Sibelco Real Time Dust Monitoring
Sibelco has been carrying out dust exposure monitoring for many years, both to ensure compliance with national Workplace Exposure Limits and as part of its commitment to reduce its staff’s exposure to airborne dust to the lowest level possible. The company was looking for a new way of showing to the workforce how dust levels varied throughout the process plants and within the activities they were carrying out, especially in relation to pM10. This is also called particulate matter, a mixture of solids and liquid droplets floating in the air that are virtually invisible to the naked eye.
In 2015 a small team comprising of Health, Safety and Engineering specialists developed the idea of combining real time dust level measurements in a graphical form together with a visual record of the activity or process being carried out. They believed a short video showing how dust was generated together with received exposure levels would be more easily understood and a powerful way to get these key safety messages across. Personal monitoring or spot readings do not have the same impact. To achieve the desired outcome, the team combined a real time particulate monitoring instrument, a cheap compact video camera linked together with software from the internet.
This tool is now being used throughout Sibelco UK to assist site No Dust Teams in identifying and showing visually to members of staff how dust levels can vary significantly within quite small environments. It is also used as a tool to locate sources of dust emission in production processes. The combined dust measurement and video can be quickly downloaded onto a laptop and shown back to the operators. They can easily see and quickly understand how or which part of their activities are generating varying dust levels. The monitor is particularly useful in showing levels of the virtually invisible pM10 particles.
- Management and maintenance staff can quickly identify problem areas
- Information on dust is better understood by staff
- Management of dust levels is more effective
- Equipment has been extremely popular with the workforce
- A safer and healthier working environment