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Office / Indoor Air Quality – Investigating IAQ Complai - 17 Feb 2018 05:02

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The air quality of the indoor environment such as a non-industrial office environment can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, such an office environment, is the subject of much attention recently, and for good reason. Although serious irreversible health problems related to IAQ in non-industrial office environments are rare, the perception of endangered health is increasingly common among building occupants.

To date, the causes and consequences of poor IAQ are complex and not completely understood, but there are some basic factors that in many cases address IAQ concerns.

IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odours, chemical contaminants, dampness, mould or bacteria.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of physical symptoms and complaints. The most common of these include:

Thermal discomfort: too hot or too cold

Headaches

Fatigue

Shortness of breath (eg. insufficient oxygen related to high carbon dioxide levels)

Sinus congestion

Coughs

Sneezing

Eye, nose, and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea

Skin irritation

These physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, however, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always the cause. Other factors in the indoor environment such as noise, overcrowding, improper lighting, poor ergonomic conditions, and job stress can also lead to these symptoms and complaints. In many situations, a combination of factors is to blame.

An increased likelihood of complaints is usually associated with factors such as the installation of new furnishings, uncontrolled renovation activities, poor air circulation and air flow, persistent moisture and ongoing low relative humidity. Complaints may also increase when there is a stressful work environment, such as impending layoffs, a great deal of overtime, or an ongoing conflict among staff members and management.

A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building or facility, including:

The physical layout of the building

The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The outdoor climate

The people who occupy the building

Contaminants emitted inside and entered from outside the building

Poor indoor air quality and indoor air contaminants affect some people more seriously, including:

People with allergies or asthma

People with respiratory disease

People whose immune system is suppressed as a result of disease or treatment

People who wear contact lenses

Indoor air contaminants can originate within a building or be drawn in from outdoors. These contaminants can lead to indoor air quality problems, even if the HVAC system is well designed, regularly maintained, and functioning to its optimum conditions.

Sources of contaminants inside the building environment may include:

Dust, dirt, or mould in the HVAC system (eg. cooling coils, ducts, registers)

Office equipment such as laser printers and copiers (eg. airborne particulates, ozone)

Personal activities such as smoking or cooking (eg. Volatile organic compounds, nicotine)

Housekeeping activities such as cleaning and dusting

Maintenance activities such as painting (eg. Volatile organic compounds)

Spills of water or other liquids

Special use areas such as print shops and laboratories

Industrial processes such as dry cleaning

Moisture affected building materials (eg. mould and bacteria)

Sources of contaminants from outside the building may include:

Vehicle exhaust

Pollen and dust (eg. long term build up if cleaning regime is inadequate)

Smoke

Unsanitary debris or dumpsters near the outdoor air intake

Depending on the complaint reported by building occupants, an indoor air quality investigation should include the following:

Interview with building occupants to identify potential causes such as identifiable odours, recent changes that may have caused the issue, water intrusion event, increased occupancy, cleaning regime, etc.

Assessment of the ventilation rate (generally when the indoor carbon dioxide levels are over 650 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor levels)

Walkthrough inspection of the building and the ventilation system (filters, cooling coils, condensation trays, air ducts, etc.)

Sampling for airborne contaminants suspected to be present in concentrations associated with the reported complaints.

Documenting the complaint, the investigation, and any actions taken.

Occupant concerns regarding indoor air quality should be taken seriously and responded to as soon as possible. Initial information should be collected, checked and verified, preferably through interviews with occupants and a visual inspection:

Details about the specific complaint

Location(s) of the building where similar concerns about IAQ have been reported

Time of occurrence of the IAQ problem

When and where did it start and what has changed in the building just before the problem was first experienced

People affected and extent of the affected area(s)

Specific details on the health effects or discomfort occupants are experiencing

If the health effects stop soon after leaving the building, or over the weekend

If the symptoms have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner

If there are any identifiable practices inside or outside the building occurring at a time coinciding with the reported issues

If the air conditioning contractor or the building engineer evaluated the HVAC system or other conditions and the conclusions reached

Once the information above is gathered and analysed the walkthrough inspection by a specialist indoor air quality consultant should be undertaken to identify potential sources of contamination or unusual conditions. Generally, at this stage the IAQ consultant should be able to narrow the possibilities and developing air sampling strategy if required to confirm potential causes of the IAQ problem and decide on suitable solutions or if further investigation is required.

Generally, most IAQ issues can be resolved by addressing maintenance issues of the HVAC system (eg. air exchange rates, improved ventilation and air flow, filter change and disinfection of the internal surfaces of the air handling unit and the air ducts), HEPA vacuuming of the entire space, building repairs, addressing moisture issues, removing potential sources of contamination, implementing a new cleaning regime).

Under the Work Health & Safety Legislation, it is the duty of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety.

Asbestos Inspections

If you require assistance regarding the indoor air quality at your workplace please contact SESA on 02 8786 1808

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/14-indoor-air-quality/office-indoor-air-quality-investigating-iaq-complaints.html - Comments: 0

If Your House Does Not Have Decking You Should Add One - 15 Feb 2018 19:28

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Every house is unique and it comes in many price levels. It can be expected the home you buy will not have everything you want but you can always add it on yourself. You may have thought about incorporating some features to your home when you first bought it like a big deck. It's common for homes to have decks that are too small so they must be made bigger.

Constructing a deck designed for your home, or making the present deck bigger will add value to your house. It will likewise offer you a place to have social get togethers, with your friends and neighbors. There are lots of styles and different types of hardwood to choose from. If you don't have the experience to build something such as a deck yourself, then you can hire a professional contractor. Naturally, it is more expensive to engage someone but it is a better deal in the long run. You don't want to wind up having a sloppy deck if you have done it yourself. That can essentially lower the valuation on your home and make it harder to sell, when that is what you want.

