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. 








    Staggering lung disease statistics prompt urgent £5 million investment

    New studies from charity ‘Asthma and Lung UK’ (ALUK) found that lung disease deaths in the UK are the highest in Western Europe.

    The staggering statistics have prompted an expanded approach towards research and development of lung diseases from ALUK.

     

    Serious Statistics

    ALUK’s studies show that cases of lung disease related deaths in the UK have been on the rise for the past 20 years.

    It is reported that 500,000 people in the UK died from deaths relating to lung diseases over a seven-year period.

    In 2018 alone, 84,721 respiratory deaths were recorded in the UK.

    The charity has described the state of lung health in the UK as ‘shameful’, stating the need for improved research and development solutions to the problem.

    More than just numbers

    After its relaunch in February, ALUK established a new five-year strategy upon the results of the study.

    Lung diseases are currently the third most common cause of death in the UK and it’s currently costing the NHS £9 billion every year.

    Despite this, lung-related health care is receiving less than 2% of public funding.

    Dispelling the misconceptions

    It is evident that the seriousness of lung problems in relation to other diseases is not taken as seriously, despite what we are seeing from the data.

    A predominant factor in the poor state of the nation’s lung health is that people believe lung conditions aren’t life-threatening. This is a major misconception.

    Through spreading awareness of how ‘shameful’ lung health is in the UK, this misconception can be dispelled.

    ALUK aim to reduce lung disease deaths by 20% by 2027. When making everyone aware of these gruesome statistics, this can become a possibility.

    The end goal is to provide support for everyone effected by all forms of lung disease.

    Research and innovation as a solution

    ALUK’s solution to achieving this goal is through research and innovation.

    Their aim is to expand their research and innovation programme so that £5 million is being invested into relevant research each year.

    With the aim to develop at least three new self-management tools” for 2 million people suffering with lung diseases, ALUK want to make training programmes and essential advice easily accessible to those who need it.

    “By 2027, we will give 80% of people with lung conditions the opportunity to access our network of Breathe Easy support groups” states the ALUK Strategy to 2027.

    With this, the strain on public healthcare is minimised and individuals are able to monitor their personal health through digitalised platforms and shared networks.

    Looking to the future…

    The statistics right now make for harrowing reading and harsh truths.

    However, for ALUK, research and innovation is the solution for the future. By identifying the problem and acknowledging its severity and scale, goals can be achieved.

    Through effective research and innovation lung disease deaths can become a thing of the past, not just in the UK, but worldwide.

    International Women’s Day: Not always a man’s job!

    International Women’s Day (IWD) was on 8th March 2022, which coincided with National Women in Construction Week (WICW) 7th-13th March.

    As a technology company that develops and manufactures engineered solutions for the construction, mining, and tunnelling industry. Trolex could be seen to be a ‘traditionally male’ company.

    However, whilst the of numbers of employees and the ratio of men to women stands currently at about 5:1, in terms of culture, Trolex prides itself on mutual respect and understanding for all our colleagues, regardless of our differences.

    We are the people of Trolex. Not the men, not the women, but the people.

    Inclusion culture

    Unfortunately, the Trolex model of an inclusion culture, isn’t practiced in every other ‘traditionally male’ company, which is why IWD and WICW campaigns globally to bring awareness to all women who are doing a great job, despite what that industry may be.

    No one can deny that stereotypes are still affecting society in the UK and in other western countries.

    A survey by CPB London ahead of IWD in 2022, found that,

    “39% of the 5- to 11-year-olds polled think that women should stay home and 38% agreed that men should go to work”.

    Breaking the bias

    The CPB began their “Imagine” nationwide campaign on IWD and this year’s theme is #BreakTheBias.

    This campaign has gained global appeal and invites people to imagine a person in a certain role, for example, ‘a doctor’ ‘a nurse’ ‘a plumber’ or ‘a CEO’, and then invites you to ask, is this a man or a woman?

    It creates a powerful message, especially when, in the CPB survey of 1000 children;

    60% thought that being a plumber or an electrician was a man’s job and almost half (46%) said that men always make better engineers.”

    A sobering thought that children still have this impression of certain roles in 2022.

    Still moving forward?

