Managing construction health risks: Exposure monitoring
Exposure monitoring provides assurance on the adequacy of your controls. This page gives an overview of what you must do and when you should do it.
Exposure monitoring is a way of measuring the extent of eg dust or noise levels during a specific task. It has nothing to do with the state of a worker's health. That is assessed through health surveillance.
There is a legal requirement to undertake these checks in certain circumstances. You may need it when:
- your current information is not good enough to make an informed risk assessment
- detecting a failure or deterioration of a control measure which could cause a serious health effect
- making sure exposure limits are not exceeded
- checking on the effectiveness of controls
- identifying any health surveillance needs
Exposure monitoring may be needed for work with asbestos, work with lead and other hazardous substances. You may also need it as part of the risk assessment process for issues such as noise risks or vibration risks.
There are several ways of monitoring exposure depending on how substances or physical hazards such as noise and vibration get into or affect the body. The most commonly used methods are:
- sampling the air in the worker's breathing zone or in the general background
- wipe sampling of the skin
- biological monitoring and biological effect monitoring
- measuring noise or vibration levels
Before you start, you should be clear about why you are doing exposure monitoring, what you are going to measure and how you will use the information. You may need specialist help or equipment for some of this.