5 star decking

Should you hire the right building contractor you might spend more money, but you don't have to do anything, the job gets done right, and the value of your house increases. To find a skilled contractor, the best thing to do first is talk to people you know if they can recommend someone. Those people at your neighborhood lumberyard may also know contractors that they can recommend. They will most likely give you a listing of building contractors that they recommend. You may wish to see any of their previous jobs before you decide to hire someone. I suggest you guarantee that they come highly recommended and that they are properly licensed. Try to get exactly what you want completed, put in writing, with guarantees telling what work will be done, and by what date.

If you want, you can contact a number of contractors and get bids from them before you decide. This may perhaps be the most effective route to go mainly because it frees up your time to do your own work and you have people who know what they are doing working on your deck. When you have a timetable in your deal, you understand when the job will be finished, and your deck can be used.

If your home doesn't have a deck, adding one will certainly make it more fun and will certainly add value. It is possible to certainly have a nice relaxing summer day by sitting on your deck. The deck could also be a great place to have your friends and family gather and have a nice barbecue. - Comments: 0

Office / Indoor Air Quality – Investigating IAQ Complai - 14 Feb 2018 17:24

Tags:

The air quality of the indoor environment such as a non-industrial office environment can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, such an office environment, is the subject of much attention recently, and for good reason. Although serious irreversible health problems related to IAQ in non-industrial office environments are rare, the perception of endangered health is increasingly common among building occupants.

SESA

To date, the causes and consequences of poor IAQ are complex and not completely understood, but there are some basic factors that in many cases address IAQ concerns.

IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odours, chemical contaminants, dampness, mould or bacteria.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of physical symptoms and complaints. The most common of these include:

Thermal discomfort: too hot or too cold

Headaches

Fatigue

Shortness of breath (eg. insufficient oxygen related to high carbon dioxide levels)

Sinus congestion

Coughs

Sneezing

Eye, nose, and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea

Skin irritation

These physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, however, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always the cause. Other factors in the indoor environment such as noise, overcrowding, improper lighting, poor ergonomic conditions, and job stress can also lead to these symptoms and complaints. In many situations, a combination of factors is to blame.

An increased likelihood of complaints is usually associated with factors such as the installation of new furnishings, uncontrolled renovation activities, poor air circulation and air flow, persistent moisture and ongoing low relative humidity. Complaints may also increase when there is a stressful work environment, such as impending layoffs, a great deal of overtime, or an ongoing conflict among staff members and management.

A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building or facility, including:

The physical layout of the building

The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The outdoor climate

The people who occupy the building

Contaminants emitted inside and entered from outside the building

Poor indoor air quality and indoor air contaminants affect some people more seriously, including:

People with allergies or asthma

People with respiratory disease

People whose immune system is suppressed as a result of disease or treatment

People who wear contact lenses

Indoor air contaminants can originate within a building or be drawn in from outdoors. These contaminants can lead to indoor air quality problems, even if the HVAC system is well designed, regularly maintained, and functioning to its optimum conditions.

Sources of contaminants inside the building environment may include:

Dust, dirt, or mould in the HVAC system (eg. cooling coils, ducts, registers)

Office equipment such as laser printers and copiers (eg. airborne particulates, ozone)

Personal activities such as smoking or cooking (eg. Volatile organic compounds, nicotine)

Housekeeping activities such as cleaning and dusting

Maintenance activities such as painting (eg. Volatile organic compounds)

Spills of water or other liquids

Special use areas such as print shops and laboratories

Industrial processes such as dry cleaning

Moisture affected building materials (eg. mould and bacteria)

Sources of contaminants from outside the building may include:

Vehicle exhaust

Pollen and dust (eg. long term build up if cleaning regime is inadequate)

Smoke

Unsanitary debris or dumpsters near the outdoor air intake

Depending on the complaint reported by building occupants, an indoor air quality investigation should include the following:

Interview with building occupants to identify potential causes such as identifiable odours, recent changes that may have caused the issue, water intrusion event, increased occupancy, cleaning regime, etc.

Assessment of the ventilation rate (generally when the indoor carbon dioxide levels are over 650 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor levels)

Walkthrough inspection of the building and the ventilation system (filters, cooling coils, condensation trays, air ducts, etc.)

Sampling for airborne contaminants suspected to be present in concentrations associated with the reported complaints.

Documenting the complaint, the investigation, and any actions taken.

Occupant concerns regarding indoor air quality should be taken seriously and responded to as soon as possible. Initial information should be collected, checked and verified, preferably through interviews with occupants and a visual inspection:

Details about the specific complaint

Location(s) of the building where similar concerns about IAQ have been reported

Time of occurrence of the IAQ problem

When and where did it start and what has changed in the building just before the problem was first experienced

People affected and extent of the affected area(s)

Specific details on the health effects or discomfort occupants are experiencing

If the health effects stop soon after leaving the building, or over the weekend

If the symptoms have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner

If there are any identifiable practices inside or outside the building occurring at a time coinciding with the reported issues

If the air conditioning contractor or the building engineer evaluated the HVAC system or other conditions and the conclusions reached

Once the information above is gathered and analysed the walkthrough inspection by a specialist indoor air quality consultant should be undertaken to identify potential sources of contamination or unusual conditions. Generally, at this stage the IAQ consultant should be able to narrow the possibilities and developing air sampling strategy if required to confirm potential causes of the IAQ problem and decide on suitable solutions or if further investigation is required.

Generally, most IAQ issues can be resolved by addressing maintenance issues of the HVAC system (eg. air exchange rates, improved ventilation and air flow, filter change and disinfection of the internal surfaces of the air handling unit and the air ducts), HEPA vacuuming of the entire space, building repairs, addressing moisture issues, removing potential sources of contamination, implementing a new cleaning regime).

Under the Work Health & Safety Legislation, it is the duty of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety.

