‘Personal sampling’ is taking an air sample near the worker’s breathing zone to measure the amounts of airborne substances inhaled for a stated task.
This type of exposure measurement is required:
- for COSHH assessment, to help in selecting the right controls;
- where there is a serious risk to health from inhalation of the substance;
- to check that exposure limits are not exceeded;
- to check that your exposure controls work well enough, or if you need improvements;
- to check that new controls work well enough;
- to help choose the right level of respiratory protection;
- after process or production changes that mean exposure may have changed;
- to show any need for health surveillance;
- when an Inspector issues you with an ‘Improvement Notice’ requiring monitoring.
Exposure measurement is not an alternative to controlling exposure. Measurements are best done after controls have been applied. Exposures vary from day to day. They may be higher on another day when no measurements were taken. If the results for a given task are below one third of the exposure limit, your controls are probably good enough.
With specialist sampling equipment (usually carried out with personnel wearing small testing devices over long or short term periods), we can provide a report detailing:
- the process measured, the work patterns, and the hazards involved;
- the control measures in place, and their performance;
- what measurements were taken (long and short-term), and how;
- how and where samples were analysed;
- exposure limits or exposure benchmarks, and whether these are protective of health;
- any industry standards of good control practice;
- results, related to a plan of the process