. Background monitoring
This is used to determine the general level of fibres in the air at a given time. It does not necessarily need to be associated with asbestos removal works. It is often used in areas where there is known asbestos that may be subject to degradation.
2. Control air monitoring during asbestos removal
This is undertaken during asbestos removal works to determine whether the controls that have been implemented to minimise risk of exposure are effective. Static monitoring equipment is set up at a number of strategic locations around the removal works. Depending on the type of project this may include places such as near the Negative Air unit, at the asbestos ‘Bag Out’ area or in the shower/change room, as well as occupied areas outside the removal works exclusion zone.
3. Clearance monitoring
This is undertaken after the asbestos removal works are complete in order to confirm that airborne fibre levels are below the required limit. Along with a visual clearance inspection, the clearance monitoring is used to determine that all asbestos has been correctly removed and that the area is now safe to be re-occupied.
How is asbestos air monitoring done?
Simply put, air monitoring for asbestos fibres requires you to draw air through a filter and count how many fibres you catch on the filter.
However its more complicated than that and to get it right you need to have well maintained, calibrated equipment and properly trained personnel
In relation to the analysts and equipment requirements, Mairin has a NATA accredited asbestos laboratory. NATA is the National Association of Testing Authorities. To be accredited by NATA we have to demonstrate that we have suitable procedures in place to ensure that we have the right equipment and keep it in good, correctly calibrated condition. We also have to ensure that we meet and maintain the required training and competency standards of our staff.
Always make sure that your asbestos air monitoring is done by a NATA accredited laboratory.
When do you need to undertake air monitoring?
Asbestos levels in the air may need to be monitored for different reasons.
Air monitoring is only legally required whenever friable asbestos removal works are being undertaken. Although it is not required for non-friable (bonded) removal works it is recommended that monitoring is done for works in sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals and other public buildings. Your workplace may also have internal policies that cover asbestos removal and air monitoring.
If you are planning asbestos removal works contact us today to discuss your requirements. If required we can set up a temporary portable laboratory at your site to ensure you get your results in the shortest time possible.
If you are concerned about asbestos at your home or workplace feel free to contact us with your questions.