If you require assistance regarding the indoor air quality at your workplace please contact SESA on 02 8786 1808

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/14-indoor-air-quality/office-indoor-air-quality-investigating-iaq-complaints.html - Comments: 0

Update Your Surroundings With These Home Improvement Ti - 12 Feb 2018 23:21

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Home improvement encompasses many approaches and methodologies. So too, does it encompass many different mindsets. The tips that you will find below, most certainly, reflect that diversity. They will, however, prove an effective inspiration in getting you on your way towards attaining that home of your dreams.

Roll roof your floor for a practically indestructible finish! Buy roll roofing without the adhesive strip. Glue it in place either in long strips as it comes off the roll or cut up into irregular geometric shapes. Coat thickly with paint and use a brush to work the paint evenly into the surface.

Just like when you move a heavy piece of furniture with drawers in it, you will want to remove these from your cabinets and counter bases before you install them. They will be much lighter and easier to deal with if these have been taken out ahead of time. They are very simple and easy to put in when you are finished.

If you have any doors that squeak upon open or closing, try using a little lubricant. Apply a small amount of commercial lubricant to the door hinge and open and close the door to allow it to enter the crevices. You can also try this with cooking oil, though the results may not last as long as a commercially available lubricant.

When working on household plumbing projects it's always a good idea to shut off the water. Shutting off the water will prevent any potential pipe damage during repair process. It will also prevent water from flooding into your home and causing costly water damage that can be a burden to repair.

Get at that drywall with a sponge! Use a sponge instead of a sander on those drywall seams. It may take a bit of practice, but sponging drywall seams can be as effective as sanding them down. The good thing about it is that you do not create dust with the sanding.

If the closets in your home are not very large, it would be a good idea for you to use organizers if you are trying to sell your home. Doing so will make the closets in your home seem much bigger and a lot of buyers will bypass homes that seem to have too little space.

Replace doorknobs and drawer knobs. These small changes can perk up furniture that you already have and are less expensive than buying a new door or a new set of drawers. Doorknobs and drawer knobs can be bought in a variety of styles and colors, so it's easy to add a little pizazz with just a little bit of money.

One important aspect of doing home improvement projects is measuring. Three must-have, measuring tools for projects are measuring tape, a ruler and a level. The measuring tape allows you to get dimensions of space and of the parts you may use. A ruler allows you to measure and create straight lines. A level allows you to make sure a surface is flat and not inclining or declining.

While major home improvements can grow very expensive, homeowners should avoid taking home loans to fund renovations unless it is absolutely necessary. Unless the renovations in question are needed immediately to prevent damage or make a house fit for sale, it is better to let them wait. Funding home improvement work from savings or investments is far superior to funding it through debt.

http://5stardecking.com/timber-merbau-decking/

Although it is much less expensive to work on your home yourself, making mistakes or not having the motivation to complete a project can quickly add to the cost. It is important to think through what you want to accomplish; this article is meant to be a starting point for you as you begin to gather your thoughts about what you want to do. - Comments: 0

Office / Indoor Air Quality – Investigating IAQ Complai - 11 Feb 2018 10:42

Tags:

The air quality of the indoor environment such as a non-industrial office environment can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, such an office environment, is the subject of much attention recently, and for good reason. Although serious irreversible health problems related to IAQ in non-industrial office environments are rare, the perception of endangered health is increasingly common among building occupants.

To date, the causes and consequences of poor IAQ are complex and not completely understood, but there are some basic factors that in many cases address IAQ concerns.

IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odours, chemical contaminants, dampness, mould or bacteria.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of physical symptoms and complaints. The most common of these include:

Thermal discomfort: too hot or too cold

Headaches

Fatigue

Shortness of breath (eg. insufficient oxygen related to high carbon dioxide levels)

Sinus congestion

Coughs

Sneezing

Eye, nose, and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea

Skin irritation

These physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, however, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always the cause. Other factors in the indoor environment such as noise, overcrowding, improper lighting, poor ergonomic conditions, and job stress can also lead to these symptoms and complaints. In many situations, a combination of factors is to blame.

An increased likelihood of complaints is usually associated with factors such as the installation of new furnishings, uncontrolled renovation activities, poor air circulation and air flow, persistent moisture and ongoing low relative humidity. Complaints may also increase when there is a stressful work environment, such as impending layoffs, a great deal of overtime, or an ongoing conflict among staff members and management.

A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building or facility, including:

The physical layout of the building

The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The outdoor climate

The people who occupy the building

Contaminants emitted inside and entered from outside the building

Poor indoor air quality and indoor air contaminants affect some people more seriously, including:

People with allergies or asthma

People with respiratory disease

People whose immune system is suppressed as a result of disease or treatment

People who wear contact lenses

Indoor air contaminants can originate within a building or be drawn in from outdoors. These contaminants can lead to indoor air quality problems, even if the HVAC system is well designed, regularly maintained, and functioning to its optimum conditions.

Sources of contaminants inside the building environment may include:

Dust, dirt, or mould in the HVAC system (eg. cooling coils, ducts, registers)

Office equipment such as laser printers and copiers (eg. airborne particulates, ozone)

Personal activities such as smoking or cooking (eg. Volatile organic compounds, nicotine)

Housekeeping activities such as cleaning and dusting

Maintenance activities such as painting (eg. Volatile organic compounds)

Spills of water or other liquids

Special use areas such as print shops and laboratories

Industrial processes such as dry cleaning

Moisture affected building materials (eg. mould and bacteria)

Sources of contaminants from outside the building may include:

Vehicle exhaust

Pollen and dust (eg. long term build up if cleaning regime is inadequate)

Smoke

Unsanitary debris or dumpsters near the outdoor air intake

Depending on the complaint reported by building occupants, an indoor air quality investigation should include the following:

Interview with building occupants to identify potential causes such as identifiable odours, recent changes that may have caused the issue, water intrusion event, increased occupancy, cleaning regime, etc.

Assessment of the ventilation rate (generally when the indoor carbon dioxide levels are over 650 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor levels)

Walkthrough inspection of the building and the ventilation system (filters, cooling coils, condensation trays, air ducts, etc.)

