The importance of reading the room

The importance of reading the room

When it comes to occupational health and safety, new real-time dust monitoring such as the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor can help to make decisions for the hierarchy of controls. 

In this e-book we explain how the arrival of affordable, real-time monitoring, and both wearable and portable dust monitoring technologies promote this new awareness of the dangers of dust in a far broader range of working environments. 

Employers and the health and safety community are now shifting their attention. Where they’ve traditionally focused on safety, they now look at the major impacts on long-term health associated with working in hazardous environments. 

There’s also an increasing awareness of the range of industries that can present long-term health hazards through the inhalation of dangerous dust particles, from traditional industrial environments to commercial activities. 

The HSE are reporting an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK report ‘lung or breathing problems that were caused or made worse by work’ – and whilst it’s great that people are starting to pay more attention to this issue, there’s plenty of room for improvement. 

Whilst financial costs of lung diseases effect both businesses and individuals, respiratory diseases are more than just an economic drain. It’s a personal tragedy, and there are a whole raft of occupations and jobs where people are exposed to dangerous dust across the world. 

However, through the hierarchy of controls, businesses can determine the most effective solutions in order to keep workers protected from dangerous dust exposure. 

Knowing that dangerous dust exists, knowing its effects are potentially lethal, and knowing that the damage it causes is preventable, only takes you so far. Knowing how to prevent that harm is what matters, and this is how the hierarchy of controls can help businesses become more efficient, by understanding how effective each method is in benefitting the workforce. 

Fortunately, new accurate, real-time, fixed, wearable and portable dust and silica monitoring sensors are leading the detection charge across every use case. By precisely reading the real-time dust load in any given environment, and the enemy now ‘visible’, businesses can begin to apply the hierarchy of controls in a far more meaningful way. 

XD ONE vs other dust monitors on the market

An independent UK agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain, carried out a series of tests on three XD One Portable Dust Monitor units. 

They compared them to the following dust monitors: Casella CEL-712 Microdust Pro, a Thermo Scientific MIE Personal DataRam (pDR) 1500, a TSI SidePak AM510. 

The key elements of the testing were as follows: 

  • Tests were carried out in a calm air chamber. 
  • The tests used Arizona road dust, the industry standard for accuracy measurements and calibration. 
  • Fixed Concentration tests were performed at 2 mg/m³, 5 mg/m³ and 11 mg/m³. 
  • Stepped Concentration tests were performed moving from 2 mg/m³ to 5 mg/m³ and finally to 11 mg/m³. 
  • Simultaneous readings were taken using laboratory grade gravimetric sampling (TIOM and GK 2.69) to provide baseline accurate data from which to compare the portable units.

The results from the independent testing demonstrated that the XD ONE performs better than other personal dust monitors on the market. There were five critical messages from the testing as outlined below: 

  • The XD ONE performs as well as or better than the rival products in accurately monitoring for respirable dust. 
  • The tests found that the XD ONE unit’s performance was consistent between the XD ONE units, demonstrating that the good performance was consistent and repeatable. 
  • The XD ONE was consistent with laboratory grade gravimetric sampling units (the current industry standard, and often regulated methodology) at the tested dust levels. 
  • The XD ONE also performed as well or better than competitor products in ‘stepped-tests’ where the dust concentration was changed over time. 
  • The XD ONE is smaller, lighter, less fiddly and a single self-contained unit. 

XD ONE: The leading portable dust monitor on the market

It’s one thing claiming to design, develop and manufacture the world’s most accurate, easy to maintain, and best value wearable dust monitoring device – which we do.

But substantiating that claim?

Backing it up with the facts, with independent verifiable research? Field testing our device and comparing it like-for-like with other similar products to prove our point – is that even possible?

It certainly is.

We can prove that the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor is the world’s leading wearable dust monitoring system.

Courtesy of The HSE – a completely independent UK Government compliance body and one of the leading organisations of its type in the world – who recently completed a series of dust monitoring tests.