    The same survey found that most children agreed that you should grow up to be whatever you want to be (94%), while 82% believed that boys and girls can be just as good at the same things.

    It does seem to be going in the right direction, but society is clearly not there yet on the road to complete equality.

     

    Collaborative expertise towards a common goal in the construction industry

    Trolex are excited to be partnered with Active Environmental Solutions (AES), working together to protect workers from the dangerous and often irreversible consequences of occupational lung diseases caused by dust inhalation.

    With AES’s specialist knowledge of occupational health and safety in Australian industries and Trolex’s leading safety technology, the opportunity of delivering solutions to prevent the dangers of dust inhalation for Australian workers, is not just a possibility, but now a reality.

    Offering the market innovative solutions

    AES want to spread awareness of the dangers of occupational lung diseases caused by dust inhalation. And in the case of dust monitoring, spreading awareness that new real-time dust monitoring technology to help prevent lethal occupational respiratory diseases now exists.

    The opportunity to partner with Trolex was welcomed by AES, as it means that they can merge their expertise in occupational health using Trolex’s leading safety technology.

    This creates the best solutions to their respective industries.

    This simple message appealed to AES, and to Aleks Todorovic MSc, (OHP), Managing Director of AES’s team of Australian Occupational Safety experts at AES, as it aligned perfectly with the workers they seek to protect:

    Many businesses intuitively know the benefit of a broad threat detection – they just don’t know they know it, or perhaps how they go about implementing such devices – it’s our job to awaken that knowledge and show them there are new and effective dust detection technologies such as the Trolex Air XD Dust Monitor, the XD One Personal Dust Monitor and most recently, the Air XS Silica Monitor.  

    Important facts for important industries

    There are no arm twisting, or heavy sales techniques involved. Just a clear and simple presentation of responding to the facts.

    Which is why Trolex and AES are working hard to provide further education to Australia’s mining, tunnelling, quarrying and construction industries, where workers are exposed to dangerous forms of respirable dusts.

    This common goal of providing and expert knowledge and specialist equipment to these industries is the drive needed to inevitably reduce instances of occupational lung diseases to save lives.

    Now, this collaboration will help to do exactly that.

    A needed change of approach

    The approach taken by businesses within these industries must now change. With new legislation on exposure to harmful dust in Australia, new dust monitoring methods are needing to be implemented.

    Aleks said “As an occupational hygiene-minded business we know only too well the devastating effects inhaling respirable dusts can have on people’s long-term health.

    That’s why we’re invested in the success and distribution of new and effective real-time dust monitoring technologies such as the Trolex Air XD Dust Monitor, the XD One Personal Dust Monitor and the Air XS Silica Monitor. These are lifesaving technologies that need to be included in their safety thinking” stated Aleks further.

    By using Trolex’s advanced dust monitoring technologies, small changes can have a huge impact.

    Looking towards the future

    As the war on silica dust grows ever stronger by the day, more needs to be done.

    With the reduction in exposure limits coming into effect across Australia, particularly hard on respirable crystalline silica (RCS), real-time monitoring for silica dust is a necessity, retaining live data and providing an instant alarm the legislated threshold is breached.

    Whilst the ability to retrospectively assess levels of silica dust in facilities is available to industries where deadly silica dust is prevalent, the ability to monitor for silica dust in real time is not.

    Trolex’s all new real-time silica monitor, the Air XS, allows for accurate and reliable results demonstrating compliance with legislation. Aleks commented on this world-first technology:

    We are really excited to be a part of this project to be able to detect silica in real time. This will be the world’s first monitor to have this capability and we’re proud to be distributing it throughout Australia. The project was produced with the support of the Centre for Work Health and Safety in NSW proving just how important and potentially life-saving the new technology will be.”

    And with the talk of real-time, wearable silica monitoring devices a possibility in the future, of course it makes perfect sense for all industries to be increasingly focused on detection possibilities.

    Together, Trolex and AES are providing real solutions for real problems in Australia.

    If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about integrating real-time dust monitoring technology into your working environment, then you can use the contact form below to get in touch with one of our experts today.

