Here at WG Safety, we provide consultancy services for health and safety, occupational hygiene and environmental aspects of the workplace. Today we are going to focus on air sampling assessments. If you are considering whether you should undergo an air sampling assessment, read on to find out more about what it entails, why you might require it, and how we carry out air sampling assessments at WG Safety.
What is an Air Sampling Assessment?
Air sampling assessments measure the amount of contaminants in a particular environment. The contaminants are typically measured in milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m³) for particulates and parts per million (ppm) for gases. To put the measurements in perspective, 1 mg/m³ is approximately the same as one teaspoon of dust spread over the area of a football field to a height of one metre, and 1 part per million (ppm) is approximately the same as the contents of a party balloon compared to the volume of air inside 50 three-bedroom houses.
Why You Might Need an Air Sampling Assessment
Air sampling is carried out to make sure that workplace environment is meeting regulatory standards. It is also carried out as part of occupational hygiene or health and safety assessments to calculate the employee exposure to airborne hazards. As the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 places a duty on employers to carry out assessments to evaluate the risks to health when using hazardous substances in the workplace, you might need to carry out an air sampling assessment to meet this legal obligation. Airborne hazards from gases, vapours, dusts and fibres can all cause potentially life-threatening illnesses, which could impact the lungs, kidneys or liver.
In the UK, each year approximately 13,000 people die from diseases which were caused by the workplace. Therefore, it is an essential method of monitoring workers’ exposure to airborne hazards, and is relevant to almost every industry, considering everything from flour dust exposure in a bakery to chemical vapour exposure in a factory. By carrying out regular measurement of the concentration of airborne contaminants, it is possible to decrease workers’ exposure, preventing chronic respiratory diseases and occupational cancers.
Types of Contaminants in Air Sampling
There are different types of contaminants that are commonly measured during air sampling, such as total inhalable and respirable particulate, VOCs, respirable crystalline silica, isocyanates, formaldehyde, weld fume metals and bioaerosols.
Looking specifically at bioaerosols they are suspension of fine aerosols or particles containing micro-organisms, typically bacteria, fungi and endotoxins. They can cause a wide range of health effects. Endotoxins are part of the outer membrane of the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria, which can cause both acute and chronic ill-health effects when inhaled.
Through air sampling, it’s possible to find the total levels of viable bacteria and fungi within the workplace, discerning the predominant culturable species. Microbiological dip-slide testing is used to monitor microbial growth within the workplace to see the level of bacterial contamination (colony-forming units per millilitre) of sample fluid.
Air Sampling Assessments at WG Safety
Our BOHS-qualified consultants have the knowledge and experience to carry out occupational air sampling for dust, fume and vapour, in a wide range of different industrial and manufacturing workplaces. Our team employs current sampling methodologies and latest air sampling equipment such as use of the Casella Apex 2 pro sampling pumps to carry out personal and background monitoring. We measure the exposure levels and evaluate the risks, providing reports that outline any areas needed to develop a strategy of action with practical solutions.
Based in Cannock, for more information about workplace air sampling assessments, please feel free to get in touch with our team by completing our online contact form, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us on 01543 670067 and a member of our team will be pleased to help you with any questions you may have for us about air sampling assessments or any other services.