What Is Asbestos Air Monitoring?

Asbestos Air Monitoring is a method of detecting the level of airborne asbestos fibres within a specific area or as a background for reassurance.
Asbestos Air Monitoring can also be commonly known as Asbestos Air Fibre Monitoring or Asbestos Air Testing, but the procedure remains the same.

How Is Asbestos Air Monitoring Undertaken?
Asbestos Air Testing is undertaken by drawing air through a filter over a set amount of time. During this time, airborne particles are monitored and are then examined by an asbestos analyst.

EMS provide the following Asbestos Air Monitoring Services:

• Four Stage Asbestos Clearance Testing to HSG 248 (The Analysts Guide) including work area/enclosure visual examination, clearance indicator air test and decontamination unit reassurance air testing as required
• Reassurance Air testing to HSG 248 (The Analysts Guide)
• Leak air testing to HSG 248 (The Analysts Guide)

• Background Air Testing to HSG 248 (The Analysts Guide)
• Personal Air Monitoring to HSG 248 (The Analysts Guide)
• Boundary monitoring during remediation of external ground contamination to HSG 248 (The Analysts Guide)

Why Is Asbestos Air Monitoring Needed?

Asbestos Air Monitoring is required for a number of reasons, some of the most common of these are:

• Personal Monitoring is required to monitor the safety of operatives working on a site whilst removing asbestos containing materials

• After demolition work or surveys

• Monitoring air after or during an asbestos removal project prior to re-occupation

• Assessing the air in an area where asbestos materials are present and may be very poor condition

• Assessment of air in areas where asbestos has been severely damaged, ie. a fire, flood or building collapse

Asbestos Air Monitoring allows for a detailed insight into the air in an affected area or surrounding areas. It allows for correct PPE or RPE to be used in specific circumstances such as asbestos removal works. It also allows for accurate data to be collected to assess if dust suppression methods commonly used as part of asbestos removal works are working satisfactorily and ensure that air fibre count remains at an acceptable level.

Asbestos Air Monitoring also provides data which is required for asbestos removal operatives and other employees to be stored for employee exposure records which are required to be kept by law.

Asbestos Air Monitoring is required prior to re-occupation of a building after asbestos removal work and is one of the four stages of acquiring a clearance certificate for this purpose. This is otherwise known as Four Stage Clearance.

What Is Four Stage Clearance?

Four Stage Clearance is a procedure carried out after licensed asbestos removal works have taken place. It is a legal requirement. This must be undertaken by an independent party to ensure impartiality and accuracy of test results.

It comprises of a full visual inspection of the area affected by asbestos removal works to assess the area has been satisfactorily cleaned and is therefore suitable for re-occupation. Following the visual inspection, Clearance Asbestos Air Monitoring is then undertaken in the enclosure to assess the airborne fibre levels and ensure they are below acceptable levels for people to safely re enter the area and it is suitable for re-occupation or demolition. A Re-Occupation Certificate is then issued to prove this following the inspection.

What Do You Need To Do?

All Asbestos Analysts must be fully qualified. Many will undertake air monitoring tests on handheld tablet devices which allow the data to be imported into management systems for reporting purposes. A competent analytical service will provide a complete inspection and airborne fibre monitoring service. This service allows you peace of mind and includes reassurance inspections and air quality monitoring, personal exposure and four-stage clearance resting for certificates of re-occupation following asbestos removal works.

Air Monitoring works must be undertaken in line with ISO17025 and are carried out in accordance with HSE guidance ‘Asbestos: The analysts guide for sampling analysis and clearance procedures (HSG248). This guidance can be found here.

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