Sampling for airborne contaminants suspected to be present in concentrations associated with the reported complaints.

Documenting the complaint, the investigation, and any actions taken.

Occupant concerns regarding indoor air quality should be taken seriously and responded to as soon as possible. Initial information should be collected, checked and verified, preferably through interviews with occupants and a visual inspection:

Details about the specific complaint

Location(s) of the building where similar concerns about IAQ have been reported

Time of occurrence of the IAQ problem

When and where did it start and what has changed in the building just before the problem was first experienced

People affected and extent of the affected area(s)

Specific details on the health effects or discomfort occupants are experiencing

If the health effects stop soon after leaving the building, or over the weekend

If the symptoms have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner

If there are any identifiable practices inside or outside the building occurring at a time coinciding with the reported issues

If the air conditioning contractor or the building engineer evaluated the HVAC system or other conditions and the conclusions reached

Once the information above is gathered and analysed the walkthrough inspection by a specialist indoor air quality consultant should be undertaken to identify potential sources of contamination or unusual conditions. Generally, at this stage the IAQ consultant should be able to narrow the possibilities and developing air sampling strategy if required to confirm potential causes of the IAQ problem and decide on suitable solutions or if further investigation is required.

Generally, most IAQ issues can be resolved by addressing maintenance issues of the HVAC system (eg. air exchange rates, improved ventilation and air flow, filter change and disinfection of the internal surfaces of the air handling unit and the air ducts), HEPA vacuuming of the entire space, building repairs, addressing moisture issues, removing potential sources of contamination, implementing a new cleaning regime).

Under the Work Health & Safety Legislation, it is the duty of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety.

If you require assistance regarding the indoor air quality at your workplace please contact SESA on 02 8786 1808

https://www.sesa.com.au/asbestos-testing-and-analysis.html

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/14-indoor-air-quality/office-indoor-air-quality-investigating-iaq-complaints.html - Comments: 0

Bolster The Aesthetic Beauty Of Your Home With These Ti - 11 Feb 2018 00:30

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It can be hard to find the motivation to start a new project no matter how good you are at it. Luckily there are tips to help you with that in this article.

Attaching PVC pipes to each another is easy, and requires just a bit of PVC primer and cement. You should always use products made for this type of material. Additionally, there should be no water on the surfaces of he pipes.

In order to save money on air conditioning costs during the summer, try installing ceiling fans. Ceiling fans recirculate air within a room, cooling it down without the need for turning on a central air system. They are relatively easy to install and can be installed in place of your lighting fixture.

If your bed doesn't come with a headboard, or you didn't purchase it with one, you can easily solve your problem. Use an old weathered wooden gate or a lovely iron gate to make a one of a kind headboard. That's something you won't see anywhere else and will not be sold in stores.

When you hire a contractor to work on a home improvement project, make sure that he is holding a current license and that he has insurance for his employees. This is important for your protection, in case you have a legal dispute about the quality of the work. In addition, if his employees are not covered by his insurance, you might be financially responsible for any injuries that an employee incurs, while he is on your premises.

Before investing in new hardwood floors, bring in a professional to inspect the current flooring in your home. Frequently, you may have a wonderful floor right under the old flooring in your home. You can wind up with nice, high-quality flooring for far less money than purchasing new hardwood.

If you are renting out a property, be sure to respond immediately to your tenant. If your tenant calls to let you know about a problem, try to have it fixed as soon as possible. When you fix a problem immediately it can help you prevent further damage. It can also have a positive effect on your relationship with your tenant.

If you live in a home that was built before 1990, consider having your attic re-insulated with newer materials and energy saving foam. Newer home insulation technology can save you hundreds of dollars in less than a year by improving the overall efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.

The kinds of home improvement projects that involve repairing actual damage should be at the very top of your to-do list. Most damage that often happens to your home you may just forget about. Avoid doing this. Ignoring problems can make them worse. Before you know it, a little issue has turned into a major mess.

While most people know that taking a shower instead of soaking in a tub helps to conserve water, not everyone knows that you can actually save more money on your water usage by replacing your original shower head with a specially designed low-flow shower head. This is a quick and easy improvement that can be done in one day and with only a minor cost.

You'd be surprised at how much difference an updated address and nameplate can make on the front porch of your house. Sleek and shining house numbers make your home easier to locate, while a custom-engraved nameplate adds class and distinction. Finally, spend a little bit of cash on an ornamental door knocker, even if you have a doorbell.

If one loves water and swimming then getting their own pool may be just the home improvement thing for them. There are many options for different kinds of pools one can get for their home allowing a custom fit pool for one's needs. A pool can be just the thing for home improvement.

composite decking Perth

If you want to make your pathway in front of your house look nicer, you can line your pathway with little lights. This adds a touch of elegance and class to your walkway. Additionally, it gives your guests targeted light so that they can find the way to your door more easily.

Don't just go to a contractor who has a better price. Some contractors will quote low in order to get hired, but will add charges during their work. A low price can indicate the quality of work that will be rendered. Thoroughly research what you want done, and select your contractor accordingly.

Replacing old drapes, curtains or shades can refresh any room. It is inexpensive to change out window treatments, and a new color or fabric can make a huge difference in your room. You might even customize your room every season with fabrics and colors which reflect the time of year; rich colors for winter and fall, and bright, airy colors for summer and spring.

Home improvement can save you money and it is fun. You should also keep in mind that by working on your home, you are building something that is yours. You can transform a house or an apartment into a warm and welcoming home, by putting some extra effort and love into it. - Comments: 0

Office / Indoor Air Quality – Investigating IAQ Complai - 09 Feb 2018 21:22

Tags:

The air quality of the indoor environment such as a non-industrial office environment can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, such an office environment, is the subject of much attention recently, and for good reason. Although serious irreversible health problems related to IAQ in non-industrial office environments are rare, the perception of endangered health is increasingly common among building occupants.

