Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Passive sampling is a method of environmental monitoring that uses a collecting medium to accumulate chemical pollutants in the environment over time. In contrast, grab sampling involves taking a sample directly from the media of interest at a specific point in time. Passive sampling calculates average chemical concentrations over the deployment time of a device, eliminating the need to visit a sampling site multiple times to collect multiple representative samples.

The flow of contaminant molecules or ions from the sampling medium (air or water) onto a collecting medium is the underlying principle of passive sampling (the passive sampler).

Passive sampling differs from grab sampling, which is the collection of an air, water, or soil sample for direct analysis for contaminants. Unlike passive sampling devices, these samples represent a single point in time and provide information about contaminant concentration at that point in time.

What are the advantages?

Passive sampling contaminant concentrations reflect average contamination throughout the sampler deployment time, implying that the sample will capture contaminant concentration fluctuations throughout the deployment period. Traditional grab sampling does not accomplish this because collected samples only represent a single point in time, and multiple grab samples are required to observe variation in contaminant concentrations over time.

Due to the concentration of the chemicals on the sampler over time, this integrative sampling method can also result in the detection of chemicals present at such low concentrations that they would be undetected in a grab sample. As a result, passive sampling has the potential to be less time-consuming, less costly, and more accurate than grab sampling.

Furthermore, passive samplers are frequently simple to use and deploy, have no pumps or moving parts, and do not require electricity. They can also be inexpensive and simple to build.

A recent case study

Airsafe was recently contacted by a lab supply company that delivers various solvents to laboratories throughout Australia. The client has particular concerns about air quality in relation to Xylene, formaldehyde and isopropylene.

The work process on-site involved personnel decanting from Intermediate bulk containers into small bottles.

Airsafe’s occupational hygienist conducted a Preliminary site investigation.  The walk-through survey gathered preliminary information, assessed potential chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic hazards within the workplace; and noted the presence, performance or absence of hazard control.

Airsafe’s occupational hygienist subsequently conducted exposure monitoring using passive samplers. Sampling was carried out in line with the requirements of Australian Standard AS 2986.1- 2006 – Workplace air quality, Sampling and analysis of volatile organic compounds by solvent desorption/gas chromatography.

The results indicated an exceedance in exposure compared to the Australian exposure standards.

Airsafe provided recommendations to prevent exposure to personnel onsite.

How can Airsafe help?

Analyse base line exposure monitoring results.

The placement of the equipment is critical to the overall sampling strategy and interpretation of results.

Provide guidance on requirements for ongoing monitoring.

Monitoring of a worker’s health is legally required when the hazard has the potential to exceed exposure limits or the level of risk from the hazard varies.

Section 49 of the Work Health Regulation 2017 states that a person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that no person at the workplace is exposed to a substance or mixture in an airborne concentration that exceeds the exposure standard for the substance or mixture.

Detail corrective actions to control generation of and limit worker exposure.

Where possible, you should always try to remove or eliminate hazards from the workplace, for example by using a different process, or changing the way a job is done.

Need help with a workplace assessment? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

An asbestos register is a centrally managed document that identifies all asbestos-containing materials or suspected asbestos-containing materials found within a structure or workplace.

It is legally required (Work Health and Safety Regulation) if the workplace is a building built before December 31, 2003, if asbestos has been identified, or if there is a reasonable suspicion that asbestos may be present.

An asbestos register should include the following information:

 

In October 2022 Airsafe performed an asbestos register and risk assessment for a large multinational in Papua New Guinea.

At the time of the inspection, the facility was occupied and operational.

 

As there are currently no regulations for asbestos that is fixed or installed in buildings the company has determined in accordance with best practices to have an asbestos register for the site.

An Airsafe licensed asbestos assessor attended the site and undertook the assessment. The report included:

 

From all reports, the client was satisfied with the outcome.

Airsafe’s licensed asbestos assessors are experienced in creating and maintaining asbestos registers and management plans. We’ve created asbestos registers for workplaces throughout Australia and in fact overseas! From factories, office buildings and small businesses to councils, government departments and universities.

To discuss asbestos registers, specific to your needs please contact us today on 1300 888 338.

 

Unwanted water infiltration and high levels of moisture in buildings can cause a variety of problems and management difficulties.

When moisture and dampness are not properly treated, mould can grow and spread across constructed environments, causing irreparable harm to assets and structures.

Mould’s negative impacts on health are becoming well known and recognised. However, the damage that mould may do to the structure of buildings is frequently not adequately addressed, leading to worse management over time.

All organic materials are prone to the formation of mould. Particularly at risk are common building materials made of, or containing, wood or wood fibres, paper, or cardboard.

Numerous paints, glues, and resins encourage the growth of mould, and carpets and insulation can collect a lot of water and dirt.

