Asbestos removal has the potential to expose people to asbestos fibres, which are of a specific geometry that can lodge in the lining of the lungs.

The workers at risk can be comprised of two Similar Exposure Groups (SEG's):

  • People removing the asbestos within the removal area; and
  • People outside the work area but still within the work site
Air monitoring may not be necessary as workers will generally be aware of the risks and control measures required, such as respirators.

Exposure monitoring using personal monitors within the workers breathing zone during removal or different types and forms of asbestos is beneficial as this data can then be used to determine the level of respirator protection required and determine if the removal work is "under control".

Other areas may also need to be monitored, yet it is dependent on the extent and nature of the removal works, including whether the asbestos is bonded or friable. Additionally, monitoring may be necessary within decontamination units and around enclosures.

Placing static monitors at the boundary of a removal area will help determine if there are effective control measures in place to limit potential exposure to people outside the removal area. Exposure monitoring by sampling the air within a person's breathing zone can also be conducted to alleviate an individual's concern.

The method of asbestos air sampling is conducted by the process outlined by the National Occupational Health & Safety Commission. This involves sampling a known quantity of air though a filter, fibres impact on the filter, whereby analysis of the filter can determine the number of fibres identified and compared against the exposure standard

More information on asbestos removal monitoring is available from Asbestos Check .