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Internet Marketing Tips For Your Success - 28 Feb 2018 09:21

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It is possible to achieve impressive results for your enterprise by using internet marketing. The sooner you start using Internet marketing strategies, the better. This article serves as a tutorial on the most basic aspects of internet marketing, which can be used to draw up unique strategies based on your own personality and niche.

Site-wide links are links that can be found on each page of a website. These links often appear at the bottom of pages. These sorts of links are great for bringing people toward a specific section of your Internet site. It's important to link your menus correctly using site-wide links that are easy to use. Your menus should contain a short and clear description for each page.

Make sure your meta tags contain useful information. Even though visitors are not aware of these tags, search engines use them to assign relevancy to the content of your site. Because the meta tags placed up front carry the most weight with the search engines, put the most important ones first. Make sure you keep the number of meta tags you use to a minimum. However, you should make sure you still include appropriate keyword variations. You must be knowledgeable on which keywords are used in relation to your product.

In order to build up your website's reputation, you can use keywords and H tags. H tags ought to be in article titles as they highlight your most important keywords. This will also alter the way these words look and make them bigger with a bolder hue and font. The search engine will become acquainted with and make friends with your website with the use of proper keywords and tagging and will help visitors find and navigate your pages with ease.

Always try to come up with innovative methods for promoting your wares on the Internet. It is important not to ignore the benefits of internet marketing in favor of relying solely on SEO and other marketing methods. Videos, websites or other media go "viral", thanks to internet users. This is basically word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. Word about the item spreads like wildfire across the internet. Viral items can be incredibly helpful to your bottom line even though they tend to have a short life span. There is no miracle method to create popular content, but you can do your best to come up with funny or original ideas. Take the time to research past viral ads, and you can get an idea of what goes over well.

Internet marketing is so diverse that this is only the beginning of what you can do! These suggestions are just a starting point. - Comments: 0

Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Developing Asbestos Related - 24 Feb 2018 02:30

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring rock forming mineral silicate in fibrous form belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. It occurs naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world. There are six types of naturally occurring asbestos fibres of which only three have been used commercially in Australia. These included the serpentine: Chrysotile (white asbestos); and the amphiboles: Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and Amosite (brown or grey asbestos). The other three non-commercially used amphiboles included Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

Asbestos has been used in the ancient world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is believed that as early as 4000 BC, asbestos fibres were used for wicks in lamps and candles. Between 2000-3000 BC, embalmed bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth. The Greeks and Romans documented the harmful effects of asbestos fibres on those who mined the silken material from ancient stone quarries noting a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

The commercial use of asbestos commenced in the late 1800s in Australia in four main industries including Mining and Milling; Building & Construction (for strengthening cement and plastics, for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption); Ship Building (eg. insulation of boilers and steampipes) and the Automotive Industry (eg. vehicle brake shoes, gaskets and clutch pads).

There were over 3000 products (Asbestos Containing Materials or ACM) manufactured with asbestos fibres. The ACM fall into two broad categories: friable and non-friable (or bonded).

‘Friable’ is ACM that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand, when dry. These materials can contain higher percentages of asbestos fibres and are easily or more likely to release airborne fibres into the environment with minimal disturbance. As such, they pose a greater risk to health. Friable materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist with Class A Asbestos Removal Licence. Examples of friable asbestos-containing materials include sprayed on fire retardants, insulation (eg. millboard, pipe insulation), sound proofing, the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves and hot water systems and associated pipe lagging, the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings, thermal lagging, some vermiculite.

‘Non-friable’, or bonded ACM is used to refer to ACM in which the asbestos is firmly bound in the matrix of the material. These materials are unlikely to release measurable levels of airborne asbestos fibre into the environment if they are undisturbed. Therefore, they generally pose a lower risk to health. However, activities that may abrade the ACM such as drilling, grinding have the potential to release higher concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres into the environment. The non-friable ACM are mainly made up of asbestos fibres together with a bonding compound (such as cement), and typically contain up to 15 per cent asbestos. Non-friable ACM are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. Non-friable ACM are the most common in domestic houses. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Examples of non-friable ACM include asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls, ceilings and roofs, moulded items such as downpipes) and vinyl floor tiles.

While asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibres become airborne in respirable size, are inhaled and lodge deep into the lungs (in the alveoli). Inhalation is the main route of entry to the body. Respirable fibres are fibres that are more likely to reach the small airways and alveolar region of the lung and are defined as having a length of more than five microns, and an aspect ratio (length/width) greater than 3:1.

Asbestos is classified according to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as Carcinogenicity Category 1A (May cause cancer).

There are several asbestos related diseases that may result from the exposure to asbestos which depends on factors such as fibre type; size and shape of fibres; concentration of asbestos fibres in the inhaled air and period of time over which the person was exposed. The asbestos related diseases include:

Asbestosis

https://www.sesa.com.au/occupational-hygiene-consultants-qualified-occupational-hygienists-sydney-nsw-act.html

Pleural plaques

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum

Lung cancer

Benign asbestos pleural effusion

Progressive pleural fibrosis (diffuse pleural thickening)

Transpulmonary bands (crow’s feet)

Rounded atelectasis

All asbestos related diseases have a latency period that is the period commencing from the time of the exposure to the asbestos fibres first occurred until symptoms of a disease show. This may range from 10 – 50 years for the asbestos related diseases.

Workplace exposures to asbestos fibres first occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing asbestos containing products or using those products during the construction of buildings. Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres is during the maintenance, renovation or demolition of old buildings with asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing materials are subject to environmental weathering which causes them to breakdown and release asbestos fibres. Low levels of airborne asbestos fibres are encountered in the environment from the breakdown of asbestos products. Environmental weathering of asbestos cement sheets in roofing and wall cladding, disturbance of asbestos from a variety of building materials like insulation and asbestos release to air from clutches and brakes in cars and trucks results in asbestos fibres being dispersed in the environment.

According to Australian Government Department of Health website, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Most people are also exposed to higher levels of asbestos at some time in their lives; for example, in their workplace, community or home. However, for most people, this kind of infrequent exposure is also unlikely to result in any ill effects.

Safe Work Australia states that “the typical environmental background in outdoor air is 0.0005 fibres/ml and 0.0002 fibres/ml in indoor air. The daily inhalation volume for an average adult is 22 m3 or 22000 litres. This means 5500 fibres are breathed/day by the average person (proportion of time spent indoors = 20 hours/day). Despite this the general population does not contract asbestos related disease in significant numbers. The background rate of mesothelioma is less than one per million per year. By comparison, the annual death rate for a 40 year old male in 2008 was 1.6 per thousand or 1600 per million. However, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Most people who develop asbestos related diseases were workers who have worked on jobs where they frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres. As an example, construction workers using unsafe practices in the past may have frequently encountered asbestos fibre levels significantly higher than those levels found in the background. The current workplace exposure standard (time weighted average (TWA) over an eight-hour period) is 0.1 fibres/millilitre of air (100 fibres per litre which is between 500 and 10,000 times the background levels). In the past, workers in asbestos milling or mining often encountered fibre concentrations a million times higher than background levels. In 2011, 606 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and 125 deaths were caused by asbestosis in Australia.

Family members of exposed workers or those who lived close to active asbestos mines in the past are also at risk. A worker exposed to asbestos fibres or a home renovator can carry asbestos fibres on their clothing, boots, skin, hair and tools. Everyone should be alert to ensure they do not become exposed to these fibres.

A very small number of asbestos-related disease cases occur each year in people who have not worked with asbestos products. The low number of cases makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease or the likely exposure event, but unsafe handling of asbestos materials in the home may have contributed to some of these cases.

The uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos containing materials must be avoided at any time to prevent the release of airborne asbestos and increase the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable by managing asbestos containing materials in-situ and adopting safe work practices as required by the Work Health & Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia Codes of Practice “How to Manage & Control Asbestos In the Workplace”: and “ How to Safely Remove Asbestos”.

If you require assistance in asbestos inspection, asbestos testing or asbestos assessment contact SESA on 02 8786 1808.

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/15-asbestos/asbestos-exposure-risk-of-developing-asbestos-related-disease.html - Comments: 0

If You're Considering Building A New Deck You May Possi - 23 Feb 2018 15:50

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With the deforestation of the planet going the way that it is many folks are trying to find alternatives with regards to using wood. You are going to see that mainly because of technology advancing every single year people now have an option when it comes to the material they use for building a deck in their backyard. Some of you may have already heard about composite decking, but for those of you who have not this is the substitute for a traditional wood deck. In this article we are going to be looking at a few of the benefits of using this material as opposed to using wood for building a deck.

