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    Strategy, Development and Laboratory Calibration of a Personal Passive Sampler for Monitoring the Asbestos Exposure of Maintenance Workers

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    Maintenance workers have been recognised as having an increased risk to asbestos related disease due to the frequency with which they may encounter asbestos containing materials and the amount of disturbance they are likely to cause. While significant attempts have been made to reduce their risk (e.g. the OSHA ‘Presumptive’ approach and advertising campaigns in the UK), the current asbestos exposures of maintenance workers are not well quantified.

    Conventional pump and membrane filter sampling of maintenance workers presents a logistic challenge, as it requires prior knowledge that asbestos is to be disturbed and detailed co-ordination between the building owner, sampling personnel and maintenance workers. This is thought to produce a bias, as only good work practices can be monitored and asbestos which is being unknowingly disturbed at other times will not be sampled. A more effective sampling strategy would be to use a longer duration sampler to continuously monitor a group of workers over a week or more, so any asbestos release will be sampled and an average exposure obtained.

    A passive dust sampler developed at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), and operating on the principle of electrostatic attraction, has the ability to fulfil such a role. The performance of the passive sampler has been compared under laboratory conditions to the conventional sampling method, to see whether it can achieve sufficient sensitivity and meet proposed performance requirements, so that it can be used in a general survey of maintenance workers.


    passive, sampler, asbestos, fibres, measurement, comparability, membrane filter, PCM, SEM, TEM

    Author Information:

    Burdett, Garry J.
    Health and Safety Laboratory, Broad Lane, Sheffield

    Revell, Graham
    Health and Safety Laboratory, Broad Lane, Sheffield

    Committee/Subcommittee: D22.04

    DOI: 10.1520/STP42333S