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.

AIR XS Silica Monitor deployed to monitor RCS levels during replacement of rail track

Our AIR XS Silica Monitor, an innovative real-time respirable silica (RCS) monitoring device, has been deployed at a major railway operations project to monitor the levels of RCS which workers may be exposed to.

The Central Rail Systems Alliance (CRSA), an alliance between Network Rail, Balfour Beatty, AtkinsRéalis and TSO have been using an AIR XS unit to monitor the levels of RCS released when damaged rail tracks are replaced; when rail track is damaged or needs replacing, the ballast surrounding the track is disturbed and can release RCS. The AIR XS unit was supplied by our UK partners Sunbelt UK & Ireland.

The challenge faced by CRSA with was to measure the level of RCS and accompanying dust being released into the atmosphere during the unearthing process of 425m rail and ascertain the level of risk associated for those working in the immediate and surrounding environments. The AIR XS unit was manoeuvred around the site in-line with project progress, so that working scenarios can be accurately represented in the data set.

Upon conclusion of the project, Madeline Dunn, the Health and Safety Advisor for CRSA praised the monitoring and recording capabilities of the AIR XS, saying “We have completed trials prior, however this is the only unit where it is measuring silica and not just general dust levels. We gained the knowledge that the exposure levels were actually higher than we anticipated with even low-level ballast disturbance.”

Thanks to the team at Sunbelt Rentals UK & Ireland for the in-depth case study which you can read in full here.

Client: 

Pennine Aggregates 

Location:

Buxton, Derbyshire  

Industry:

Aggregate and mineral processing 

Services:  

Blending and mixing, bulk tanker loading, contract bagging, contract drying screening and sieving.

Pennine Aggregates are one of the largest specialist aggregate and mineral processors in the UK. Based in Buxton, Pennine Aggregates are a global supplier to a wide range of companies, including ABC Industries as well as Sherwin-Williams, Cemex and Hansons in the UK.  

A growing problem in this industry is the threat of occupational silicosis. 

Silicosis now causes a huge number of deaths across an increasing number of industries, from clothing manufacturing to construction; but the aggregates industry have one of the highest risk profiles for this fatal occupational lung disease. This meant that Pennine Aggregates grabbed the opportunity with both hands to trial the world’s first real-time respirable crystalline silica (RCS) monitor, the Air XS Silica Monitor, to see how they could integrate it into their existing dust suppression processes. 

Mark Dickinson, a director at Pennine Aggregates said: “It’s really important to us as a business that we are using every tool that’s available to keep our workers safe and we were really excited to have the chance to see what impact using the first real-time RCS monitor would have on our processes and on workforce morale.”  

In April 2022, we supplied them with an Air XS unit to test their processes across two main site locations over a six-week period. For Pennine Aggregates, it wasn’t that they didn’t have dust suppression in place, but more that they didn’t know exactly how much dangerous silica dust each of their processes were producing. 

Mike Thompson, QHSE Manager said: “We were asking ourselves right across the business – is our dust suppression actually getting the right amount dust out of the environment, as quite frankly, before we installed the Air XS on our site we just didn’t know.” 

Pennine Aggregates ran the Air XS Silica Monitor on their site over a six-week period on each of the processes where they had put in place new dust suppression systems. 









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    Occupational silicosis in the stone industry

    The effects of silicosis in the stone industry is not an unknown issue.

    But to what extent are stone workers aware of this issue? Are the specific causes of silicosis in the stone industry common knowledge? 

    A scientific report from nature.com highlights the difference between engineered stone and natural stone, in relation to their silica content, shedding some light on where the cause of silicosis could lie in the stone industry. 

     

    Silica dust is causing life-changing problems for stone masons

    Silicosis is one of the most dangerous respirable lung diseases in the workplace, especially when exposure to harmful silica dust is a common occurrence, such as in the stone industry. 

    It is estimated that globally, 40 to 50 million workers are exposed to silica dust in the workplace. 

    The Natural Stone Institute guide to awareness and prevention of silicosis determines that exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), specifically in the stone industry comes from cutting or grinding materials, most commonly which contain quartz, is composed of silica dust. 

    Engineered stone vs Natural stone

    The purpose of the study from nature.com was to see, in relation to RCS, what the most threatening scenario was for worker’s health, in real time, when working with different compositions of stone. 

    In the study, 12 engineered stones were assessed against three natural stones – white marble, white granites and black granites. By dry-cutting all stones, silica dust was captured in a closed environment and subjected to various assays to determine both chemical and physical properties. 

    The 12 engineered stones’ silica content varied from one another, and the total RCS content made up of quartz and cristobalite ranged from 70.4% to 90.9%. By comparison, the natural stone’s silica content ranged from 3.5% to 30.1%, marking a clear difference. 

