Monitoring for harmful asbestos fibers is not a new technology, however the ability to monitor for this serious work-place hazard in real-time is. Using world-first technology our partners at ALERT Technology Ltd in the UK have developed a device which is able to alert to airborne asbestos fibres in real-time. Currently undergoing a feasibility study and subsequent testing in Australia, AES will be able to bring this to market very shortly.
Monitoring for airborne asbestos in real-time provides a vital early warning and enables an immediate and proactive safety response, helping to prevent the risk of prolonged exposure. Receiving an early warning when asbestos fibres have been disturbed and released into the air will help reduce prolonged and unintentional exposure. When alerted, key decision makers on site are then able to implement the appropriate corrective safety actions without delay.
Current sampling methods generally take several days for results to be returned from the lab, running the risk that workers have already been exposed to asbestos for that period of time, and essentially too late. Having a real-time airborne asbestos alert provides that extra layer of protection instantly notifying that asbestos is present.
How harmful is asbestos exposure?
The health risks related to the inhalation and ingestion of airborne asbestos fibres are widely understood. As a category one human carcinogen, asbestos related diseases are responsible for 1 in 3 occupational cancers and claim the lives of 107,000 people worldwide every year*.
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, it is widely acknowledged that prolonged exposure to the small respirable fibres (< 3μm in thickness, > 5μm in length, with a 3:1 aspect ratio) greatly increases the risk of developing diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancers and asbestosis – diseases that may take decades to manifest and are often terminal.
What makes exposure to asbestos fibres so deadly is that the symptoms of the related diseases do not usually appear for 15-30 years after the asbestos exposure.
It is this sad fact that is affecting many of the tradespeople who worked with asbestos before the lethal effects of exposure were clearly understood. This is why it is so important to protect yourself and those you work with today.
Types of asbestos
Before being banned in December 2003, asbestos was used in a range of industries including in the construction and transport industries.
It’s now illegal to make, import or use asbestos because of its long-term dangers to health.
Asbestos can be:
friable – asbestos that is easily crushed into a powder. Friable asbestos has a higher risk of airborne fibres being released when it is handled.
non-friable (bonded) – asbestos that is mixed with cement or resin to keep fibres in place. Non-friable asbestos poses a risk of releasing airborne fibres if it gets damaged.
Training and licensing requirements are different for workers who handle each type of asbestos. Some non-friable asbestos is more likely to get brittle or break, like low density asbestos fibre board.
Real-time asbestos alert technology really will be a game-changer and we’re proud to be a part of the validation and implementation process to bring this innovative device to Australia.
To be the first to be notified about when this device will be commercially available, please just get in contact with us.
For more information about our approved feasibility study with Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) in conjunction with Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII)** – RegTech Round, on the challenge of using technology for real-time and accurate asbestos testing, please go here: https://www.asbestossafety.gov.au/BRII
*Source: World Health Organization website.
**BRII is administered by the Australian Government, through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. or to be the first to be notified about when this device will be available, please just get in contact with us.