Therefore, even while water infiltration may happen quickly, it may take days or even weeks for the area to naturally dry out, during which time mould spores may start to spread and thrive.

In domestic houses, water damage and microbial growth are possible but frequently undetectable at first.

Long-term moisture effects that go unnoticed can result in the growth of microorganisms, the development of mould, and the deterioration of building components.

Failure or breaches to pipes, both supply and drainage, and from failure of drainage seals are typical sources of major water damage in household settings.

Other factors that contribute to water intrusion include poor building envelope care, inadequately designed stormwater and rainwater drainage systems, and even alterations to buildings that violate the engineering standards or original building design.

The cost of rectification for these effects can go from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. Insurance plans might not apply in some circumstances, such as when an accident results from poor upkeep. Insurance companies sometimes have microbiological contamination maximum payout amounts, which frequently do not cover the whole cost of corrective procedures.

An organisation such as Airsafe, should create any remedial scope separately from the cleanup contractor in order to determine the extent of the job.

How Can Airsafe Help?

The team of mould professionals at Airsafe is extremely skilled and knowledgeable, and they can help with the assessment of mould in residential, commercial, and industrial settings as well as provide assurance that treatment is done thoroughly and safely.

Airsafe is here to keep you safe with our comprehensive mould testing, inspections and assessment reports. When you need help with mould in Sydney, it’s best to get in touch with the experts on 1300 888 338.

Asbestos-containing textured material was manufactured and utilised as a surfacing material on walls and ceilings, which was then finished with paint coatings.

Throughout the twentieth century, asbestos was regularly present in many paints and was used to lend dimension to walls and ceilings.

It became popular as manufacturers discovered that asbestos ingredients allowed liquid paint to flow smoothly and be stable in both hot and cold temperatures. Furthermore, Asbestos additives had been developed in order to enhance the colour of the paint.

Paints containing asbestos can be friable, especially if weathered and brittle, or when exposed to heat or sunlight.

One of Airsafe’s licensed asbestos assessors recently encountered a textured paint containing asbestos (see photographs) in very poor condition while completing an asbestos register for a commercial site.

A risk assessment was subsequently undertaken with the identified textured paint containing asbestos considered to pose an unacceptable asbestos exposure health and safety risk.

Airsafe ‘s licensed asbestos assessors completed a scope of remedial works for the subject material with the objective being to yield the area satisfactory with respect to health and safety.

I suspect I may have textured paint with asbestos: What should I do?

Sample testing

Airsafe offers asbestos testing services to identify the type of asbestos present. Airsafe is NATA accredited in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 4964 — Method for the qualitative identification of asbestos in bulk samples. We collect samples for testing, then conduct testing in our state-of-the-art laboratory.

Our independence and NATA accreditation ensure sample integrity, and the high level of expertise of our staff means you can trust our test results. Our customer satisfaction and industry reputation are second to none.

Questions about textured paint with asbestos ? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

PSIs, or preliminary site investigations, are conducted to determine the relative risk of site contamination on a given parcel of land. PSIs are also known as Phase 1 reports. You should consider having a PSI report created if you are concerned about suspected contamination on a site or need to know whether a site is contaminated.

 

A review of the present site setting, a review of site historical and environmental records, and an inspection by an experienced environmental scientist who will assess the possibility of the site being contaminated should all be included in the PSI report. Source areas, pollutants of possible concern, relevant exposure pathways, and receptors of relevance should all be identified by the PSI.

Informed recommendations for additional examination (if potentially contaminated) can be given based on this clear understanding, or the PSI may be sufficient to demonstrate that you are meeting your duties. In most circumstances, if enough information is available and the PSI determines that the location is not possibly hazardous, further investigation is not necessary.

 

Whatever the situation, you can count on Airsafe to conduct the necessary environmental assessment to guarantee that you satisfy all of your statutory environmental duties in the most cost-effective way possible.

 

Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338 today if you require a PSI, or preliminary site investigation.

AIRSAFE is the first laboratory in Australia to become NATA accredited to perform paint analysis for elevated levels of lead using our Portable XRF analysis and our validated in-house method.

XRF (X-ray fluorescence) is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials.

NATA accreditation provides that confidence. Being a NATA accredited facility builds credibility in an organisation’s products and services. Overall, accreditation creates confidence by providing a structured and reliable framework for the quality of results ensuring their traceability, comparability and validity.

This in-situ­ analysis is used to obtain qualitative data to assist decisions on a further sampling strategy. Airsafe can do this using our validated operating procedures and instrument set-up (often described as a ‘calibration’ or ‘calibration check’ in the manufacturer’s literature) subject to limitations.

Lead is an accumulative poison that can be inhaled or swallowed when a process produces lead dust, fumes, or mist. Lead can be found in a wide range of industrial and consumer products. Dust and flakes from lead paint are the most common sources of lead exposure.