Their tests compared three XD ONE units (to capture a reliable spread of results) with three other commercially available personal dust monitors. 

  • The Casella CEL-712 Microdust Pro
  • The ThermoScientific MIE Personal DataRam (pDR) 1500
  • The TSI SidePak AM510

To measure the mean respirable and inhalable dust concentrations, two gravimetric samplers were also tested against the Trolex XD ONE – The GK 2.69 cyclone (BGI by Mesa Labs) and the IOM inhalable sampler (SKC Inc.).

Using Arizona Road Dust, the preferred type of dust for dust monitor trials, testing was undertaken in a 1 m x 1 m x 3 m calm air chamber, at three different dust concentrations – low 2 mg/m³, medium 5 mg/m3, and high 11 mg/m3.

Fixed concentration tests

At the medium and highest concentrations, the test lasted for 60 minutes. At the lowest concentration, the test lasted for 120 minutes to make sure enough dust was sampled by the gravimetric samplers to achieve a reliable reading.

Stepped concentration tests

Dust concentration was tested in three steps (20 minutes at each stage) from the lowest to the highest. Once at the maximum, the concentration was stepped back down to zero at the same rate.

Head to Head Headline Test Results

In a word… impressive

  1. The XD ONE performs as well as, or better than, all rival products in the accurate monitoring for respirable dust (PM 4.25) test at typical workplace concentrations of 5 mg/m³ and below. With official Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL) allowing a maximum of 4 mg/m³ exposure at any time, it’s these concentrations that really matter in terms of real-world monitoring.
  2. The XD ONE’s performance was both consistent, repeatable and aligned with the best of the gravimetric sampling units (the current industry standard/methodology) at these dust levels.
  3. The XD ONE also performed as well or better than competitor products in the ‘stepped-tests’.

Independent HSE tests prove the XD One is the leading wearable dust monitor on the market

Saving lives and protecting workers’ health by preventing dust inhalation is a serious business. And so too is putting our technology and our reputation on the line against much bigger and better funded competitors, and vastly more expensive products. 

The HSE testing provided a clear endorsement of our ‘marker leader’ claim.  But it went further still. Taking into account the XD ONE’s size and weight, cost, ease of set up and ease of maintenance, the tests underlined its practical, performance and competitive advantages in the most emphatic terms. 

The results speak for themselves.

When faced with a rational decision between the XD ONE and a competing product – the  choice is crystal clear. You’d choose the XD ONE every time.

Working with distributors and partners overseas is how we gain exclusive access to the businesses that need our products to save the lives of their employees.

We value our close partners as much as our own employees and have good relationships that last way beyond the business transaction. This includes trusting our partners to demonstrate our new technology to their customers, in mutual understanding, so our partners and their customers can get ‘up close and personal’ to our XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor and can try it out for themselves in a real-life environment.

Our Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg (BeNeLux) distributor, BASystemen, ordered six XD ONE demo units to give to their customers to trial. They landed a few days ago, and their directors are already behind our campaign to get these monitors into the hands of every worker who needs one, and to start saving lives straight away.

Khoa Nguyen is a keen advocate of field trails, and comments ‘we love feedback!’ He intends to lend them out to his customers so they can ‘try out all functionalities’.

The dust monitors themselves have been met with great praise and Khoa says, ‘We truly believe that the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor  is a nice solution to the market needs for a portable dust monitor, which is simple to use, reliable and cost effective’. He adds, “…size is great, weight is perfect and very easy to use.”

Khoa is happy with our partnership, and concludes by saying, “Response is quick and partner conditions are good so both parties benefit long term” and suggests that as a company, BASystemen can “definitely learn from this.”

If you’re a distributor and would like to request demo units of the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor, please get in touch today.

CAN DUST MONITORING TECHNOLOGY KEEP UP WITH NEW LEGISLATION?

As improved legislation is rolled out, will the dust and particulate detection technology be good enough to meet it?