To date, the causes and consequences of poor IAQ are complex and not completely understood, but there are some basic factors that in many cases address IAQ concerns.

IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odours, chemical contaminants, dampness, mould or bacteria.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of physical symptoms and complaints. The most common of these include:

Thermal discomfort: too hot or too cold

Headaches

Fatigue

Shortness of breath (eg. insufficient oxygen related to high carbon dioxide levels)

Sinus congestion

Coughs

Sneezing

Eye, nose, and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea

Skin irritation

These physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, however, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always the cause. Other factors in the indoor environment such as noise, overcrowding, improper lighting, poor ergonomic conditions, and job stress can also lead to these symptoms and complaints. In many situations, a combination of factors is to blame.

An increased likelihood of complaints is usually associated with factors such as the installation of new furnishings, uncontrolled renovation activities, poor air circulation and air flow, persistent moisture and ongoing low relative humidity. Complaints may also increase when there is a stressful work environment, such as impending layoffs, a great deal of overtime, or an ongoing conflict among staff members and management.

A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building or facility, including:

The physical layout of the building

The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The outdoor climate

The people who occupy the building

Contaminants emitted inside and entered from outside the building

Poor indoor air quality and indoor air contaminants affect some people more seriously, including:

People with allergies or asthma

People with respiratory disease

People whose immune system is suppressed as a result of disease or treatment

People who wear contact lenses

Indoor air contaminants can originate within a building or be drawn in from outdoors. These contaminants can lead to indoor air quality problems, even if the HVAC system is well designed, regularly maintained, and functioning to its optimum conditions.

Sources of contaminants inside the building environment may include:

Dust, dirt, or mould in the HVAC system (eg. cooling coils, ducts, registers)

Office equipment such as laser printers and copiers (eg. airborne particulates, ozone)

Personal activities such as smoking or cooking (eg. Volatile organic compounds, nicotine)

Housekeeping activities such as cleaning and dusting

Maintenance activities such as painting (eg. Volatile organic compounds)

Spills of water or other liquids

Special use areas such as print shops and laboratories

Industrial processes such as dry cleaning

Moisture affected building materials (eg. mould and bacteria)

Sources of contaminants from outside the building may include:

Vehicle exhaust

Pollen and dust (eg. long term build up if cleaning regime is inadequate)

Smoke

Unsanitary debris or dumpsters near the outdoor air intake

Depending on the complaint reported by building occupants, an indoor air quality investigation should include the following:

Interview with building occupants to identify potential causes such as identifiable odours, recent changes that may have caused the issue, water intrusion event, increased occupancy, cleaning regime, etc.

Assessment of the ventilation rate (generally when the indoor carbon dioxide levels are over 650 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor levels)

Walkthrough inspection of the building and the ventilation system (filters, cooling coils, condensation trays, air ducts, etc.)

Sampling for airborne contaminants suspected to be present in concentrations associated with the reported complaints.

Documenting the complaint, the investigation, and any actions taken.

Occupant concerns regarding indoor air quality should be taken seriously and responded to as soon as possible. Initial information should be collected, checked and verified, preferably through interviews with occupants and a visual inspection:

Details about the specific complaint

Location(s) of the building where similar concerns about IAQ have been reported

Time of occurrence of the IAQ problem

When and where did it start and what has changed in the building just before the problem was first experienced

People affected and extent of the affected area(s)

Specific details on the health effects or discomfort occupants are experiencing

If the health effects stop soon after leaving the building, or over the weekend

If the symptoms have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner

If there are any identifiable practices inside or outside the building occurring at a time coinciding with the reported issues

If the air conditioning contractor or the building engineer evaluated the HVAC system or other conditions and the conclusions reached

Once the information above is gathered and analysed the walkthrough inspection by a specialist indoor air quality consultant should be undertaken to identify potential sources of contamination or unusual conditions. Generally, at this stage the IAQ consultant should be able to narrow the possibilities and developing air sampling strategy if required to confirm potential causes of the IAQ problem and decide on suitable solutions or if further investigation is required.

Generally, most IAQ issues can be resolved by addressing maintenance issues of the HVAC system (eg. air exchange rates, improved ventilation and air flow, filter change and disinfection of the internal surfaces of the air handling unit and the air ducts), HEPA vacuuming of the entire space, building repairs, addressing moisture issues, removing potential sources of contamination, implementing a new cleaning regime).

Under the Work Health & Safety Legislation, it is the duty of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety.

If you require assistance regarding the indoor air quality at your workplace please contact SESA on 02 8786 1808

Occupational hygienist

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/14-indoor-air-quality/office-indoor-air-quality-investigating-iaq-complaints.html - Comments: 0

Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Developing Asbestos Related - 02 Feb 2018 10:08

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring rock forming mineral silicate in fibrous form belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. It occurs naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world. There are six types of naturally occurring asbestos fibres of which only three have been used commercially in Australia. These included the serpentine: Chrysotile (white asbestos); and the amphiboles: Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and Amosite (brown or grey asbestos). The other three non-commercially used amphiboles included Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

Asbestos has been used in the ancient world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is believed that as early as 4000 BC, asbestos fibres were used for wicks in lamps and candles. Between 2000-3000 BC, embalmed bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth. The Greeks and Romans documented the harmful effects of asbestos fibres on those who mined the silken material from ancient stone quarries noting a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

The commercial use of asbestos commenced in the late 1800s in Australia in four main industries including Mining and Milling; Building & Construction (for strengthening cement and plastics, for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption); Ship Building (eg. insulation of boilers and steampipes) and the Automotive Industry (eg. vehicle brake shoes, gaskets and clutch pads).

There were over 3000 products (Asbestos Containing Materials or ACM) manufactured with asbestos fibres. The ACM fall into two broad categories: friable and non-friable (or bonded).