One of the first benefits you will find that is associated with this composite decking would be that it is made from materials that have been recycled for instance plastics. You have to comprehend that if these plastic materials were not recycled into composite decking there is a pretty good chance that they would have simply ended up in our landfills. I ought to also mention that the construction of this material has been developed so it's going to actually saw and can be drilled through just like any normal wood you would use. And because of this you will not need to hire a professional to be able to install this decking at your house as it's something you are able to do yourself.

5 star decking

An additional benefit you are going to find that this product has over traditional pressure treated wood is the fact that this will not have harmful chemical compounds sprayed all over it in order to preserve it. Something else that's not only beneficial to our world but also frees up your time is the fact that this material is maintenance free this means you are not required to do anything to it every year. Something you are going to see that you may want to do every few months with this deck is to take out a garden hose and wash it down every so often.

If you have ever had a wooden deck at your home and sure you have had to replace wood from time to time but that's not going to be a problem as this material is incredibly durable and long lasting. Of course a well made deck, even if it's made out of wood will end up lasting quite a while, but using a material that doesn't need to be maintained is actually a great option. This can also be a thing that is economically smart, and this is due to the point that you'll not need in order to maintain it each year unlike a wooden deck. Of course I should mention that this sort of decking can be a bit more expensive than traditional wood.

Composite decking is becoming extremely popular nowadays and for individuals who plan on adding or redoing your current deck this will be the best option. A composite deck can increase the value of your property which is yet another reason people end up using this for their decking materials. - Comments: 0

Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Developing Asbestos Related - 16 Feb 2018 18:34

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring rock forming mineral silicate in fibrous form belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. It occurs naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world. There are six types of naturally occurring asbestos fibres of which only three have been used commercially in Australia. These included the serpentine: Chrysotile (white asbestos); and the amphiboles: Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and Amosite (brown or grey asbestos). The other three non-commercially used amphiboles included Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

Asbestos has been used in the ancient world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is believed that as early as 4000 BC, asbestos fibres were used for wicks in lamps and candles. Between 2000-3000 BC, embalmed bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth. The Greeks and Romans documented the harmful effects of asbestos fibres on those who mined the silken material from ancient stone quarries noting a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

The commercial use of asbestos commenced in the late 1800s in Australia in four main industries including Mining and Milling; Building & Construction (for strengthening cement and plastics, for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption); Ship Building (eg. insulation of boilers and steampipes) and the Automotive Industry (eg. vehicle brake shoes, gaskets and clutch pads).

There were over 3000 products (Asbestos Containing Materials or ACM) manufactured with asbestos fibres. The ACM fall into two broad categories: friable and non-friable (or bonded).

‘Friable’ is ACM that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand, when dry. These materials can contain higher percentages of asbestos fibres and are easily or more likely to release airborne fibres into the environment with minimal disturbance. As such, they pose a greater risk to health. Friable materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist with Class A Asbestos Removal Licence. Examples of friable asbestos-containing materials include sprayed on fire retardants, insulation (eg. millboard, pipe insulation), sound proofing, the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves and hot water systems and associated pipe lagging, the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings, thermal lagging, some vermiculite.

‘Non-friable’, or bonded ACM is used to refer to ACM in which the asbestos is firmly bound in the matrix of the material. These materials are unlikely to release measurable levels of airborne asbestos fibre into the environment if they are undisturbed. Therefore, they generally pose a lower risk to health. However, activities that may abrade the ACM such as drilling, grinding have the potential to release higher concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres into the environment. The non-friable ACM are mainly made up of asbestos fibres together with a bonding compound (such as cement), and typically contain up to 15 per cent asbestos. Non-friable ACM are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. Non-friable ACM are the most common in domestic houses. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Examples of non-friable ACM include asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls, ceilings and roofs, moulded items such as downpipes) and vinyl floor tiles.

asbestos testing NSW

While asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibres become airborne in respirable size, are inhaled and lodge deep into the lungs (in the alveoli). Inhalation is the main route of entry to the body. Respirable fibres are fibres that are more likely to reach the small airways and alveolar region of the lung and are defined as having a length of more than five microns, and an aspect ratio (length/width) greater than 3:1.