Congratulations to the New South Wales Government for the foresight and resolution in driving through new legislation to protect workers from the hazards of silica, coal dust, and diesel particulates.

Speaking to Australian Mining, the state’s Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for resources John Barilaro said, “The decision to fast-track these more stringent standards for coal dust exposure was an easy one and is a great example of mine workers, mine operators and government working together to ensure we have robust frameworks in place to address this insidious disease.”

The legislation, which took effect from July 1st 2021, is hugely ambitious too. The legal exposure limit to respirable coal dust was reduced from 2.5 to 1.5 mg/m³ and respirable crystalline silica from 0.1 to 0.05 mg/m³. A new diesel exposure standard of 0.1  mg/m³ commenced 1 February 2021.

NSW leading the way

Compare the New South Wales Government’s to recent legislation in other parts of the world, and you can see how progressive the New South Wales Government has been. For example, in the United States where OSHA reduced the respirable crystalline silica permissible exposure limit (PEL) affecting the construction, manufacturing, and fracking industries from an allowable average of 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an eight-hour shift to 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

In the UK, respirable crystalline silica (RCS) control measures need only be effective in keeping exposure below the Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) at the old NSW level of 0.1 mg/m³ respirable dust, averaged over eight hours.

With efforts underway to determine whether these levels might be made even more stringent, the good work is clearly an ongoing priority.

As The New South Wales Resources Regulator says in its compliance priority January-June 2021 report. ‘With the implementation of the revised exposure standards for silica and respirable dust, and a new exposure standard for diesel exhaust emissions, airborne contaminants was a priority project between July and December in 2020 and will continue to be a focus area.’

Legislation needs to be adhered to

But it’s one thing to bring new, more stringent particulate exposure regulations onto the statute book. It’s another matter altogether making sure they are adhered to.

For a start, guidance needs to be shared with business owners and operators to help them properly implement effective health control plans in the context of the new regulations.

And what about the technical implications? With legal limits (quite rightly) ever shrinking, how can businesses be absolutely confident that the technology they use onsite to measure exposure to harmful dust and particulates is accurate, realistically deployable and affordable?

With much of the legacy technology on the market anything but accurate, realistically deployable and affordable, clearly the challenge for technology companies is to step up and find new ways for industry to meet these new standards.

At Trolex we’ve been working tirelessly on meeting these challenges for years.

And now we have.

It’s called the Trolex real-time dust monitoring range of fixed and wearable dust monitors.

You might also call it an overnight 40-year success story, as we’ve turned our vast experience in environmental monitoring in mining and tunnelling, to designing, manufacturing and distributing world leading dust and particulate monitoring technology.

The Trolex real-time dust monitors

The Trolex AIR XD Dust Monitor and XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor are both designed to detect even the finest of particulates.

Fixed and wearable, real-time analysis of your working environment from the Trolex dust monitoring range giving you a crystal clear understanding of the real particulate threat you face.

Simple to deploy, easy to maintain and super accurate they deliver a practical and affordable way of protecting your workers AND remaining within the law.

Now, whatever the new legislation and however strictly it’s applied, you can be absolutely sure that you have the technology in place to meet all legal and regulatory responsibilities as well as lead a healthy, happy, motivated workforce.

Don’t take chances. Contact us now to find out more about how our AIR XD and XD ONE real-time dust monitoring products – accurate, simple to use, easy to maintain, real-time particulate detection technology can protect your workers in your hazardous environments.

How does XD ONE compare to competitors on the market?

It’ll come as no great surprise: the more hassle something is, the less people want to do it. A simple fact, from technology, to sport, to entertainment, to business, the ‘more trouble than it’s worth’ factor relates to every aspect of life. There’s even a model that represents it. Fred Davis’ 1986 Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) designed to measure the adoption of new technology based on customer attitudes.

The time, the trouble and the expense of ‘high maintenance’ dust monitoring equipment goes a long way to explaining why it has never really been adopted to the scale that workers truly deserve.