    Dust monitoring technology and collaboration at its best

    Reactec have been specialists in workplace health and safety environments for more than 15 years. Originally focusing on the damaging effects of exposure to vibration, they soon discovered that the most effective way of mitigating workplace risk lies in gathering as much data as possible.  

    As CEO Jacqui McLaughlin explains, The traditional approach to health and safety that says ‘I can think about a problem, do a risk assessment and as a consequence of that assessment I can make it safe for people’, we prefer to go one step further and engineer out problems.

    If we can measure what’s actually happening in the way of risk, then we can make workplaces a safer place to be.” 

    Starting with wearable dust monitoring technology to measure vibration, Jacqui and her team quickly realised that the data management, hosting and reporting they provided their clients, was a powerful health and safety tool that could also be usefully applied to other workplace risks.  

    Turning data into meaning

    Rather than try to create new technology to measure a variety of risks, Reactec started to look for partners. Experts in their respective risk fields, whose work could be complemented by their data management technology.  

    “We see Trolex as a leading expert in how to measure dust and what we’re doing is providing a platform that makes the dust data they collect easy to access and meaningful.  

    We’re turning their data into meaning.” 

    People, processes and places

    We take the data associated with a process so that your records don’t just look like a bunch of numbers, but they tell you about who was doing what and where. And as you build up more data, you can get more intelligence in terms of process and people and where you need to put in your biggest efforts to get safer environments. 

    With new dashboard integration and development soon to be rolled out to a live Trolex XD One Personal Dust Monitor client, things are moving fast. 

    The Trolex XD One Personal Dust Monitor: Simple to use and easy to integrate

    Complementary technology that gives the simple to use and easy to integrate Trolex XD One Personal Dust Monitor, and Reactec a fast-track route into the world of actionable dust monitoring intelligence. 

     “And there’s an overlay angle,” says Jacqui.

    “With our tech we get information on vibration. We have other tech that gives us information on noise. And if you start overlaying all of that data with dust data and also situational location information, you can create a health risk passport for an individual or a site. It’s the very start of an exciting journey that will provide more and more useful data as clients understand what they can do with the data over time.” 

    A marriage made in data

    Reactec and Trolex; a marriage made in data and a powerful collaboration that looks set to flourish in the future. Plans are already afoot to take things to the next level with new bluetooth, IoT data recording and cloud-based analytics. 

    For more information on how you can get the most insightful analysis on your worker health and safety, contact us today by using the form below. 








      How does the ‘Psychological Contract’ relate to dust monitoring?

      Have you heard of the ‘psychological contract’? It’s the unwritten understanding of the interaction between you, your workplace environment and your colleagues.  

      We all have a psychological contract with our employers, whether we know it or not.

      As well as considering the physical aspects of your work environment, your psychological contract includes things like the quality of relationships you have with the people you work with, whether you feel properly listened to and understood and know what’s expected of you in your role. 

      An important part of that contract is ‘psychological safety’. How safe or unsafe your psychological contract leaves you feeling at work.  

      ‘Psychological Safety’

      A term coined in 1999 by organisational behavioural scientist, Amy Edmondson, ‘psychological safety’ includes things like trust in your colleagues, your perception of physical threat in your working environment and how you feel about the training and support you get to do your job.  

      Unsurprisingly, the safer people feel at work, both physically and emotionally, the more productive they are.  

      By the same token, if people feel unsafe, then not only are they less productive, but the time the trouble and expense of having to replace people unhappy in their jobs is huge.  

      Employee benefits provider Perkbox estimates that ‘disengaged employees are costing the UK economy £340 billion every year in lost training and recruitment costs, sick days, productivity, creativity and innovation.’ 

      So how can you make sure that people in your organisation feel psychologically safe?  

      Physical Safety First

      The first important step in creating a psychologically safe workplace is to make it as physically safe as possible.  

      Speaking with Trolex, Occupational Psychologist Catherine Dobson told us, “If an environment is not physically safe, if it’s too hot, too cold, or if it feels too dangerous people feel stressed. We must ask ourselves how do we get the right environment for people with the right kind of training, the right kind of cooperation to make it healthier? 

      Which is what contributes to making our range of dust monitors, such an important development. These include the Air XD Dust Monitor, the XD One Personal Dust Monitor – our wearable dust monitoring technology, and coming soon, our Air XS Silica Monitor for real-time silica dust monitoring. 

