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 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.

New Trolex Silica Detection Technology Inspires New APPG Perspective on Respiratory Health

You may have seen The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Respiratory Health report ‘Silica – the next asbestos’ released in March 2020?

In it, it states:

“Construction workers are still 100 times more likely to die from a preventable occupational disease than from an accident. We also know that approximately 12,000 deaths in the industry each year are linked to exposure to dust and chemicals.”

“Figures from IOSH show that roughly half a million people are exposed to RCS at work in the UK. They estimate that in Europe as a whole, 81% of these are employed in construction or in manufacturing products used in that industry.”

Real time. Accurate. Affordable. 

Experts at Trolex brought our new technology to the APPG’s attention and explained our nine-year silica detection R&D project that resulted in development of the new real-time silica monitor – work that we’d kept closely under wraps until mid 2021.

Silica detection: A changing landscape.

The original report refers to Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) of dust. It says:

“Dust monitoring is vital. Technology advances mean that new methods of real-time exposure level monitoring are now possible. Knowing what the actual exposure levels are is important as exposure will depend on the actual task (e.g. cutting concrete is higher risk than breaking concrete, and the actual exposures depend on the concrete mixture).

The new Code of Practice for Tunnelling […] that requires the use of new technology which is just becoming available and gives an instantaneous measurement.”

The instantaneous measurement the report refers to is the measurement of a variety of dust and particulates (something we already do with our AIR XD Dust Monitor and XD One Portable Dust Monitor, XD1+ Personal Dust Monitor products) – not specifically silica. Silica always being too difficult to uniquely identify. 

Until now.

Game-changing RCS Detection Technology

Our new silica-specific monitoring technology is a game changer.

By working with the authors of the APPG to share the features, benefits and thinking behind the new real-time silica monitoring technology they’ve been able to update the report with new advice on how to best protect workers from the dangers of respirable crystalline silica (RCS). 

Image of AIR XS Silica Monitor
AIR XS Silica Monitor

Image of AIR XD Dust Monitor
AIR XD Dust Monitor

Image of XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor
XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor

Image of XD1+ Personal Dust Monitor
XD1+ Personal Dust Monitor

Book your demonstration today.

Get in touch today to request a demonstration with one of our experts, or find a local distributor to arrange a demonstration with them.

 

AIR XS Silica Monitor launches 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.

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 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 = is going to be a huge success’.

The launch of the AIR XS 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 get in touch with one of our experts today.

 

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. 

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 new ISO standard 23875 that will save lives

As any responsible employer knows – a clear threat to the health and welfare of your staff demands a clear response.

In industries such as construction, mining, tunnelling and manufacturing, the obvious risks to health posed by clouds of workplace dust can be tackled in new and different ways. Some precautions and protections include:

  • staff wearing PPE;
  • the installation of dust monitoring equipment;
  • the application of various dust suppression techniques such as spraying water, or using local exhaust ventilation (LEV) or on-tool extraction.

With more awareness of the dangers of dust inhalation, these protections become more effective as they are applied more extensively across different scenarios and environments.

However, dust monitors and other other equipment are only part of the story.

The dust you don’t see coming.

More dangerous than the dust you can see, is the dust you can’t see.

Dust can reach beyond the frontline workers benefiting from protection to threaten support and ancillary staff nearby.

An unfortunate consequence of focusing efforts solely on frontline workers is there are other members of the team who aren’t monitored and protected. Plant and equipment operators working in enclosed cabins, for example, might assume they’re safe but, with microscopic airborne hazards so hard to detect, they’re still exposed to serious amounts of risk.

This is one of the main reasons for the introduction of a new international standard for a consistent approach to designing, testing, operating, and maintaining the air-quality systems of operator enclosures – ISO 23875.

A standard that recognises and responds to the extent of the dangers caused by dust right across a working environment.

A universally popular standard.

It’s a move that’s been welcomed across the board, with the Australian Mining Safety Journal and Mining Review Africa writing, ‘the new standard is likely to place a greater emphasis on the air quality inside the cabin than previously addressed.’

A recent ISO workshop run by Jeff Moredock, Lead at the ISO Working Group, advertised that the new cabin air standard will ‘Improve operator alertness, create a safer work environment and increase productivity.’

Of course, the big question is how do you properly assess the air quality in your cabin? How can you enforce a new and improved standard if you’re not able to accurately record particulate levels in real time?

New standards in dust monitoring for new ISO standard 23875.

This makes the introduction of new, wearable or in-cab, real-time dust monitoring technology, such as the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor, so timely.

The XD ONE is low cost, lightweight, easy to use, easy to maintain and 5 times more accurate than other devices. It continually measures every particle from as small as 0.38 to 40 μm. By issuing every operator an XD ONE, they’re constantly reading the air quality in their immediate environment and instantly alerted to any danger.

What difference can a real-time personal dust monitor make?

In the past, dust monitors were large, clunky pieces of technology that needed to be placed in an area you expected to be hazardous. This was time consuming and took multiple workers to place, set-up and maintain and was inaccurate and often not in real time. 

As this equipment has developed, it can now be worn by workers to monitor the dust particles in the space directly around their airways.

The XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor also delivers results in real-time, making it an important part of any safety system or process. Dust can be released at any point and isn’t always noticeable. It can also travel long distances on very slight air currents, so the more warning employees have, the better they can react.

Time you took a closer look at real-time operator cabin monitoring?

With new regulations pushing for better safety measures and standards in hazardous workplaces and environments, you need to stay on top of everything. Your workers will also benefit, and this keeps them working for longer. 

Get in touch today for more details on how the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor can help you align with ISO Standard 23875 as well as protect workers across your whole site from the danger of microscopic airborne dust.

‘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.