Traditional dust monitoring equipment:

– Takes too much time to deploy
– Needs continual fiddly maintenance
– Costs too much money
– Is often too big, too heavy and too fragile
– Is too much hassle

Which is why we’ve worked so hard to develop, manufacture and distribute the Trolex XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor.

The new, easy-to-use, low maintenance, reliable and accurate personal dust monitor; more like a PPE product than a traditional high-maintenance dust detector or analyser.

The dust monitoring comparison

Let’s take a look at the Trolex XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor, in particular its ease of use, deployment and maintenance, against the leading products already on the market.

Let’s see how they compare – or more realistically – how they don’t. Because, as you’ll see for yourself, the advantages of the XD ONE are so many and so significant that any genuine comparisons are few and far between.

Dust monitoring equipment: Ease of use and deployment

How easy is the unit to wear, use, and get working?

Trolex XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor: Pick it up. Switch it on. Off you go…and go…and go.

Compared to:

TSI SidePak AM520/520i: Larger and 30% heavier than the XD ONE. Requires different impactors for different particulate sizes that need to be recalibrated as they’re swapped out. Fiddly tube clipping required.

SKC HAZ-DUST IV: Three-times heavier than the XD ONE at 1.4 kg and much larger. Base unit + tube + sampling head clipped near breathing zone with separate filter unit.

CASELLA APEX 2: Requires a clean environment and tweezers to handle the filter. Flow meter and calibration adapter kit not included and needs to be purchased separately.

Nanozen DustCount 9000:  Base pump unit with impactors, tube to head unit with filter in cassette and sensor. The usual set-up with the usual problems. Don’t forget to remove the red cap before switching on or you’ll damage the unit!

TM DATA II: Much bigger and 20% heavier.

Maintenance

What kind of burden does the typical maintenance cycle put on the user?

Trolex XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor:

– Five seconds for automatic or on-demand self-testing

– 60 seconds of compliance every six months

– No return-to-base, complex set-up or calibration

– That really is it. PPE for the real world

Compared to:

TSI SidePak AM520/520i:

– Recommended annual return-to-base

– Impactor maintenance – eight-step process

– “Impactor should be cleaned prior to each use.” – TSI website

– Cyclone maintenance – complete disassembly and reassembly

– Separate filter unit required to perform daily calibration check

– Multiple monitors required to bump test in the field. It is very difficult to generate a known aerosol concentration for a ‘bump test’ in the field without very sophisticated equipment. With use of multiple SidePak Monitors running them side by side…if all instruments are within 20% of each other, they are all functioning properly’ TSI website

SKC HAZ-DUST IV:

– 81-page manual

– “Sensor optics to be checked every 48 hours when used in a 2-3 mg/m³ TWA environment and on a weekly or monthly basis in less contaminated environments” – eight-step cleaning process using a bespoke kit

– Flow rate must be checked every time a new gravimetric filter Is used – six-to-eight-step procedure

– Calibration every month as a minimum/when dropped – minimum 11-step procedure

– Annual third-party calibration required

– 19 accessories

 

CASELLA APEX 2:

– Annual return to base/or after 2,500 hours, whichever is sooner

– Loaded filter or battery voltage reductions affect air flow speed requiring variable flow to be monitored at all times. In-built pressure and temperature compensation, pulsation control, high back pressure and long battery life presented as great ‘features’ of their product when in fact they’re all only necessary because of the antiquated filter-based methodology used

– Inlet filter to be replaced every three months (more often in challenging environments) four-stage process

– Different filters are required for different applications and this needs to be worked out

Nanozen DustCount 9000:

– Recommended annual return to base

– Impactor has to be oiled and cleaned – fiddly with small pipettes of special oil and a three-minute wait before re-assembling and cleaning with a special alcohol substance

– New filters need to be inserted into the filter cartridge. A screwdriver, clean area and tweezers required

– Pump needs to be calibrated. Separate filter unit required to do this

TM DATA II:

– Special calibration kit required

 – Measuring chamber cleaned with oil-free pressurised air or with soft dry brush

– Light trap covers can be screwed out so that dust particles can be blown out of the light trap

– Lenses in front of the diodes can be cleaned with Q-tip wetted in alcohol

– Internal calibration and zero-point adjustments should be carried out on regular intervals

– Maintenance and repair only by qualified personnel

The evidence is overwhelming – as are the practical advantages.

