When Asbestos Air Monitoring is required?
Asbestos air monitoring means sampling of airborne asbestos fibre to assist in the risk assessment and evaluation of control measures associated with the removal regarding human exposure to asbestos fibres by inhalation. The asbestos air monitoring must be undertaken in accordance with with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres [NOHSC:3003 (2005)].
Asbestos fibre air monitoring is required to be undertaken by a Licensed Asbestos Assessor (eg. competent person or occupational hygienist) for the following situations depending on the purpose of the assessment:
- Background asbestos air monitoring - at any time where it is likely that asbestos fibres are release into the air for an occupied area.
- Background asbestos air monitoring - to complement the risk assessment of an asbestos inspection or asbestos survey and determine urgency for removal or treatment option where unstable or deteriorated asbestos containing material is identified.
- Background, control and clearance asbestos air monitoring - for the removal of any quantity of friable asbestos and removal of non-friable (bonded) asbestos if determined as needed by a risk assessment.
- Exposure air monitoring – undertaken for asbestos workers to estimate and evaluate employee exposure.
Responsibility for arranging air monitoring for asbestos removal
For asbestos removal at a workplace, under the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011, the person who commissions the asbestos removal work is responsible for arranging a Licensed Asbestos Assessor (eg. Occupational Hygienist) independent of the asbestos removalist to determine air monitoring requirements. Where the asbestos removal work is being undertaken at domestic premises, the person engaged to do the asbestos removal work is responsible for arranging a competent person independent of the asbestos removalist to determine air monitoring requirements.
Asbestos Air Monitoring for Non Friable (Bonded) Asbestos Removal
Asbestos air monitoring is not always required for the removal of non-friable (bonded) asbestos containing material, however, it is regarded as good occupational hygiene practice. Air monitoring is required during the removal of bonded asbestos material that is friable (easily broken) as a result of the work process. This requires an assessment by an occupational hygienist prior to removal work commencing.