      Not simply because it protects workers from the physical dangers of inhaling lethal respirable dusts, but because armed with the knowledge that they are working safely, people feel psychologically safer too.  

      Catherine explains how: “In relation to silica and dust monitoring. Because the Air XS Silica Monitor is new, there’s scope for demonstrating that it works. And people can see that.  

      Also, because all these dust monitors work in real time, it gives people the trust that an intervention will take place should they be in danger. They can trust in the environment being safe.” 

      A very good thing for workers on both a physical and emotional level.  

      And great news, too, for the mining, tunnelling, quarrying, manufacturing and construction companies invested in fulfilling their side of the psychological contract with advanced dust monitoring. 

      Businesses can then reap the rewards of improved production and better worker retention, so everybody wins. 








        XD One Personal Dust Monitor launches into the construction industry

        It’s amazing how often a product created to solve a specific problem in one marketplace goes on to be adopted in others.

        We’ve all heard of the NASA ‘spinoffs’ – the 1,300 documented NASA technologies now used across the world. From memory foam, to GPS, to scratch resistant sunglasses, to cordless vacuum cleaners; the list goes on…and on. You don’t have to look too hard to spot crossover successes – the law of unintentional consequence going about its business in the most constructive of ways.

        In a B2B context, you could apply the same principle to the Trolex XD One Personal Dust Monitor.

        XD One Personal Dust Monitor: Life-saving technology for every sector

        The wearable dust monitor, XD One, was originally developed as an evolution of our Air XD Dust Monitor, a fixed dust monitoring device for the mining, tunnelling and quarrying industries. Industries infamous for their creation of dangerous respirable dusts. But now it’s finding a whole new audience in lighter, less obvious industries such as baking, woodworking, paper manufacturing, motor engineering, highway maintenance and especially construction. 

        If the interest shown at the recent Safety in Construction Show is anything to go by, there’s now a real desire to learn more about the XD One Personal Dust Monitor, and the life-saving protection it gives workers all across the construction industry.  

        Building an awareness of the dangers posed by construction dust

        Organisations such as the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) are doing their best to inform and educate the construction industry of the threats of dangerous particulates. But, as feedback from The Safety in Construction Show made clear, it’s the more visible, more immediate threats that attract the headlines. Trips, slips, fire or explosions tend to attract attention, with dust related tragedies rarely treated with the same degree of importance. 

        It’s one reason why we work so hard to get in front of the industry. To educate construction specialists (especially senior management) on the long-term impacts of dangerous exposure to construction dust and particulates.  

        The other reason? To make clear that the solution exists right here, right now – with the XD One, personal dust monitoring by Trolex. 

        A new appreciation of threat and threatening environments  

        As we’ve written before, just because you can’t see a threat doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.’  

        And while great plumes of rock or coal dust present an obvious, visible risk to workers, what about those particles that are so small, we mistakenly think they’re not even there? What about the invisible, previously undetectable threats? 

        With our XD One Personal Dust Monitor able to measure even the smallest of microscopic construction dust to 0.38 nanometers, if it’s there, the XD One will tell you in real time.  

        Instead of presuming an area safe because there’s no obvious sign of dust, we can measure it as safe – or not. 

        And importantly, because the XD One Personal Dust Monitor measures in real time, it means that instead of being alerted to exposure after the event, you can manage processes ‘live’ to keep your people safe and your business efficient.  

        The practical benefits of real-time dust monitoring

        As much as anything, it’s the fact that the XD One Personal Dust Monitor is wearable, that’s changing the whole dynamic of dust detection – especially for the construction industry.  

        Our personal and wearable dust monitor is so small, so light and so low maintenance that workers quickly forget they’re even wearing it. It has transformed life-saving dust detection from an expensive, time consuming and cumbersome hassle (too often neglected or even plain ignored), into a Health and Safety no-brainer for any business serious about worker welfare. 

        An important life saving device for the mining, tunnelling and quarrying industries, crossing over to save lives in the construction industry. 

        If you work in construction and want to find out more about the XD One, just drop us a line using the contact form below. We’ll tell you everything you want to know about protecting you and your teams on your construction sites.