The Trolex XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor – a device that’s so easy to use and maintain, so useful, that it’s more hassle to NOT use it.

And when you start to tot up the cost benefits of the XD ONE over its competition, it’s hard to know where to start.

– The time saved in setup
– The hours of maintenance saved
– The savings in extra disposable kit
– Improved site performance
– Lower worker absenteeism
– Recruitment cost savings
– Reduced legal and litigation costs

Perhaps the greatest benefit though is one that can’t be measured in monetary terms – the opportunity to prevent your workers from suffering avoidable, life changing disease, and premature death. Priceless.

People don’t buy the best – they buy the products they can understand the fastest

There’s a well known sales mantra that goes: “People don’t buy the best – they buy products they can understand the fastest.”

The same principle applies to technology adoption.

People don’t buy the best – they buy products that are easiest to adopt.

The great thing here is that not only are Trolex products the easiest to adopt, they’re more accurate, far simpler to maintain and significantly cheaper to use than anything else in the market. The best.

So, when the question is:

‘How do we best encourage people to use dust monitoring equipment and to keep using it because it’s easy to deploy and easy to maintain?

The answer is as simple as it’s effective.

The Trolex XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor.

If you’d like to find out how real-time dust monitoring can help improve your safety processes, get in touch today.

We can no longer be ignorant about killer dust

Did you hear about the plane crash that killed everyone on board? Your answer likely depends on where you live.

According to researchers at the University of Oxford: ‘English Wikipedia readers were much more likely to read about North American and European crashes, and Spanish Wikipedia readers were more likely to read about Latin American crashes.

Page views on English and Spanish Wikipedia for North American and Latin American aircraft crashes, respectively, were each about 50 times greater than for African crashes.’

These events are tragic, to be sure, but the deaths from these situations are more generally heard about than others, such as from dust inhalation – despite technology and processes available to help prevent them.

The decay of novelty

It also depends on when the crash happened, with Royal Society Open Science discovering that irrespective of the crash location and body count, ‘on both English and Spanish Wikipedia, page views dropped in half between three to 10 days after the event’. The decay of novelty as we lose interest in things when they stop being new.

The ‘finite pool of worry’

And then there’s how much capacity you have left to care, the concept scholars refer to as the ‘finite pool of worry’.

‘Because people have a limited capacity for how many issues they can worry about at once, as worry increases about one type of risk, concern about other risks may lessen.’ says The Centre for Research on Environmental Decisions.

Proximity. Timing. The competition with other concerns for a limited capacity to impact emotions. It’s a complicated old business. Disaster, its impact, its legacy and even the ways we look at – or away – from it. That’s only talking about sudden disastrous events; the plane crash, typhoon, earthquake, and other similar events.

The slow-motion disaster

What about the disaster that inexorably unfolds? The slow-motion cumulative disaster. Disaster that – over time – takes far more lives than the one off tragedies? Or even a succession of one-off tragedies?

What about:

  • The 8.9 million people killed by air pollution a year?
  • The 1 million work-related fatalities annually?
  • The hundreds of thousands around the world dying every year from workplace dust inhalation?
  • The millions whose lives are irreparably damaged every year from inhaling dust in the workplace?

As we’ve seen, it’s human nature to focus on more recent, local, high-profile events. Discreet, distinct, storylines.

However, don’t the disasters we overlook – the slower moving, less attention-grabbing tragedies that play out day after day – deserve our attention too?

The threat from dust inhalation

The problem of particulate and dust inhalation is widely ignored, so too is the priority in finding viable solutions.

This is why we do what we do at Trolex, and why we’ve set ourselves the challenge of reducing the risk and impact dust inhalation can have on workers around the world who are rarely spoken about.