    As well as this, the dry-cutting of engineered stone generated finer RCS particles with one engineered stone having an average size of as little as 190 nanometres, meaning it could reach deeper in the lungs, in turn causing more damage. Contrastingly, the smallest average particle size of the natural stone was black granite, with an average size of 503 nanometres. 

    The results of this study concluded that silica dust emissions from engineered stones had a much higher concentration of quartz and cristobalite, therefore having a higher silica content and subsequently more damaging impact on respiratory health. 

    Is there a solution to silicosis within the stone industry?

    Ultimately, the report concluded that the higher the silica content of the stone, as well as the smaller size of RCS particles, the more dangerous it is to respirable health. 

    The Natural Stone Institute conclude in their guide to occupational silicosis that there is no cure for silicosis; however, “with the proper equipment, training, vigilance and continual monitoring, you and your shop floor can be free of the dangers”.  

    Being aware that harmful silica dust is higher within engineered stone, compared to natural stone, and by monitoring for this, as well as using correct respirable protective equipment (RPE) when working with engineered stone, it allows for correct precautions to be taken to avoid silicosis.  

    Prevention is the best cure.

    We’ve developed the world’s first real-time silica monitor, the Air XS Silica Monitor, and, along with other health and safety controls, this is one of the tools that will help to prevent occupational silicosis for those exposed to harmful silica dust in the workplace. 

    If you would like to learn more about our Air XS Silica Monitor, and specifically how it can help your safety processes to keep your workers safe from fatal occupational lung diseases, then complete the get in touch form below to arrange a call with one of our experts today. 









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      “Act now to avoid the next asbestos” as silicosis cases rise in the UK

      The UK’s favourite DIY and home improvement expert, Tommy Walsh, is calling for more to be done to protect workers from the dangers of silica dust.

      Tommy believes that the issue of air quality on building sites should be a national concern, and that silica dust should be viewed the same way as asbestos.

      While he became aware of the dangers of silica dust as an issue around five years ago, in relation to the disposal of plasterboard, Tommy says that he has not heard the issue discussed on building sites. This is in spite of the fact that 81% of those regularly exposed to silica dust are construction workers.

      Silicosis: A national concern

      Tommy shared that the majority of health and safety concerns on smaller building sites are focused around obvious, external risks, such as falling from a ladder, electricity and water. As a result, he believes that more needs to be done to raise awareness of “invisible” risks, such as occupational silicosis, which is the most common chronic lung disease in the world.

      He continued, “over half of the country’s construction is done by small builders and ‘one-man-band’ outfits. Air quality has always been a secondary concern to them, as they don’t know enough about it. Everyone would rather work safe than not safe, but they can’t do that if they don’t have the awareness. Health and safety can often be ignored due to cost-saving, time-saving, or ignorance, but if we can normalise the importance of air quality it will make it harder to ignore.”

      Recent data has shown that respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos, with cases and exposure rising year on year. There are 12,000 deaths a year in the UK from inhalation of dust including silica in the workplace, opposed to just 142 recorded due to workplace accidents between 2020/2021. What’s more, there are an estimated 50,000 workers worldwide exposed to silica dust.

      The scale of the issue is not matched by the awareness and action needed to prevent it.

      Silicosis, as well as being the world’s most common occupational lung disease, can increase a person’s risk of tuberculosis, kidney disease, arthritis, and lung cancer. The consequences of occupational silicosis have been estimated to cost employers in the UK construction industry over £1 million per year.

      In order to raise awareness and protect construction workers from this entirely preventable disease, Trolex have launched the Air XS Silica Monitor, the world’s first real-time silica monitor, which can provide real-time data of dangerous silica dust particles workers are exposed to across any given day.

      Requiring no complicated set-up and only five minutes of maintenance a month, the Air XS Silica Monitor is easy-to-use and provides accurate, real-time RCS monitoring with minimal training, letting workers know if the amount of RCS content in their workspace is increasing as they work and when it has risen to dangerous levels.

      Get in touch today using the contact form below to speak to one of our experts about how the Trolex Air XS Silica Monitor can help protect workers from occupational silicosis.









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        The Centre for Work Health and Safety launch the Air XS Silica Monitor in New South Wales

        After nine years in development, the world’s first real-time respirable crystalline silica (RCS) detector, the Air XS Silica Monitor, was launched in Australia for the very first time on 7 April 2022.

        The Centre for Work Health and Safety unveiled the product along with our Australian distributors Active Environmental Solutions (AES) to the Australian public at the Shellbourne Hotel in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW).

        World-first technology

        With guests from an array of industries including construction, tunnelling and mining, it was an event in which over 50 influences turned up to see the world’s first real-time silica monitor.

        As the cases of occupational silicosis caused by the inhalation of silica dust continue to grow in Australia, particularly in NSW, where 75 cases of silicosis have been recorded since 2020, the Air XS Silica Monitor has the potential to provide a solution to this problem.

