There are still six million tonnes of asbestos spread across 1.5 million buildings in the UK, including houses, factories, offices, schools and hospitals*. Any building constructed or renovated before the year 2000 has the potential to contain asbestos.
According to the HSE, asbestos is still the number one cause of occupational deaths in the UK today, with over 5,000 recorded annually despite the fact it has been banned in the UK since 1999. That equates to around 20 tradespeople per week.
All types of asbestos contain fibres that, when they become airborne, can be inhaled and cause serious and fatal diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening. These diseases do not affect individuals immediately and can take years to develop. However, by the time they are diagnosed, it is too late to take any preventative measures.
Undamaged, sealed materials are unlikely to release fibres and pose a minor risk. However, if asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are disturbed or start to deteriorate, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and breathed in by workers and any other occupants. Buildings with a high level of activity and daily footfall have an increased risk of inadvertent damage and therefore accelerated deterioration.
Traditionally, asbestos surveying and detection has meant samples of suspected asbestos-containing materials being sent to laboratories for analysis by competent technicians. Collecting the sample itself involves a risk in terms of disturbing fibres and the exercise only reflects conditions at a single point in time. Until now, detecting airborne asbestos fibres in real time has not been possible.
However, a recent innovation in technology has enabled the development of the Alert PRO 1000 as the world's first early warning device for airborne asbestos fibres. In development for over ten years, Alert PRO is portable and simple to use. It works alongside the traditional analysis method and continuously assesses the airborne environment providing a real-time alarm if ACMs have released fibres into the air. This allows workers to evacuate the area and instigate safety procedures without delay. Alert PRO’s time-stamped data also offers vital information to help teams identify what events or activities are leading to asbestos fibre releases.
This vital early warning enables an immediate and proactive safety response helping to prevent the risk of prolonged exposure. Alert is the only known device capable of distinguishing asbestos fibres from other non-asbestos fibres in the air in real-time and uses patented light scattering technology, the paramagnetic properties of asbestos fibres and a complex algorithmic statistical analysis that works to a 99% confidence level.
Alert PRO is most suitable for use in ambient indoor environments where the fabric of a structure will be
disturbed through works such as maintenance, construction, restoration, improvements and demolition. Designed to improve safety and reduce operational costs and liability, Alert PRO is suitable for many industry applications worldwide. Working on all types of asbestos, the unit is easy to use with no specialist training required.
The Alert PRO has the potential to save lives and protect worker health in numerous global industry sectors including:
- Construction & Demolition
- Asbestos Removal
- Maintenance & Renovation
- Waste Management
- Occupational Hygiene
- Emergency Services, Defence & Disaster Recovery
- Tunnelling & Mining
- Marine & Ship Decommissioning
- Nuclear Decommissioning
- Equipment Rental & Repair
- Facilities Management.
Available to hire or buy from Shawcity, Alert PRO’s features include user configurable settings, an LED and audible alarm, LCD screen, 8GB onboard memory, 8-hour rechargeable battery, historical data, easy to download data via USB, Alert Data Viewer platform for creating reports and a rugged, easy to decontaminate case.
For further information or to request a free demonstration of this ground-breaking technology, contact
Shawcity on 01367 899419, email: [email protected] or visit www.shawcity.co.uk.
*Statistics taken from ‘Don’t Breathe In: Bridging The Asbestos Safety Gap’ – a review of research, policy and practice 2019 by Mark Morrin, Jack Aldane and Hamza King.