This is done through the development of technology like the AIR XD Dust Monitor, XD ONE Portable Dust MonitorXD1+ Personal Dust Monitor and AIR XS Silica Monitor alongside supporting software, to deliver data in realtime and make sure every worker knows the state of air around them.

We haven’t stopped there, however. Our engineers are constantly asking “what can we do so that, in 10 years time, every worker in the world exposed to dangerous particulates is wearing personal dust monitoring?”

This is easier said than done, of course, but it’s a challenge we’re committed to undertaking and beating. As well as setting ourselves the task of overcoming the engineering challenge, we’re having to face those natural ‘hidden in plain sight’ biases discussed above.

We’ve privately funded each project every step of the way – from research and development, to manufacturing and distribution. Every penny.

Independently developed dust monitoring technology

Not that we mind. In fact, we’re proud to have independently conceived and created our range of real-time dust monitoring products: innovative dust monitoring technology that’s now the envy of the industry.

These products are perfectly capable of helping us meet our 10-year challenge, and in the process save many thousands of lives.

Set against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the billions and billions of pounds spent to combat it, the macabre irony hasn’t been lost on us, that worldwide more people have died inhaling dangerous particulates in the last five years than they have from Covid 19.

Unnecessary deaths that for only a couple of million pounds backing, our technology could still go faster and further in preventing.

Maybe we should call for a lockdown?

Learn more about dust monitoring systems and technology

We work with businesses around the world to improve the safety of hazardous work environments and give workers a better chance at reducing the risks of dust inhalation. The long term effects can be severe and, while it might not be as obvious or attention grabbing as other tragedies, we’re committed to doing what we can to help those at risk.

If you’d like to know more about our dust monitoring systems and how they can help your worksite, get in touch with our team of experts today.

The invisible killer: An air pollution emergency

We’re living through an air pollution emergency. One that’s already claiming thousands of lives and costing billions of pounds. And that news shouldn’t come as a surprise.

We wrote in a recent blog, The threat from particulates: It gets worse about an American academic study: “Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure.”

The report clearly shows the risks that people living over extended periods near busy main roads face from fine dust that causes respiratory diseases, results in brain atrophy (brain shrinkage) and leads to an increased risk of stroke and other disease.

Another academic paper, ‘Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Diseases’ suggests that air pollution may be damaging ‘every organ in the body.’

Unfortunately there was nothing ‘academic’ about the consequences of particulate inhalation for nine year old Ella Kissi-Debrah, whose death in 2013 was caused by ‘acute respiratory failure, severe asthma and air pollution exposure’.

“The whole of Ella’s life was lived in close proximity to highly polluting roads. I have no difficulty in concluding that her personal exposure to nitrogen dioxide and PM was very high,” stated the coroner.

Far from unusual

And the really sad thing about Ella and her family’s suffering?

Is that it’s far from unusual. 

According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution is the “new tobacco”, killing 7 million people a year and harming billions more.

“No one, rich or poor, can escape air pollution. It is a silent public health emergency.” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general.

More than nine in ten people breathe toxic air and 300 million live where toxic fumes are six times above international guidelines and the health impacts are profound – especially for children.

Excuses, excuses…

So what’s going on? How is it possible that so many people suffer so much through filthy, contaminated air?

A rush for profits? For progress? For economic advancement? A lack of technology? Insufficient knowledge? Clarity of thought? Understanding? Will? A short-termism that prioritised wealth over health? 

In truth it’s all these factors and more. Reasons, more often excuses, that in the not so distant future people will look back at in horror. A situation where people simply won’t believe that things were allowed to get so bad and stay so bad for so long.

A turning tide?

Thankfully, though belatedly, the weight of detailed research, visible interventions from the likes of WHO, an increasingly active green movement and high profile tragedies such as the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah are seeing attention at last turning to the issue of air pollution and how best to tackle it.