        This was an opportunity for major influencers in their respected industries to see just why everyone is so excited about the Air XS Silica Monitor.

        The importance real-time silica monitoring

        The event started with an ‘acknowledgement of the country’ from the Centre for Work Health and Safety, demonstrating the issue of occupational silicosis in Australia and how important it is to accurately monitor for silica dust in real time.

        The Air XS Silica Monitor is a major technological advancement in monitoring for silica dust globally, and nowhere more so than in Australia. So much so that a rebate scheme has been put in place by the NSW government in order to urge companies to do more when it comes to safeguarding their employees against silica dust in the workplace.

        The rebate scheme means that all NSW businesses are eligible for $1,000 rebate refund at time of purchase of each Air XS unit, as well as potential small businesses in the area.

        With demonstrations now available for all businesses, not only in NSW, but across the whole of Australia, the incentive to ‘get real’ on silica monitoring has never been higher.

        A huge success

        After a full demonstration of the unit from Aleks Todorovic, Managing Director at AES, it was evident just how successful this could be in NSW, as well as a chance for individuals to see just how this device works, up close and personal in real time.

        Aleks added, ‘After the presentations, we were inundated with enquires and requests for demonstrations, so I have no doubt the Air XS Silica Monitor is going to be a huge success’.

        The launch of the Air XS Silica Monitor in NSW coincided with our UK launch at the Health and Safety Event at the NEC in Birmingham.

        The world’s first real-time silica monitor was also on show at Coverings 2022 Stone and Tile trade event at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in Nevada, USA.

        Start monitoring for silica dust today

        If you’re located in Australia, and wish to book a demonstration of the Air XS Silica Monitor,  you can do so directly with AES.

        However, if you’re in the UK or the rest of the world and want to learn more about the Air XS, then you can contact one of our experts using the contact form below.

         









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          Air XS Silica Monitor recognised as ‘Highly Commended’ at the BSiF Awards 2022

          The world’s first real-time silica monitor, the Air XS Silica Monitor from Trolex, has been determined as ‘Highly Commended’ by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSiF) at their 2022 awards ceremony.

          With rising cases of occupational silicosis caused by the inhalation of silica dust, The Air XS Silica Monitor was recognised in the ‘Product Innovation’ category, for its improvement towards detecting respirable crystalline silica (RCS), as a truly innovative product.

          In esteemed company

          The BSiF Awards, in association with the Safety and Health Excellence Awards, took place on Wednesday 6 April 2022 at The Vox, NEC, Birmingham.

          Hosted by renowned actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, the awards recognised some of the most prestigious and respected companies within the health and safety industry across Britain.

          Three awards were presented by the BSiF to companies who are excelling in the health and safety industry; these awards were the Customer Services Awards, the Safety Solution Award and the Product Innovation Award, the latter of which the Air XS Silica Monitor had entered.

          A world-first innovative product

          The ‘Product Innovation’ category focuses on products that make a difference, and find new solutions to improving health and safety across a variety of industries and environments in Britain.

          Focusing on new and innovative technology used in developing these nominated products, this category was an opportunity for us to highlight the effect which real-time silica monitoring will have on improving health and safety in specific markets.

          Therefore, not only did being the world’s first real-time silica dust monitor on the market help us receive ‘Highly Commended’ recognition, but also the innovation and development of the product itself.

          Using optical refraction technology developed in-house by our engineering team and produced with the support of the Centre for Work Health and Safety, the Air XS Silica Monitor demonstrated the effort put in and the belief everyone connected to this product has on its potential.

          ‘Highly Commended’ recognition

          Our Managing Director, Steve Holland, claimed, “it was a privilege to stand up on behalf of Trolex at such an important event and this award is absolutely deserving to everyone here.” This award has highlighted the amount of work gone into this innovative product and the potential it has on the industry as a whole.

          “There is still lots of work ahead, but this undoubtedly begins a new era of growth, opportunity and excitement for the business” added Steve.

          The results of the BSiF Awards come at an exciting time, as Trolex were also announced as a finalist of the Better Society Awards for the Air XS Silica Monitor, in the ‘Tech for Good’ category, just weeks after winning the ‘Best Technology Award’ at The International Surface Event.

          The world’s first real-time RCS monitor

           The Air XS Silica Monitor has the potential to save millions of lives.

           To learn more about the world’s first real-time RCS monitor, book your demonstrations now or speak to one of experts today using the contact form below.









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            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. 









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              Combatting occupational silicosis: This is personal

              ***

              What might seem like a nine-year journey to develop the Trolex AIR XS Silica Monitor actually goes back 150 years. Our new real-time silica detection technology has surprising origins… 

              It starts at a time when miners had next to no protection, especially from harmful silica dust, and to a place that ‘roofed the world’; Snowdonia’s beautiful, bleak, Blaenau Ffestiniog.