Asbestos is classified according to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as Carcinogenicity Category 1A (May cause cancer).

There are several asbestos related diseases that may result from the exposure to asbestos which depends on factors such as fibre type; size and shape of fibres; concentration of asbestos fibres in the inhaled air and period of time over which the person was exposed. The asbestos related diseases include:

Asbestosis

Pleural plaques

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum

Lung cancer

Benign asbestos pleural effusion

Progressive pleural fibrosis (diffuse pleural thickening)

Transpulmonary bands (crow’s feet)

Rounded atelectasis

All asbestos related diseases have a latency period that is the period commencing from the time of the exposure to the asbestos fibres first occurred until symptoms of a disease show. This may range from 10 – 50 years for the asbestos related diseases.

Workplace exposures to asbestos fibres first occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing asbestos containing products or using those products during the construction of buildings. Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres is during the maintenance, renovation or demolition of old buildings with asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing materials are subject to environmental weathering which causes them to breakdown and release asbestos fibres. Low levels of airborne asbestos fibres are encountered in the environment from the breakdown of asbestos products. Environmental weathering of asbestos cement sheets in roofing and wall cladding, disturbance of asbestos from a variety of building materials like insulation and asbestos release to air from clutches and brakes in cars and trucks results in asbestos fibres being dispersed in the environment.

According to Australian Government Department of Health website, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Most people are also exposed to higher levels of asbestos at some time in their lives; for example, in their workplace, community or home. However, for most people, this kind of infrequent exposure is also unlikely to result in any ill effects.

Safe Work Australia states that “the typical environmental background in outdoor air is 0.0005 fibres/ml and 0.0002 fibres/ml in indoor air. The daily inhalation volume for an average adult is 22 m3 or 22000 litres. This means 5500 fibres are breathed/day by the average person (proportion of time spent indoors = 20 hours/day). Despite this the general population does not contract asbestos related disease in significant numbers. The background rate of mesothelioma is less than one per million per year. By comparison, the annual death rate for a 40 year old male in 2008 was 1.6 per thousand or 1600 per million. However, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Most people who develop asbestos related diseases were workers who have worked on jobs where they frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres. As an example, construction workers using unsafe practices in the past may have frequently encountered asbestos fibre levels significantly higher than those levels found in the background. The current workplace exposure standard (time weighted average (TWA) over an eight-hour period) is 0.1 fibres/millilitre of air (100 fibres per litre which is between 500 and 10,000 times the background levels). In the past, workers in asbestos milling or mining often encountered fibre concentrations a million times higher than background levels. In 2011, 606 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and 125 deaths were caused by asbestosis in Australia.

Family members of exposed workers or those who lived close to active asbestos mines in the past are also at risk. A worker exposed to asbestos fibres or a home renovator can carry asbestos fibres on their clothing, boots, skin, hair and tools. Everyone should be alert to ensure they do not become exposed to these fibres.

A very small number of asbestos-related disease cases occur each year in people who have not worked with asbestos products. The low number of cases makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease or the likely exposure event, but unsafe handling of asbestos materials in the home may have contributed to some of these cases.

The uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos containing materials must be avoided at any time to prevent the release of airborne asbestos and increase the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable by managing asbestos containing materials in-situ and adopting safe work practices as required by the Work Health & Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia Codes of Practice “How to Manage & Control Asbestos In the Workplace”: and “ How to Safely Remove Asbestos”.

If you require assistance in asbestos inspection, asbestos testing or asbestos assessment contact SESA on 02 8786 1808.

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/15-asbestos/asbestos-exposure-risk-of-developing-asbestos-related-disease.html - Comments: 0

Office / Indoor Air Quality – Investigating IAQ Complai - 16 Feb 2018 07:53

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The air quality of the indoor environment such as a non-industrial office environment can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, such an office environment, is the subject of much attention recently, and for good reason. Although serious irreversible health problems related to IAQ in non-industrial office environments are rare, the perception of endangered health is increasingly common among building occupants.

To date, the causes and consequences of poor IAQ are complex and not completely understood, but there are some basic factors that in many cases address IAQ concerns.

IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odours, chemical contaminants, dampness, mould or bacteria.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of physical symptoms and complaints. The most common of these include:

Thermal discomfort: too hot or too cold

Headaches

Fatigue

Shortness of breath (eg. insufficient oxygen related to high carbon dioxide levels)

Sinus congestion

Coughs

Sneezing

Eye, nose, and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea

Skin irritation

These physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, however, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always the cause. Other factors in the indoor environment such as noise, overcrowding, improper lighting, poor ergonomic conditions, and job stress can also lead to these symptoms and complaints. In many situations, a combination of factors is to blame.

An increased likelihood of complaints is usually associated with factors such as the installation of new furnishings, uncontrolled renovation activities, poor air circulation and air flow, persistent moisture and ongoing low relative humidity. Complaints may also increase when there is a stressful work environment, such as impending layoffs, a great deal of overtime, or an ongoing conflict among staff members and management.

A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building or facility, including:

The physical layout of the building

The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The outdoor climate

The people who occupy the building

Contaminants emitted inside and entered from outside the building

Poor indoor air quality and indoor air contaminants affect some people more seriously, including:

People with allergies or asthma

People with respiratory disease

People whose immune system is suppressed as a result of disease or treatment

People who wear contact lenses

Indoor air contaminants can originate within a building or be drawn in from outdoors. These contaminants can lead to indoor air quality problems, even if the HVAC system is well designed, regularly maintained, and functioning to its optimum conditions.

Sources of contaminants inside the building environment may include:

Dust, dirt, or mould in the HVAC system (eg. cooling coils, ducts, registers)

Office equipment such as laser printers and copiers (eg. airborne particulates, ozone)

Personal activities such as smoking or cooking (eg. Volatile organic compounds, nicotine)

Housekeeping activities such as cleaning and dusting

Maintenance activities such as painting (eg. Volatile organic compounds)

Spills of water or other liquids

Special use areas such as print shops and laboratories

Industrial processes such as dry cleaning

Moisture affected building materials (eg. mould and bacteria)

Sources of contaminants from outside the building may include:

Vehicle exhaust

Pollen and dust (eg. long term build up if cleaning regime is inadequate)

Smoke

Unsanitary debris or dumpsters near the outdoor air intake

Depending on the complaint reported by building occupants, an indoor air quality investigation should include the following:

Interview with building occupants to identify potential causes such as identifiable odours, recent changes that may have caused the issue, water intrusion event, increased occupancy, cleaning regime, etc.

Assessment of the ventilation rate (generally when the indoor carbon dioxide levels are over 650 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor levels)

https://www.sesa.com.au/

Walkthrough inspection of the building and the ventilation system (filters, cooling coils, condensation trays, air ducts, etc.)

Sampling for airborne contaminants suspected to be present in concentrations associated with the reported complaints.

Documenting the complaint, the investigation, and any actions taken.

Occupant concerns regarding indoor air quality should be taken seriously and responded to as soon as possible. Initial information should be collected, checked and verified, preferably through interviews with occupants and a visual inspection:

Details about the specific complaint

Location(s) of the building where similar concerns about IAQ have been reported

Time of occurrence of the IAQ problem

When and where did it start and what has changed in the building just before the problem was first experienced

People affected and extent of the affected area(s)

Specific details on the health effects or discomfort occupants are experiencing

If the health effects stop soon after leaving the building, or over the weekend

If the symptoms have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner

If there are any identifiable practices inside or outside the building occurring at a time coinciding with the reported issues

If the air conditioning contractor or the building engineer evaluated the HVAC system or other conditions and the conclusions reached

Once the information above is gathered and analysed the walkthrough inspection by a specialist indoor air quality consultant should be undertaken to identify potential sources of contamination or unusual conditions. Generally, at this stage the IAQ consultant should be able to narrow the possibilities and developing air sampling strategy if required to confirm potential causes of the IAQ problem and decide on suitable solutions or if further investigation is required.

Generally, most IAQ issues can be resolved by addressing maintenance issues of the HVAC system (eg. air exchange rates, improved ventilation and air flow, filter change and disinfection of the internal surfaces of the air handling unit and the air ducts), HEPA vacuuming of the entire space, building repairs, addressing moisture issues, removing potential sources of contamination, implementing a new cleaning regime).