So much so that the language of particulates and respiratory health is even entering mainstream use. The government responded to Ella Kissi-Debrah’s death with, “We are delivering a £3.8 billion plan to clean up transport and tackle NO2 pollution, and going further in protecting communities from air pollution, particularly PM2.5 pollution, which we know is particularly harmful to people’s health.’

Which is great.

But while a public recognition of the issue and an ability to deploy the right words in addressing the issue is a positive sign, it’s the ability of governments and industry to actually do something about air pollution that really matters. Action that all of us will be judged on in the future. 

Part of the problem? Or part of the solution?

Signs are mixed. For example, despite the UK Government’s recognition that we all need to be protected from toxic air, and despite pledging funds to fight that cause, it has so far voted against proposals to put WHO pollution limits into UK law, arguing that they’re ‘uneconomical.’

‘Were you part of the problem or part of the solution?’ we’ll all be asked in the not too distant future.

Which is why we do what we do here at Trolex – to be a very proud and purposeful part of the solution. 

Enquire today about our new AIR XD Dust Monitor and XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor in our real-time dust monitoring range – accurate, simple to use, easy to maintain, real-time particulate detection technology that keeps people safe. 

Dust monitoring technology averts the threat of occupational lung diseases

The threat is averted with dust monitoring technology

As if the known dangers of exposure to harmful respirable dusts weren’t bad enough, new research is showing that long-term exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with a far wider range of diseases and highlights the importance of particulate monitoring.

Not only are 1.4 million people in the UK reporting ‘lung or breathing problems that were caused or made worse by work,’ and 12,000 people dying every year due to occupational lung diseases, evidence is mounting to show that airborne pollution also causes dementia, strokes and skin cancer.

The study, conducted in the USA and first published in the journal Stroke is titled “Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure“.

Examining the brains of more than 900 people over 60 years old, it revealed that long-term exposure to fine dust causes both brain atrophy (brain shrinkage) and leads to an increased risk of stroke and other disease.

Implications for business, too.

Not only is this news alarming for those who live near busy roads, it also draws attention to the added dangers faced by those working in conditions, and with materials, they may have previously thought safe. 

For example, welders, who, despite now using supposedly less dangerous materials and working in spaces where local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is employed, seem to be vulnerable to a far wider range of illnesses than previously thought.

As the report highlighted, even limited exposure of fine dust particles can lead to the heightened risk of cerebrovascular disease and cognitive impairment.

Benjamin Howell on the Fabricator.com says, ‘at the nanolevel, invisible to the human eye, the concentration of particulate matter can pose a great risk to welders. Studies show that welding fume particulates are mostly smaller than 0.1 micrometer, which makes nearly all welding fume particles respirable. They can penetrate deep into the alveolate region of the lungs during inhalation and remain firmly fixed there.’ 

It’s not all bad news though.

The first step towards change: Recognise you have a problem.

By revealing far greater and far wider reaching dangers than previously acknowledged, the new research means the important issue of how best to protect people from damaging dusts is getting the attention it deserves. 

The sheer weight of evidence amassing from the likes of The Journal of Cleaner Production, The British Medical Journal, and Harvard is forcing the hand of governments, regulatory bodies and employers. The necessary steps to protect not just their workers, but every one of us exposed to dangerous airborne pollutants, are being considered and taken. This includes controls, sensors and dust detectors, among other things.

A preemptive strike on harm with dust detectors.

What if a threat could be detected before it even became a threat? What if you could be alerted to the presence of even the smallest of damaging airborne dusts before they had the chance to damage health?

Leading H&S expert John Cairns says:

“The best thing is to detect the hazard before you’re exposed to the hazard. Before you’re exposed to the hazard or a high concentration. You can get the hell out of there, or with the way this new technology works you can set off ventilation systems to clear the area.

The whole ethos behind the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to reduce the risk to as low as is reasonably practicable. I think the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor is adding to that – it’s enhancing the safety system.”

