As part of the Control of Asbestos Regulations all staff working on asbestos must be suitable trained and use appropriate control measures.
The staff of a client in the electrical sector come into regular contact with the small amounts of asbestos textiles contained in fuse holders. Masks and disposable coveralls for frequent use was estimated to cost in excess of £1m and represent a major environmental impact.
Because the levels of exposure were low, conventional sampling techniques would not provide data suitable for evaluation. The methodology was modified by increasing sampling flow and analysing samples using Scanning Electron Microscopy, enabling the limits of detection to be reduced from 0.01f/ml to 0.0001 f/ml.
A comprehensive study of staff was undertaken at many locations across the UK. The analysis concluded that, even though it would always be necessary to wear masks, disposal coveralls were not required as the low levels of fibres in the air during work was very similar to those in the natural environment. Our report was submitted to the Health & Safety Executive. A significant cost saving was made by the client and the environmental impact from waste disposal significantly reduced.
Note: for reasons of confidentiality we do not disclose names and location of clients.
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