When you are evaluating a potential property, it is crucial to have all suitable health and safety checks performed. This should include silica inspection for exposure of silica dust. NCPI provides routine assessment and monitoring services in existing as well as potential new locations, for the presence of silica dust in domestic and commercial properties.

Silica, being a ubiquitous material, is found in crystalline and amorphous form in nature. Crystalline silica, also called free silica, forms the major component of sand, soil and rocks. It is used to make a lot of common products such as granite countertops, tiles, bricks and other building materials. It is also used in manufacturing of ceramics, glass, electrical components and refractory linings. Generally, silica is okay to be handled. But when products containing silica are cut, drilled, sawed, ground or polished, it creates silica dust. These breathable particles are a consequence of construction activities and are very harmful.
Exposure to silica dust can occur during:

  • Installation, fabrication, maintenance and removal of composite stone countertops
  • Earthmoving, excavation, drilling operations
  • Stone, brick or concrete cutting, angle grinding, chiselling and jackhammering, especially using dry methods
  • Paving and surfacing
  • Construction, tunnelling and demolition activities
  • Hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells
  • Pottery and ceramic industries
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Clean up activities such as pressurised air blowing of dust or sweeping
  • Desert dust and sand

  • Crystalline silica generally found as fugitive dust (particles less than 10 microns (µm) in aerodynamic diameter), is a major health hazard and can have short and long term health effects. These particles are tiny enough to penetrate the alveoli of lungs (gas-exchange region), causing irreversible lung damage. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified crystalline silica as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1 carcinogen).

    The diseases caused by mild as well as long term exposure to silica dust include:

  • Chronic bronchitis – inflammation of lining of bronchial airways

  • Emphysema – rupturing of the air sacs (alveoli), resulting in loss of surface area for exchange of gases

  • Scleroderma – excessive synthesis of protein collagen, which results in hardening of connective tissue and scarring of lungs
  • Silicosis (a type of pulmonary fibrosis) – inflammation and scarring of lung, it does not have any cure
  • Lung cancer – uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of lungs

  • Air monitoring and testing is conducted as per the Australian Exposure Standards for respirable crystalline silica, set as 0.05mg/m3. These procedures are conducted in compliance with the standards specified for testing in AS 2985-2009 Workplace atmospheres – Method for sampling and gravimetric determination of respirable dust.

    Static dust monitoring is conducted at fixed locations, such as the construction sites, neighbouring properties or any place with suspected silica exposure. Samples of air are taken via an air monitoring pump attached with a cyclone sampling head. The cyclone head effectively rules out particles of dust greater than 16 microns. The respirable fraction of particles (<16microns) is collected on a filter paper and analysed. FTIR spectroscopy or X-ray diffraction method is used to measure the percentage of crystalline silica present in the air sample. It is then compared with the given exposure standards.

    A detailed assessment of the air samples collected is carried out. The data collected from air monitoring and testing, from our National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratories, is recorded in the report. Our professional reports are typically available within 48 hours of receipt from our trusted and experienced laboratories. Our reports enable our clients to make informed decisions on a comprehensive approach for reducing the silica dust levels and effective respiratory protection.

    At NCPI, we have years of experience in silica inspection for domestic and commercial properties. The sampling and testing is carried out by qualified professionals, who understand the best approach for projects of all sizes. We are one of the best service providers in Australia for silica inspection.

    Our consultants will answer any questions you may have regarding silica dust exposure testing and inspection process. You can contact our testing specialists on 0413 952 683.

    Give us a call today if you are in need of a professional testing company for silica inspection.

    Servicing All OF AUSTRALIA

    Deborah: 0413 952 683


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