What is asbestos air monitoring and why do you need it?

As the name implies, these air monitoring tests look for respirable asbestos fibres in the air to find out the extent of asbestos exposure in the area and help in chalking out effective control measures for the same. This is generally recommended when the asbestos containing products are found in poor condition, potentially liberating the fibres into the air, or when asbestos containing materials are being removed. For those who do not know, only respirable asbestos fibres less than 3 ?m wide and more than 5 ?m long (with a length to width ratio of about 3:1) are considered of considerable risk.

When should you opt for asbestos air monitoring?

According to the rules laid down, air monitoring is an absolute must when asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are being removed. This ensures that effective control measures are put into place for the proper removal of ACMs without causing any harm to the environment around them. As asbestos fibres in the air are generally generated by the disintegration of asbestos containing materials, the process has to be handled carefully by the experts. While air monitoring must be performed during all asbestos-related work or projects, it becomes all the more necessary when there?s a scope of asbestos materials getting disturbed.

Different kinds of asbestos air monitoring available

  • Background asbestos air monitoring: This involves testing the air for asbestos fibres prior to starting work in an area that involves disturbing the known asbestos materials. This ascertains the level of airborne asbestos fibres.
  • Exposure asbestos air monitoring: This tests the air in a habitable zone to determine people?s likely exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. This test monitors the exposure of asbestos and finds out the risk posed when compared to the national exposure standard.
  • Control asbestos air monitoring: This test is conducted during the work on removing asbestos containing materials from an area and carefully measures respirable airborne asbestos fibers. A control monitoring is designed to ascertain the effectiveness of the control measures put in place while work is in full swing. 
  • Clearance asbestos air monitoring: This measures the level of asbestos fibres in the air following the removal of the asbestos containing materials from the area. An area is usually considered cleared when the level of airborne asbestos fibres is below 0.01 fibres/ml i.e. the average concentration is 0.01 asbestos fibres per millilitre of air, over a period of 8 hours.

The four stage clearance process

  • Stage 1 ? In this, an analyst checks the scope of the work and makes sure every care has been taken to check the spread of airborne asbestos fibres.
  • Step 2 ? The analysts conduct a thorough visual inspection of the enclosure to make sure all ACMs have been removed. They also check if all dust and debris have been cleared as well. In some cases, some asbestos may have to be left due to structural implications, but that needs to be highlighted in the report and has to be suitably encapsulated.
  • Step 3 ? While conducting the air sampling, the analyst should brush the enclosure so that it disturbs the fine dust particles which may or may not contain asbestos fibres. During the process, a known volume of air is sucked in through a pump, and if the air clears the test, the contractors can begin to take down the enclosure.
  • Step 4 ? This is the final evaluation. The analyst makes sure that the enclosure has been taken down properly and the waste and transit routes have been cleared. Once this test is over, the analyst can issue the certificate of reoccupation to the area. 

Whom do we recommend?

Established back in 2008, Site Environmental & Remediation Services, also known as SERS provides unmatched, cost-effective, environmental services across the length and breadth of the Australian landmass. So, whether you need asbestos survey, asbestos monitoring, asbestos removal, or a complete asbestos management plan, they can provide the right assessment and remediation services. To know more about SERS and its range of services, feel free to get in touch with the team at [email protected]. You can also connect with their offices at Perth, Brisbane, or Sydney by calling them at 1300 542 315. Professional service, guaranteed!