              Hear from Glyn Jones

              The dangers of silica dust to the human body are not completely unknown, and at Trolex, this knowledge started our 150 year journey to develop a solution to the threat of silicosis.

              Here’s what Trolex CEO, Glyn Pierce-Jones, had to say about how combining our expert knowledge of dangerous particulates with personal experience of working with silica dust led us to our mission to combat silicosis and why it was so important to us.

              xxxxxxx

              UNESCO Heritage status

              Recently awarded UNESCO heritage status, it was here that my grandfathers, great grandfathers, uncles, and cousins all worked, mining slate. 

              Arawn and Ieuan. Dai and Dewi. Merfyn and Maldwyn.

              And it’s here that many of them died, often as young as in their 40s, from occupational silicosis.

              No health and safety. No silica detection and prevention. No chance.

              Personal and poignant

              It makes the work we do at Trolex all the more personal and all the more poignant.

              And it’s a major part of the reason we’ve worked so hard to solve the age-old problem of occupational silicosis. 

              So that modern-day miners and quarry workers – in fact, anyone who might come into contact with silica in their working lives, from construction workers to plasterers, factory workers and stonemasons – will never have to suffer the same fate as my forefathers. 

              A new hope

              And all it took was vision and ingenuity, optimism and grit, and endless trips to the bank manager. And despite being told we’d never do it – we’ve done it.

              New real-time dust monitoring technology that offers new hope to people who previously had no hope of avoiding an unnecessary, painful and premature end to their lives caused by occupational lung diseases.

              It’s called the AIR XS Silica Monitor

              And it’s astonishing.

              The world’s first real-time silica detection technology saving lives all over the world – made of legends.

              As they used to say in the back bar at the Miners Inn in Blaenau…

              Dyma i chi fechgyn!*

              Drop me a line and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the AIR XS Silica Monitor and the many ways it can benefit your staff and your business.

              *Here’s to you, boys!









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                Silica isn’t the new asbestos

                It’s been said hundreds of times…

                Silica dust is the new asbestos.

                But what if it’s not? What if there’s really nothing new about silica dust in relation to asbestos?

                The link between the two is even closer than you may think…

                What is asbestos?

                Most people know asbestos as the dangerous insulator used in construction, responsible for over 5,000 related disease-deaths per year, typically lung cancer and asbestosis.

                However, in its natural form, asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral.

                Put simply, silicate minerals make up asbestos fibres.

                Asbestos is actually just one of the many different forms of silicate materials, in the same way that silica dust is.

                The similarities between silica dust and asbestos are much closer than people are aware of.

                SO WHAT?

                There is a different attitude towards asbestos compared to silica dust.

                The dangers of exposure to asbestos are well documented.

                Exposure to asbestos can cause serious lung conditions, including asbestosis and mesothelioma. It is the number 1 cause of recorded work-related deaths in the world.

                Most people in the UK are aware of its dangers, particularly as asbestos was banned in 1999 for construction work in the UK.

                Yet despite all of this, very few people are aware of how dangerous exposure to silica dust is, despite the fact that asbestos fibres are made up of silicate materials, in the same way silica is.

                There are many more dangers relating to silica dust than people may be aware of.

                Let’s put this into perspective

                Imagine you are working on refurbishing your bathroom and from the grinding of the ceramic sink and a load of dust becomes airborne.

                If you were told that this airborne dust which you were inevitably inhaling was asbestos, you’d probably run a mile, right?

                And who could blame you? A dust which is responsible for approximately 90,000 asbestos-related diseases per year. You’d want to get as far away from it as possible.

                Well, it’s likely that that dust in your bathroom would in fact be silica dust.

                A dust which is made up of silicate materials in the same way asbestos fibres are. A respirable dust which is just as lethal, if not more lethal, in comparison to asbestos dust.

                But because it isn’t known to people as being the same as asbestos, the dangers seem to be less of a concern to people.

                The issue is much wider than this…

                It’s time to get real and become aware of just how dangerous silica dust is.

                It is reported that, in crystalline form, respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is responsible for the death of 600 people per year in Great Britain with 450 of those to workers in construction industry. What’s more, an estimated 50,000 workers are exposed to silica dust globally.

                The importance of the dangers of silica dust must be realised, especially with what is known about how dangerous asbestos is.

                Don’t let history repeat itself

                Asbestos is just as lethal as silica dust. The dangers are the same, yet we cannot afford for the results of exposure to silica dust to be the same as what occurred with asbestos.

                Silica could be as lethal as asbestos, if not more so, with equally serious consequences.

                Being aware of the issue is the start, action must be taken to protect workers from this dangerous dust.

                We cannot afford to let history repeat itself.

                Let’s get real on silica.









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