Under the Work Health & Safety Legislation, it is the duty of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety.

If you require assistance regarding the indoor air quality at your workplace please contact SESA on 02 8786 1808

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/14-indoor-air-quality/office-indoor-air-quality-investigating-iaq-complaints.html - Comments: 0

Asbestos Exposure & Risk of Developing Asbestos Related - 02 Feb 2018 03:19

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring rock forming mineral silicate in fibrous form belonging to the serpentine and amphibole groups. It occurs naturally in large deposits on every continent in the world. There are six types of naturally occurring asbestos fibres of which only three have been used commercially in Australia. These included the serpentine: Chrysotile (white asbestos); and the amphiboles: Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and Amosite (brown or grey asbestos). The other three non-commercially used amphiboles included Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite.

Asbestos has been used in the ancient world of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is believed that as early as 4000 BC, asbestos fibres were used for wicks in lamps and candles. Between 2000-3000 BC, embalmed bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth. The Greeks and Romans documented the harmful effects of asbestos fibres on those who mined the silken material from ancient stone quarries noting a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth.

The commercial use of asbestos commenced in the late 1800s in Australia in four main industries including Mining and Milling; Building & Construction (for strengthening cement and plastics, for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption); Ship Building (eg. insulation of boilers and steampipes) and the Automotive Industry (eg. vehicle brake shoes, gaskets and clutch pads).

There were over 3000 products (Asbestos Containing Materials or ACM) manufactured with asbestos fibres. The ACM fall into two broad categories: friable and non-friable (or bonded).

‘Friable’ is ACM that can be easily reduced to powder when crushed by hand, when dry. These materials can contain higher percentages of asbestos fibres and are easily or more likely to release airborne fibres into the environment with minimal disturbance. As such, they pose a greater risk to health. Friable materials must only be handled and removed by an asbestos removalist with Class A Asbestos Removal Licence. Examples of friable asbestos-containing materials include sprayed on fire retardants, insulation (eg. millboard, pipe insulation), sound proofing, the lining on some old domestic heaters, stoves and hot water systems and associated pipe lagging, the backing of sheet vinyl and linoleum floor coverings, thermal lagging, some vermiculite.

‘Non-friable’, or bonded ACM is used to refer to ACM in which the asbestos is firmly bound in the matrix of the material. These materials are unlikely to release measurable levels of airborne asbestos fibre into the environment if they are undisturbed. Therefore, they generally pose a lower risk to health. However, activities that may abrade the ACM such as drilling, grinding have the potential to release higher concentrations of airborne asbestos fibres into the environment. The non-friable ACM are mainly made up of asbestos fibres together with a bonding compound (such as cement), and typically contain up to 15 per cent asbestos. Non-friable ACM are solid, quite rigid and the asbestos fibres are tightly bound in the material. Non-friable ACM are the most common in domestic houses. They are commonly called ‘fibro’, ‘asbestos cement’ and ‘AC sheeting’. Examples of non-friable ACM include asbestos cement products (flat, profiled and corrugated sheeting used in walls, ceilings and roofs, moulded items such as downpipes) and vinyl floor tiles.

While asbestos is a hazardous material it can only pose a risk to health if the asbestos fibres become airborne in respirable size, are inhaled and lodge deep into the lungs (in the alveoli). Inhalation is the main route of entry to the body. Respirable fibres are fibres that are more likely to reach the small airways and alveolar region of the lung and are defined as having a length of more than five microns, and an aspect ratio (length/width) greater than 3:1.

Asbestos is classified according to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as Carcinogenicity Category 1A (May cause cancer).

There are several asbestos related diseases that may result from the exposure to asbestos which depends on factors such as fibre type; size and shape of fibres; concentration of asbestos fibres in the inhaled air and period of time over which the person was exposed. The asbestos related diseases include:

Asbestosis

Pleural plaques

Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum

Lung cancer

Benign asbestos pleural effusion

Progressive pleural fibrosis (diffuse pleural thickening)

Transpulmonary bands (crow’s feet)

lead dust testing

Rounded atelectasis

All asbestos related diseases have a latency period that is the period commencing from the time of the exposure to the asbestos fibres first occurred until symptoms of a disease show. This may range from 10 – 50 years for the asbestos related diseases.

