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.

“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 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 can help protect workers from occupational silicosis.

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.

 

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.

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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    Why 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.