‘Friable’ is ACM that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand, when dry. These materials can contain higher percentages of asbestos fibres and are easily or more likely to release airborne fibres into the environment with minimal disturbance. As such, they pose a greater risk to health. Friable materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist with Class A Asbestos Removal Licence. Examples of friable asbestos-containing materials include sprayed on fire retardants, insulation (eg. millboard, pipe insulation), sound proofing, the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves and hot water systems and associated pipe lagging, the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings, thermal lagging, some vermiculite.

‘Non-friable’, or bonded ACM is used to refer to ACM in which the asbestos is firmly bound in the matrix of the material. These materials are unlikely to release measurable levels of airborne asbestos fibre into the environment if they are undisturbed. Therefore, they generally pose a lower risk to health. However, activities that may abrade the ACM such as drilling, grinding have the potential to release higher concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres into the environment. The non-friable ACM are mainly made up of asbestos fibres together with a bonding compound (such as cement), and typically contain up to 15 per cent asbestos. Non-friable ACM are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. Non-friable ACM are the most common in domestic houses. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Examples of non-friable ACM include asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls, ceilings and roofs, moulded items such as downpipes) and vinyl floor tiles.

While asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibres become airborne in respirable size, are inhaled and lodge deep into the lungs (in the alveoli). Inhalation is the main route of entry to the body. Respirable fibres are fibres that are more likely to reach the small airways and alveolar region of the lung and are defined as having a length of more than five microns, and an aspect ratio (length/width) greater than 3:1.

Asbestos is classified according to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as Carcinogenicity Category 1A (May cause cancer).

There are several asbestos related diseases that may result from the exposure to asbestos which depends on factors such as fibre type; size and shape of fibres; concentration of asbestos fibres in the inhaled air and period of time over which the person was exposed. The asbestos related diseases include:

Asbestosis

Pleural plaques

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum

Lung cancer

Benign asbestos pleural effusion

Progressive pleural fibrosis (diffuse pleural thickening)

Transpulmonary bands (crow’s feet)

Rounded atelectasis

https://www.sesa.com.au/mould-testing-inspection-sydney-nsw-act.html

All asbestos related diseases have a latency period that is the period commencing from the time of the exposure to the asbestos fibres first occurred until symptoms of a disease show. This may range from 10 – 50 years for the asbestos related diseases.

Workplace exposures to asbestos fibres first occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing asbestos containing products or using those products during the construction of buildings. Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres is during the maintenance, renovation or demolition of old buildings with asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing materials are subject to environmental weathering which causes them to breakdown and release asbestos fibres. Low levels of airborne asbestos fibres are encountered in the environment from the breakdown of asbestos products. Environmental weathering of asbestos cement sheets in roofing and wall cladding, disturbance of asbestos from a variety of building materials like insulation and asbestos release to air from clutches and brakes in cars and trucks results in asbestos fibres being dispersed in the environment.

According to Australian Government Department of Health website, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Most people are also exposed to higher levels of asbestos at some time in their lives; for example, in their workplace, community or home. However, for most people, this kind of infrequent exposure is also unlikely to result in any ill effects.

Safe Work Australia states that “the typical environmental background in outdoor air is 0.0005 fibres/ml and 0.0002 fibres/ml in indoor air. The daily inhalation volume for an average adult is 22 m3 or 22000 litres. This means 5500 fibres are breathed/day by the average person (proportion of time spent indoors = 20 hours/day). Despite this the general population does not contract asbestos related disease in significant numbers. The background rate of mesothelioma is less than one per million per year. By comparison, the annual death rate for a 40 year old male in 2008 was 1.6 per thousand or 1600 per million. However, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Most people who develop asbestos related diseases were workers who have worked on jobs where they frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres. As an example, construction workers using unsafe practices in the past may have frequently encountered asbestos fibre levels significantly higher than those levels found in the background. The current workplace exposure standard (time weighted average (TWA) over an eight-hour period) is 0.1 fibres/millilitre of air (100 fibres per litre which is between 500 and 10,000 times the background levels). In the past, workers in asbestos milling or mining often encountered fibre concentrations a million times higher than background levels. In 2011, 606 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and 125 deaths were caused by asbestosis in Australia.

Family members of exposed workers or those who lived close to active asbestos mines in the past are also at risk. A worker exposed to asbestos fibres or a home renovator can carry asbestos fibres on their clothing, boots, skin, hair and tools. Everyone should be alert to ensure they do not become exposed to these fibres.

A very small number of asbestos-related disease cases occur each year in people who have not worked with asbestos products. The low number of cases makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease or the likely exposure event, but unsafe handling of asbestos materials in the home may have contributed to some of these cases.

The uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos containing materials must be avoided at any time to prevent the release of airborne asbestos and increase the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable by managing asbestos containing materials in-situ and adopting safe work practices as required by the Work Health & Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia Codes of Practice “How to Manage & Control Asbestos In the Workplace”: and “ How to Safely Remove Asbestos”.

If you require assistance in asbestos inspection, asbestos testing or asbestos assessment contact SESA on 02 8786 1808.

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/15-asbestos/asbestos-exposure-risk-of-developing-asbestos-related-disease.html - Comments: 0

Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Developing Asbestos Related - 02 Feb 2018 09:09

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring rock forming mineral silicate in fibrous form belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. It occurs naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world. There are six types of naturally occurring asbestos fibres of which only three have been used commercially in Australia. These included the serpentine: Chrysotile (white asbestos); and the amphiboles: Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and Amosite (brown or grey asbestos). The other three non-commercially used amphiboles included Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

Asbestos has been used in the ancient world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is believed that as early as 4000 BC, asbestos fibres were used for wicks in lamps and candles. Between 2000-3000 BC, embalmed bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth. The Greeks and Romans documented the harmful effects of asbestos fibres on those who mined the silken material from ancient stone quarries noting a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

The commercial use of asbestos commenced in the late 1800s in Australia in four main industries including Mining and Milling; Building & Construction (for strengthening cement and plastics, for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption); Ship Building (eg. insulation of boilers and steampipes) and the Automotive Industry (eg. vehicle brake shoes, gaskets and clutch pads).

