A collaborative approach to protect tunnelling workers.

With over 45 years of experience in the field of tunnelling, our partners, Timeco, are experts when it comes to tunnel boring machine (TBM), piling and foundation works, and other important activities involved in tunnelling. And when it comes to environmental monitoring for harsh tunnelling conditions, their partnership with Trolex has provided solutions to the entire tunnelling industry.

“We are satisfied with the 20+ years of cooperation with Trolex, as our official partner, because of the mutual trust in the innovative organisation and the reliability, user friendly

and durability of its products and solutions.” said Timeco, about the collaboration with Trolex to provide solutions to hazardous conditions in the tunnelling industry.

Trolex’s product range, provided to the tunnelling market in Europe by Timeco, includes a full range of dust monitoring technology, including AIR XD Dust Monitor and AIR XS Silica Monitor, as well as gas detection equipment, such as TX9165 Sentro 8 and TX6351-2 Sentro 1, detecting for a full range of hazardous gases.

TROLEX INSPIRES NEW APPG PERSPECTIVE ON RESPIRATORY HEALTH

In 2020, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health (APPG) issued the report “Silica, the next asbestos?”, which examined the disproportionate effect of silica dust to construction workers’ lives. 

Since the publication of that report, the APPG were contacted by a number of experts on the subject matter, who highlighted the advances in risk reduction and the particularly promising rise of real-time dust and silica monitoring technology. 

“Trolex believe that the most obvious and immediate benefit of real-time monitoring is in improving safety for those potentially exposed to silica in the workplace.” 

The new, revised report, titled “Improving Silicosis Outcomes in the UK” also explored these new silicosis prevention strategies, including some input from Trolex on the subject matter. From this, the APPG raised several clinical and regulatory recommendations to protect workers from the dangers of occupational silicosis going forward. 

“We recommend that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) assesses and determines the data and technology needed to allow the UK to reduce the WEL for work with silica to 0.05mg/m3.” 

The recommendations from the APPG’s report indicate a number of changes need to be made in order to improve safety across all UK industries which use silica. These recommendations focus on both ways to prevent exposure to dangerous Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) in the workplace, including improvements in education, real-time monitoring and reducing exposure limits, as well as improving health and support for those who currently suffer with silicosis. 

“We recommend that the HSE actively considers and consults with industry on the positions of real-time monitoring to complement the hierarchy of control.” 

Revolutionary smart devices to future-proof health and safety

Protecting the health and safety of the people who work for you is the ethical thing to do. It also makes good business sense as your people are your greatest asset. 

But even if you aren’t driven by a moral or financial imperative, governments around the world are toughening up on the legislation that protects workers, so it’s not something any business can afford to ignore. 

While some threats are obvious, others are invisible and incredibly hard to accurately detect, such as the deadly silica dust that are the by-product of many industries and manufacturing processes.  

Silica dust is linked with severe health problems. It has been dubbed the ‘new asbestos’ and has already been the subject of litigation. Yet it’s something that has historically been impossible to monitor in real time. 

Our Construction Industry Health and Safety Survey Winter 2021 shows that employers are concerned about safety, with nine out of 10 respondents recognising that worker safety is important or very important. 

But it also revealed that on the ground it can be hard to meet the health and safety challenge, particularly when it comes to dust monitoring, which for a fifth of respondents accounted for half of their safety budget. 

This in-depth report looks at how real-time, wearable dust monitoring technology can help to solve the issues from the findings of the Construction Industry Health and Safety Survey Winter 2021. 

The findings ultimately mean that it’s clear we need a new approach to dust monitoring. One that looks to the future and is inspired by the intelligent tech revolutionising every other aspect of our lives.  

It’s time to act now to tackle danger of hazardous dusts, like silica dust, by investing in smarter solutions to protect the air we breathe, with real-time dust monitoring. 

Real-time dust monitoring technology for the real world

It’s the twenty-first century, and we are in “the age of data”. Everything is data-driven from what we do and use. Even the devices we carry around with us all day, like our mobile phones, and most recently, even smart watches are mainly data tracking devices.

And whilst many are sceptical of how the data is used, realistically everyone is positively affected by modern data collection. Even if we don’t realise it, data today is allowing us to make educated changes to our lifestyle, finances, social lives and health. 

It seems odd that a widely available resource such as data is taken for granted everyday, and isn’t used effectively to do the really important things more regularly – especially when it comes to saving lives and preventing life threatening illnesses.  

Sadly, the global annual number of people dying from occupational respiratory illnesses is estimated at over 500,000. The critical question remains: are we using the data at our disposal to positively impact workplace health and safety? Probably not…  

Firstly, we need to understand that data is critical, and a lack of its use is a problem. Real-time dust monitoring has long since been an expensive, complicated “black art” unavailable to the masses. Whilst monitoring isn’t a solution in itself, it’s pivotal to making the right decisions to ultimately save lives and understand where the risk really lies. 

Gravimetric or “dust deposit” gauges have long been an industry standard, and a legislative medium for measuring harmful dust exposure; but they only give ‘one side of the story’ and even then a partial story at best. When it comes to saving lives, time is of the essence. Even more so early detection and real-time alarming typically results in prompt action. 

This gravimetric data is not to be dismissed and is important, but let’s face it with global numbers of over 500,000 people still dying every year, it’s not enough. So how do we critically challenge the status quo?

Recognising the problem

Now imagine taking this combined average data over a time frame, and combining it with accurate, real-time, personal dust monitoring. Imagine the changes you could make to process, controls, procedures and culture by seeing when and how the exposure is caused, where it was unacceptably high and, maybe, even warning people in real-time who unknowingly enter into the dangerous zone of this invisible killer. 

If a smoke alarm goes off, you leave the building regardless of whether you see the fire. Why shouldn’t we apply the same theory, conscious response and swift action to slow and painful killers such as respirable dust? 

Exposure is commonly expected in mining or engineered stone industries, however many more are unsuspectingly exposed in construction, demolition, quarrying, manufacturing, and more generally those in support functions in nearby offices and facilities within these industries and even people regularly using non-dust controlled roads. 

The sad thing is, if the danger isn’t obvious (and dangerous levels of dust often aren’t as the most dangerous particles are usually the invisible ones), it’s too easy to ignore until the damage is done. 

This is where we can all truly make a difference…

With real-time data, it’s easy to make decisions on measures that need to be taken to understand personal exposure levels and even have real time exposure warnings. Trolex is giving the power back to the people, companies and regulators to make informed decisions about protecting themselves and each other in the interest of saving lives. 

If this drives changes in monitoring requirements, engineering controls such as dust suppression or RPE regulations can only benefit people and the families of those people who are currently exposed, all whilst minimising the risk of future exposure, and building precedence for the application of effective dust control measures in the hierarchy of control. 

Here’s another thing: as a business or a responsible person, real-time monitoring and control is not only affordable and simple, but also accessible to everyone.

So, the question is, can you afford to not understand the problem?

Our aim is to give people the information, to save lives and increase awareness, and if you want to know more about our real-time fixed, portable or personal dust monitors (AIR XD Dust Monitor, XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor or XD1+ Personal Dust Monitor) then get in touch today.