Benefits of XRF testing

On-site testing via XRF is non-destructive, saves time and allows us to test a greater volume.

Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338 today to get testing!

Do you have an unexplained health issue that can’t be attributed to anything specific? Returning to work after the COVID-19 pandemic and feeling unwell is not an uncommon problem.

Workers spend more time in the office than we do in our own homes. Office air quality is known to influence our physical and mental health.

Sick building syndrome is a phenomenon that involves a variety of symptoms that occur in the occupants of a building. This feeling of ill health increases sickness absenteeism and causes a decrease in the productivity of the workers.

“Headache, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odours, hoarseness of voice, allergies, colds, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.

The cause of the symptoms is not known. It reduces work efficiency and increases absenteeism. Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building, although lingering effects of toxins can occur.”

This syndrome is increasingly becoming a major occupational hazard, the cause, management, and prevention of this condition has been brought to Airsafe’s attention to investigate.

Occupational hygienists at Airsafe we recently engaged to address the indoor air quality of office space near a busy highway. The results were alarming. However, the extensive range of technical equipment, coupled with a tailored management plan provided by Airsafe allowed alleviation measures to be put in place.

Need help with a workplace indoor air quality assessment? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

Professor Gill North was one of those inspiring people who turn personal misfortune into action to improve the lives of others.

After a distinguished career as a law academic and corporate governance expert, Professor North was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibres. After a three year battle with the disease, she died on 23 December 2021.

Professor North never worked with asbestos, so her exposure wasn’t workplace-related. Instead, she was one of the third wave of asbestos victims – home renovators who expose themselves to asbestos without knowing the dangers. Before her death, she gave several media interviews, speaking movingly and compellingly about the need for awareness and action:

Professor North’s experience led her to start an organisation, Asbestos Awareness Australia, to start a public conversation about asbestos and to call for public health and policy action to prevent further needless deaths. In a survey of 43,000 Australian households, the organisation found that more than two thirds lack basic knowledge of the nature and risks of asbestos.

In response to this lack of awareness and the ongoing risk from asbestos being so common in Australian homes, Professor North’s organisation is calling for specific reforms:

Airsafe has long believed that government at all levels in Australia needs to take the risks of asbestos more seriously. We applaud Professor North’s legacy, and support her call for reform to save lives.

Book an asbestos inspection today

Airsafe are the experts in asbestos inspections throughout NSW. From Sydney to Newcastle and beyond, we have conducted countless asbestos audits that will provide you with completed and accurate documentation. To book an asbestos inspection in Sydney, NSW, contact us on 1300 888 338 today.

 

Airsafe was recently involved with remediation of a Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation Property in conjunction with the class A friable licensed asbestos removal contractor BEasy and the Public Works Advisory.

The project involved the design and construction of a fully enclosed impermeable enclosure for the property to ensure no loose asbestos fibres escape during friable asbestos removal works. An independent Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA) was then assigned to the property to witness and endorse these enclosures and provide interim and final clearance certificates as the project progresses.

Once all internal strip out works were completed including the removal of wall and ceiling linings, interim certificates were issued by the LAA and the interior of the property was entirely covered in a blue tinted paint as an extra precautionary measure. These works were witnessed and endorsed by NSW Public Works Advisory prior to the next phase of works commencing.

Upon completion of asbestos removal works, demolition and soil remediation works commenced. The property was fully demolished including footings and nominated ancillary structures. 100mm depth of soil from the entire footprint of the house extending to a distance of 1 meter from the exterior gutter line around the perimeter of the house was excavated and disposed of as asbestos contaminated soil.

After completion of all asbestos removal, demolition and remediation activities the LAA undertook soil sampling at 12 locations to assess if any asbestos contamination remains on the property. A final clearance certificate was issued by the LAA and property was deemed rehabilitated to the fulfilment of the scope specification.

Need help with demolition and or remediation? Call Airsafe on 1300 888 338.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve relocated!

We had outgrown our old offices and were in desperate need of something considerably larger, as well as a place where we could fully immerse ourselves in our much-loved Airsafe identity.

Our former offices were fantastic; we created a lot of amazing memories and completed a lot of high profile projects there. Nevertheless, we couldn’t be more excited to move into our new offices and begin a new chapter.

Airsafe collaborated with Trinity Quality Interiors and Lead Architects to create an environment that everyone can be proud of.

Our new office has much better facilities that will benefit both us and our clients, including our new meeting room, a reception area, and significantly additional desk space to handle our continuing growth.

We were ecstatic to get our hands on our new digs, and as you can see, we didn’t hold back. We enthusiastically set up our laboratory and break out areas in preparation for holding training courses and industry nights whenever it becomes possible (we don’t do things half-heartedly).

We’re overjoyed to have finally settled into our new offices and gotten back into the swing of things.

Do stop by if you’re interested in any of our services, such as:

You won’t be able to miss us, and coffees are on us!