Air monitoring for asbestos, or air testing as it is sometimes known, detects the concentration of airborne fibres in an area by taking a sample and analysing with a microscope. Fibres are collected by drawing air through a special filter. Fibres are then counted manually using phase contrast optical microscopy (PCM), and the concentration of the fibres calculated, shown as fibres per cubic centimetre of air (f/cm3).
It is especially important to undertake air monitoring during work which may disturb asbestos and during asbestos removal operations. During asbestos removal the key areas to monitor are air extraction equipment, airlocks/baglocks and along waste transit routes. Testing is vital to ensure airborne asbestos fibre concentrations do not become dangerously elevated.
Air monitoring in many instances is a legal requirement. Employers must monitor the exposure to asbestos of any employee through air monitoring. This should be undertaken when a change occurs that may impact on exposure, e.g. refurbishment works that could disturb and release fibres, as well as monitoring at regular intervals. Air monitoring allows employers to conduct accurate risk assessments and select suitable control measures including RPE.
Employers must keep copies of personal air monitoring results for individuals under medical surveillance for 40 years as part of their health records. General air monitoring records should be kept for at least 5 years.
It is important to choose an air monitoring provider like Vintec, who are completely independent from an asbestos removal company. An independent organisation will mean impartial results, recommendations and advice that are in your best interest – keeping occupants safe and you fully compliant.
Vintec offer the following air monitoring services:
- Four stage clearance testing
- Reassurance, leak and background asbestos air monitoring
- Personal compliance asbestos air monitoring
- Perimeter asbestos air monitoring
Air monitoring is done so in accordance with the current Health and Safety Executive regulations and guidance as identified in HSG 248 ‘The Analysts Guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures’, and as required by the ‘Control of Asbestos Regulations’ (CAR 2012). Vintec are accredited to ISO:IEC 17025:2017 and all of our Analysts hold the BOHS P403 and P404 certificates for Asbestos Air Sampling and Asbestos Fibre Counting as a minimum.