There were over 3000 products (Asbestos Containing Materials or ACM) manufactured with asbestos fibres. The ACM fall into two broad categories: friable and non-friable (or bonded).

‘Friable’ is ACM that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand, when dry. These materials can contain higher percentages of asbestos fibres and are easily or more likely to release airborne fibres into the environment with minimal disturbance. As such, they pose a greater risk to health. Friable materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist with Class A Asbestos Removal Licence. Examples of friable asbestos-containing materials include sprayed on fire retardants, insulation (eg. millboard, pipe insulation), sound proofing, the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves and hot water systems and associated pipe lagging, the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings, thermal lagging, some vermiculite.

‘Non-friable’, or bonded ACM is used to refer to ACM in which the asbestos is firmly bound in the matrix of the material. These materials are unlikely to release measurable levels of airborne asbestos fibre into the environment if they are undisturbed. Therefore, they generally pose a lower risk to health. However, activities that may abrade the ACM such as drilling, grinding have the potential to release higher concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres into the environment. The non-friable ACM are mainly made up of asbestos fibres together with a bonding compound (such as cement), and typically contain up to 15 per cent asbestos. Non-friable ACM are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. Non-friable ACM are the most common in domestic houses. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Examples of non-friable ACM include asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls, ceilings and roofs, moulded items such as downpipes) and vinyl floor tiles.

While asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibres become airborne in respirable size, are inhaled and lodge deep into the lungs (in the alveoli). Inhalation is the main route of entry to the body. Respirable fibres are fibres that are more likely to reach the small airways and alveolar region of the lung and are defined as having a length of more than five microns, and an aspect ratio (length/width) greater than 3:1.

Asbestos is classified according to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as Carcinogenicity Category 1A (May cause cancer).

There are several asbestos related diseases that may result from the exposure to asbestos which depends on factors such as fibre type; size and shape of fibres; concentration of asbestos fibres in the inhaled air and period of time over which the person was exposed. The asbestos related diseases include:

Asbestosis

Pleural plaques

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum

Lung cancer

Benign asbestos pleural effusion

Progressive pleural fibrosis (diffuse pleural thickening)

Transpulmonary bands (crow’s feet)

Rounded atelectasis

All asbestos related diseases have a latency period that is the period commencing from the time of the exposure to the asbestos fibres first occurred until symptoms of a disease show. This may range from 10 – 50 years for the asbestos related diseases.

Workplace exposures to asbestos fibres first occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing asbestos containing products or using those products during the construction of buildings. Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres is during the maintenance, renovation or demolition of old buildings with asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing materials are subject to environmental weathering which causes them to breakdown and release asbestos fibres. Low levels of airborne asbestos fibres are encountered in the environment from the breakdown of asbestos products. Environmental weathering of asbestos cement sheets in roofing and wall cladding, disturbance of asbestos from a variety of building materials like insulation and asbestos release to air from clutches and brakes in cars and trucks results in asbestos fibres being dispersed in the environment.

According to Australian Government Department of Health website, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Most people are also exposed to higher levels of asbestos at some time in their lives; for example, in their workplace, community or home. However, for most people, this kind of infrequent exposure is also unlikely to result in any ill effects.

property risk management

Safe Work Australia states that “the typical environmental background in outdoor air is 0.0005 fibres/ml and 0.0002 fibres/ml in indoor air. The daily inhalation volume for an average adult is 22 m3 or 22000 litres. This means 5500 fibres are breathed/day by the average person (proportion of time spent indoors = 20 hours/day). Despite this the general population does not contract asbestos related disease in significant numbers. The background rate of mesothelioma is less than one per million per year. By comparison, the annual death rate for a 40 year old male in 2008 was 1.6 per thousand or 1600 per million. However, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Most people who develop asbestos related diseases were workers who have worked on jobs where they frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres. As an example, construction workers using unsafe practices in the past may have frequently encountered asbestos fibre levels significantly higher than those levels found in the background. The current workplace exposure standard (time weighted average (TWA) over an eight-hour period) is 0.1 fibres/millilitre of air (100 fibres per litre which is between 500 and 10,000 times the background levels). In the past, workers in asbestos milling or mining often encountered fibre concentrations a million times higher than background levels. In 2011, 606 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and 125 deaths were caused by asbestosis in Australia.

Family members of exposed workers or those who lived close to active asbestos mines in the past are also at risk. A worker exposed to asbestos fibres or a home renovator can carry asbestos fibres on their clothing, boots, skin, hair and tools. Everyone should be alert to ensure they do not become exposed to these fibres.

A very small number of asbestos-related disease cases occur each year in people who have not worked with asbestos products. The low number of cases makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease or the likely exposure event, but unsafe handling of asbestos materials in the home may have contributed to some of these cases.

The uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos containing materials must be avoided at any time to prevent the release of airborne asbestos and increase the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable by managing asbestos containing materials in-situ and adopting safe work practices as required by the Work Health & Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia Codes of Practice “How to Manage & Control Asbestos In the Workplace”: and “ How to Safely Remove Asbestos”.

If you require assistance in asbestos inspection, asbestos testing or asbestos assessment contact SESA on 02 8786 1808.

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/15-asbestos/asbestos-exposure-risk-of-developing-asbestos-related-disease.html - Comments: 0

Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Developing Asbestos Related - 02 Feb 2018 06:07

Tags:

Asbestos is a naturally occurring rock forming mineral silicate in fibrous form belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. It occurs naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world. There are six types of naturally occurring asbestos fibres of which only three have been used commercially in Australia. These included the serpentine: Chrysotile (white asbestos); and the amphiboles: Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and Amosite (brown or grey asbestos). The other three non-commercially used amphiboles included Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

Asbestos has been used in the ancient world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is believed that as early as 4000 BC, asbestos fibres were used for wicks in lamps and candles. Between 2000-3000 BC, embalmed bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth. The Greeks and Romans documented the harmful effects of asbestos fibres on those who mined the silken material from ancient stone quarries noting a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

The commercial use of asbestos commenced in the late 1800s in Australia in four main industries including Mining and Milling; Building & Construction (for strengthening cement and plastics, for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption); Ship Building (eg. insulation of boilers and steampipes) and the Automotive Industry (eg. vehicle brake shoes, gaskets and clutch pads).

