Asbestos Air Monitoring & Clearances
The various Australian and New Zealand OHS/WHS/OSH Regulations stipulate the requirements during and after an asbestos removal project. In most cases air monitoring is conducted whilst removal works are occurring to ensure that control measures are adequate and that airborne asbestos fibre levels in the vicinity of the work were not elevated during the removal works. Where airborne asbestos fibre readings are elevated corrective action needs to be taken.
At the completion of an asbestos removal project an independent and competent person is required to undertake an asbestos clearance inspection (some exemptions exist under state legislation pending quantity of asbestos containing material (ACM) removed. A thorough clearance inspection will ensure that all ACM, including associated dust and debris within the scope of the removal project has been removed to a satisfactory visual standard.
Clearance air monitoring can also be undertaken in conjunction with an inspection to provide an asbestos clearance certificate to verify that the area is safe for re-occupation. The specific regulatory requirements relating to monitoring and clearance inspections varies slightly, depending on the state or territory in which the works are conducted. In most jurisdictions and scenarios a Licenced Asbestos Assessor is required to conduct such works.
Licensed Asbestos Assessors
Greencap has a large team of highly skilled Licensed Asbestos Assessors (LAAs) across Australia who can complete asbestos air monitoring and clearance inspections. With internal NATA accredited laboratories located across Australia, Greencap has the ability to fast track the analysis of asbestos air monitoring samples and issue NATA endorsed reports.
Greencap also has the capability to setup mobile or site-based laboratories – particularly useful for large and/or ongoing projects. We offer lab in a van (mobile) and worksite-based labs. This provides significant savings in terms of turnaround times and reduced project delays.
Whilst the majority of demand in this space is for asbestos related air monitoring and clearances, Greencap also has occupational hygienists experienced in Silica, Lead (Pb) and Synthetic Mineral Fibre (SMF) air monitoring. Although not as tightly regulated as asbestos, construction projects involving these hazardous substances pose potential risks that must also be managed. Static air monitoring during such works provides assurance that control measures are effective and that the area is safe for re-occupation following the completion of works.
Personal exposure monitoring can also be conducted to ensure no worker is exposed to airborne concentrations above the national exposure standard for the relevant hazardous substance.
Learn in depth about asbestos labelling and signage requirements and more in Greencap's Online Asbestos Awareness Training course
Or, check out the Contractor Asbestos Awareness Course
Frequently Asked Questions
What is asbestos air monitoring?
Asbestos air monitoring is used to measure airborne fibre levels. Depending on the regulatory requirements of the specific state or territory, generally monitoring is conducted on a daily basis during asbestos removal, outside the removal zone, to demonstrate that airborne fibre levels are not elevated above a set criteria, and confirm whether the engineering controls are working.
Following the removal, clearance air monitoring is conducted within the removal zone, to show that the area is safe to re-occupy. Background air monitoring can also be conducted during normal operations of a site or building (i.e., not during asbestos removal works) to assess the ambient level of airborne fibres. This can be a useful tool in risk management, for example in a building which has installed ACM. Routine background monitoring can provide assurance to building occupants and other stakeholders, particularly if the ACM is weathered.
In some instances, it is prudent to undertake background air monitoring prior to the commencement of asbestos removal works.
Why is asbestos air monitoring important to my construction project?
Asbestos air monitoring is an important part of any refurbishment or demolition project where asbestos is being removed in order to demonstrate that the project is being managed safely. It is also a regulatory requirement, depending on state in which works are conducted, and the scope of asbestos removal.
Which pieces of asbestos air monitoring equipment does Greencap use?
Greencap uses calibrated air sampling pumps and tubing with a filter cowl attached which collects fibres. The pump is set at a specific flow rate and a known volume of air is collected during the sampling period. The flow rate is set at the start and checked at the end of the sampling period using a calibrated rotameter. At the conclusion of the monitoring period, the filter is mounted on a microscope slide and inspected under a microscope to determine the number of respirable fibres present in the sample of air collected.
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