Workplace exposures to asbestos fibres first occurred while mining asbestos, manufacturing asbestos containing products or using those products during the construction of buildings. Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres is during the maintenance, renovation or demolition of old buildings with asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing materials are subject to environmental weathering which causes them to breakdown and release asbestos fibres. Low levels of airborne asbestos fibres are encountered in the environment from the breakdown of asbestos products. Environmental weathering of asbestos cement sheets in roofing and wall cladding, disturbance of asbestos from a variety of building materials like insulation and asbestos release to air from clutches and brakes in cars and trucks results in asbestos fibres being dispersed in the environment.

According to Australian Government Department of Health website, we are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 asbestos fibres in every 1000 litres (or cubic metre) of air (equivalent to 0.01 to 0.20 fibres per litre of air). However, most people do not become ill from this exposure, because the levels of asbestos present in the environment are very low. Most people are also exposed to higher levels of asbestos at some time in their lives; for example, in their workplace, community or home. However, for most people, this kind of infrequent exposure is also unlikely to result in any ill effects.

Safe Work Australia states that “the typical environmental background in outdoor air is 0.0005 fibres/ml and 0.0002 fibres/ml in indoor air. The daily inhalation volume for an average adult is 22 m3 or 22000 litres. This means 5500 fibres are breathed/day by the average person (proportion of time spent indoors = 20 hours/day). Despite this the general population does not contract asbestos related disease in significant numbers. The background rate of mesothelioma is less than one per million per year. By comparison, the annual death rate for a 40 year old male in 2008 was 1.6 per thousand or 1600 per million. However, there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Most people who develop asbestos related diseases were workers who have worked on jobs where they frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres. As an example, construction workers using unsafe practices in the past may have frequently encountered asbestos fibre levels significantly higher than those levels found in the background. The current workplace exposure standard (time weighted average (TWA) over an eight-hour period) is 0.1 fibres/millilitre of air (100 fibres per litre which is between 500 and 10,000 times the background levels). In the past, workers in asbestos milling or mining often encountered fibre concentrations a million times higher than background levels. In 2011, 606 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and 125 deaths were caused by asbestosis in Australia.

Family members of exposed workers or those who lived close to active asbestos mines in the past are also at risk. A worker exposed to asbestos fibres or a home renovator can carry asbestos fibres on their clothing, boots, skin, hair and tools. Everyone should be alert to ensure they do not become exposed to these fibres.

A very small number of asbestos-related disease cases occur each year in people who have not worked with asbestos products. The low number of cases makes it difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease or the likely exposure event, but unsafe handling of asbestos materials in the home may have contributed to some of these cases.

The uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos containing materials must be avoided at any time to prevent the release of airborne asbestos and increase the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. The exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable by managing asbestos containing materials in-situ and adopting safe work practices as required by the Work Health & Safety Regulations and Safe Work Australia Codes of Practice “How to Manage & Control Asbestos In the Workplace”: and “ How to Safely Remove Asbestos”.

If you require assistance in asbestos inspection, asbestos testing or asbestos assessment contact SESA on 02 8786 1808.

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/15-asbestos/asbestos-exposure-risk-of-developing-asbestos-related-disease.html - Comments: 0

Office / Indoor Air Quality – Investigating IAQ Complai - 01 Feb 2018 19:35

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The air quality of the indoor environment such as a non-industrial office environment can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, such an office environment, is the subject of much attention recently, and for good reason. Although serious irreversible health problems related to IAQ in non-industrial office environments are rare, the perception of endangered health is increasingly common among building occupants.

To date, the causes and consequences of poor IAQ are complex and not completely understood, but there are some basic factors that in many cases address IAQ concerns.

safety consultants

IAQ is a problem when the air contains dust and objectionable odours, chemical contaminants, dampness, mould or bacteria.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of physical symptoms and complaints. The most common of these include:

Thermal discomfort: too hot or too cold

Headaches

Fatigue

Shortness of breath (eg. insufficient oxygen related to high carbon dioxide levels)

Sinus congestion

Coughs

Sneezing

Eye, nose, and throat irritation

Skin irritation

Dizziness

Nausea

Skin irritation

These physical symptoms and complaints are often attributed to indoor air quality, however, it is important to note that indoor air quality is not always the cause. Other factors in the indoor environment such as noise, overcrowding, improper lighting, poor ergonomic conditions, and job stress can also lead to these symptoms and complaints. In many situations, a combination of factors is to blame.