Learn more about real-time dust monitoring

Real-time dust monitoring is an effective way at reducing the risk to workers in hazardous working environments. When combined with RPE, PPE and other equipment, the threats from dust and particle inhalation are reduced drastically. This has a big impact on worker health, morale and productivity.

Send us a message today to find out more about our work to help organisations like yours protect your people from the threat of damaging dust particles with sensors, dust detectors and systems tailored to your work environment.

‘The industry creates this risk. It now needs to acknowledge it, own it and deal with it.’

The IOSH Construction Group Committee Construction Dust Survey makes for sobering reading. Firstly, it highlights the fact that much more needs to be done to increase awareness of the dangers of dust from an employees perspective:

“Dust causes a lower level of concern among employees than the more immediately noticeable dangers of construction, such as falls…they do not perceive it as a significant immediate risk to their wellbeing unlike falls from height, equipment etc.”

It also highlights a lack of awareness from the industry as a whole. Of 618 health and safety professional respondents, ‘44.6 percent thought that the industry gave little or no priority to the issue, and a similar proportion (42.4 percent) felt that it received the same priority as other health issues.’

And even when awareness exists, the report found that compliance is weak.

‘54.0 percent of respondents indicated that workers sometimes fail to follow prescribed methods of work. Over a third of respondents (36.2 percent) indicated that this happened most or all of the time.’

So what’s going on? Why, even when employers and their onsite teams are in possession of the facts, do they too often choose to ignore the dangers posed by dust?

Dangers that lead to 10 deaths a week from lung cancer caused by silica dust, let alone the other illness and premature death from other cancers, silicosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

A cognitive dissonance

You’ll be familiar with the concept of cognitive dissonance, ‘the state of discomfort felt when two or more modes of thought contradict each other’.

Like knowing smoking is bad for you, but continuing to smoke.

Like, “we know dust is dangerous but there’s no convenient, low-cost alternative to handling the risk. So we’ll stick with what we’ve always done.”

Barriers to change

There’s a lot to learn in the Construction Dust Survey.

More than anything, it’s highlighted that despite being increasingly aware of the dangers, people aren’t taking action.

Somehow, industry has convinced itself that the culture and adoption of, the management of, and the cost, complication and general hassle of creating a safe working environment is more trouble than just leaving things be.

Here are just some of the barriers to change noted in the survey:

Culture: The culture of the industry, and its ‘traditional’ view of dust as an expected or normal part of construction work, can be a significant barrier.

Use: Workers often view the controls as cumbersome, impractical, affected by poor maintenance or giving rise to other risks. This deters use. 

Employees: Implementing controls effectively depends on good management and supervision. Operators generally choose not to use controls. 

Management arrangements: In general, the industry does not seem to manage dust control issues adequately. Comments refer to a link between the management priority given to this issue and the corresponding conditions found on-site.

Cost: Dust control is often viewed as labour-intensive, expensive, time-consuming and a nuisance that slows work.

‘The industry creates this risk. It now needs to acknowledge it, own it and deal with it.’

It somehow seems that as awareness increases, industry seems to think a cultural shift towards safer working environments will run its own natural course over time.

“It is like wearing a hi-vis 15 years ago or hard hats. It took years for the culture to change.” says a contributor to the report.

Fortunately, we’ve taken a far more proactive approach.

A fast-track alternative

What if we could fast track that safer working environment?

What if that cognitive dissonance could be eased instantly and increased awareness could be achieved overnight? And what if you only ever had to use dust control methods when you actually needed them?

It’s hard to not be aware of something when an alarm is screaming in your ears and bright lights are flashing.

Well, here’s the thing.

A low-cost, simple-to-use, personal alarm would help solve the problem overnight.

All those adoption and implementation objections, all the excuses and all those barriers to change would evaporate. Instantly.

And here’s another thing.

That low-cost, simple-to-use, personal alarm exists.

It’s new and it’s here.

The XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor.

Get in touch today and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how real-time dust and silica monitoring technology can protect your workers from the threat of preventable disease.