There were over 3000 products (Asbestos Containing Materials or ACM) manufactured with asbestos fibres. The ACM fall into two broad categories: friable and non-friable (or bonded).

‘Friable’ is ACM that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand, when dry. These materials can contain higher percentages of asbestos fibres and are easily or more likely to release airborne fibres into the environment with minimal disturbance. As such, they pose a greater risk to health. Friable materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist with Class A Asbestos Removal Licence. Examples of friable asbestos-containing materials include sprayed on fire retardants, insulation (eg. millboard, pipe insulation), sound proofing, the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves and hot water systems and associated pipe lagging, the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings, thermal lagging, some vermiculite.

‘Non-friable’, or bonded ACM is used to refer to ACM in which the asbestos is firmly bound in the matrix of the material. These materials are unlikely to release measurable levels of airborne asbestos fibre into the environment if they are undisturbed. Therefore, they generally pose a lower risk to health. However, activities that may abrade the ACM such as drilling, grinding have the potential to release higher concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres into the environment. The non-friable ACM are mainly made up of asbestos fibres together with a bonding compound (such as cement), and typically contain up to 15 per cent asbestos. Non-friable ACM are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. Non-friable ACM are the most common in domestic houses. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Examples of non-friable ACM include asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls, ceilings and roofs, moulded items such as downpipes) and vinyl floor tiles.

While asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibres become airborne in respirable size, are inhaled and lodge deep into the lungs (in the alveoli). Inhalation is the main route of entry to the body. Respirable fibres are fibres that are more likely to reach the small airways and alveolar region of the lung and are defined as having a length of more than five microns, and an aspect ratio (length/width) greater than 3:1.

Asbestos is classified according to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as Carcinogenicity Category 1A (May cause cancer).

There are several asbestos related diseases that may result from the exposure to asbestos which depends on factors such as fibre type; size and shape of fibres; concentration of asbestos fibres in the inhaled air and period of time over which the person was exposed. The asbestos related diseases include:

Asbestosis

Pleural plaques

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum

Lung cancer

Benign asbestos pleural effusion

Progressive pleural fibrosis (diffuse pleural thickening)

Transpulmonary bands (crow’s feet)

Rounded atelectasis

All asbestos related diseases have a latency period that is the period commencing from the time of the exposure to the asbestos fibres first occurred until symptoms of a disease show. This may range from 10 – 50 years for the asbestos related diseases.

Workplace exposures to asbestos fibres first occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing asbestos containing products or using those products during the construction of buildings. Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres is during the maintenance, renovation or demolition of old buildings with asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing materials are subject to environmental weathering which causes them to breakdown and release asbestos fibres. Low levels of airborne asbestos fibres are encountered in the environment from the breakdown of asbestos products. Environmental weathering of asbestos cement sheets in roofing and wall cladding, disturbance of asbestos from a variety of building materials like insulation and asbestos release to air from clutches and brakes in cars and trucks results in asbestos fibres being dispersed in the environment.

https://www.sesa.com.au/occupational-noise-surveys-assessments-occupational-hygienists-sydney-nsw-act.html

According to Australian Government Department of Health website, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Most people are also exposed to higher levels of asbestos at some time in their lives; for example, in their workplace, community or home. However, for most people, this kind of infrequent exposure is also unlikely to result in any ill effects.

Safe Work Australia states that “the typical environmental background in outdoor air is 0.0005 fibres/ml and 0.0002 fibres/ml in indoor air. The daily inhalation volume for an average adult is 22 m3 or 22000 litres. This means 5500 fibres are breathed/day by the average person (proportion of time spent indoors = 20 hours/day). Despite this the general population does not contract asbestos related disease in significant numbers. The background rate of mesothelioma is less than one per million per year. By comparison, the annual death rate for a 40 year old male in 2008 was 1.6 per thousand or 1600 per million. However, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Most people who develop asbestos related diseases were workers who have worked on jobs where they frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres. As an example, construction workers using unsafe practices in the past may have frequently encountered asbestos fibre levels significantly higher than those levels found in the background. The current workplace exposure standard (time weighted average (TWA) over an eight-hour period) is 0.1 fibres/millilitre of air (100 fibres per litre which is between 500 and 10,000 times the background levels). In the past, workers in asbestos milling or mining often encountered fibre concentrations a million times higher than background levels. In 2011, 606 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and 125 deaths were caused by asbestosis in Australia.

Family members of exposed workers or those who lived close to active asbestos mines in the past are also at risk. A worker exposed to asbestos fibres or a home renovator can carry asbestos fibres on their clothing, boots, skin, hair and tools. Everyone should be alert to ensure they do not become exposed to these fibres.

A very small number of asbestos-related disease cases occur each year in people who have not worked with asbestos products. The low number of cases makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease or the likely exposure event, but unsafe handling of asbestos materials in the home may have contributed to some of these cases.

The uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos containing materials must be avoided at any time to prevent the release of airborne asbestos and increase the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable by managing asbestos containing materials in-situ and adopting safe work practices as required by the Work Health & Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia Codes of Practice “How to Manage & Control Asbestos In the Workplace”: and “ How to Safely Remove Asbestos”.

If you require assistance in asbestos inspection, asbestos testing or asbestos assessment contact SESA on 02 8786 1808.

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/15-asbestos/asbestos-exposure-risk-of-developing-asbestos-related-disease.html - Comments: 0

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