An increased likelihood of complaints is usually associated with factors such as the installation of new furnishings, uncontrolled renovation activities, poor air circulation and air flow, persistent moisture and ongoing low relative humidity. Complaints may also increase when there is a stressful work environment, such as impending layoffs, a great deal of overtime, or an ongoing conflict among staff members and management.

A number of factors can affect the indoor air quality of a building or facility, including:

The physical layout of the building

The building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The outdoor climate

The people who occupy the building

Contaminants emitted inside and entered from outside the building

Poor indoor air quality and indoor air contaminants affect some people more seriously, including:

People with allergies or asthma

People with respiratory disease

People whose immune system is suppressed as a result of disease or treatment

People who wear contact lenses

Indoor air contaminants can originate within a building or be drawn in from outdoors. These contaminants can lead to indoor air quality problems, even if the HVAC system is well designed, regularly maintained, and functioning to its optimum conditions.

Sources of contaminants inside the building environment may include:

Dust, dirt, or mould in the HVAC system (eg. cooling coils, ducts, registers)

Office equipment such as laser printers and copiers (eg. airborne particulates, ozone)

Personal activities such as smoking or cooking (eg. Volatile organic compounds, nicotine)

Housekeeping activities such as cleaning and dusting

Maintenance activities such as painting (eg. Volatile organic compounds)

Spills of water or other liquids

Special use areas such as print shops and laboratories

Industrial processes such as dry cleaning

Moisture affected building materials (eg. mould and bacteria)

Sources of contaminants from outside the building may include:

Vehicle exhaust

Pollen and dust (eg. long term build up if cleaning regime is inadequate)

Smoke

Unsanitary debris or dumpsters near the outdoor air intake

Depending on the complaint reported by building occupants, an indoor air quality investigation should include the following:

Interview with building occupants to identify potential causes such as identifiable odours, recent changes that may have caused the issue, water intrusion event, increased occupancy, cleaning regime, etc.

Assessment of the ventilation rate (generally when the indoor carbon dioxide levels are over 650 parts per million (ppm) above ambient outdoor levels)

Walkthrough inspection of the building and the ventilation system (filters, cooling coils, condensation trays, air ducts, etc.)

Sampling for airborne contaminants suspected to be present in concentrations associated with the reported complaints.

Documenting the complaint, the investigation, and any actions taken.

Occupant concerns regarding indoor air quality should be taken seriously and responded to as soon as possible. Initial information should be collected, checked and verified, preferably through interviews with occupants and a visual inspection:

Details about the specific complaint

Location(s) of the building where similar concerns about IAQ have been reported

Time of occurrence of the IAQ problem

When and where did it start and what has changed in the building just before the problem was first experienced

People affected and extent of the affected area(s)

Specific details on the health effects or discomfort occupants are experiencing

If the health effects stop soon after leaving the building, or over the weekend

If the symptoms have been diagnosed by a medical practitioner

If there are any identifiable practices inside or outside the building occurring at a time coinciding with the reported issues

If the air conditioning contractor or the building engineer evaluated the HVAC system or other conditions and the conclusions reached

Once the information above is gathered and analysed the walkthrough inspection by a specialist indoor air quality consultant should be undertaken to identify potential sources of contamination or unusual conditions. Generally, at this stage the IAQ consultant should be able to narrow the possibilities and developing air sampling strategy if required to confirm potential causes of the IAQ problem and decide on suitable solutions or if further investigation is required.

Generally, most IAQ issues can be resolved by addressing maintenance issues of the HVAC system (eg. air exchange rates, improved ventilation and air flow, filter change and disinfection of the internal surfaces of the air handling unit and the air ducts), HEPA vacuuming of the entire space, building repairs, addressing moisture issues, removing potential sources of contamination, implementing a new cleaning regime).

Under the Work Health & Safety Legislation, it is the duty of the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to provide a work environment that is free from risks to health and safety.

If you require assistance regarding the indoor air quality at your workplace please contact SESA on 02 8786 1808

First posted here https://www.sesa.com.au/14-indoor-air-quality/office-indoor-air-quality-investigating-iaq-complaints.html - Comments: 0


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