Environmental boundary monitoring can identify hazards

Tim Turney, Global Marketing Manager at workplace hazard monitoring business Casella, on how environmental boundary monitoring can help identify potential hazards, ensure compliance and protect the public

Construction dust can compromise air quality; noise pollution can harm workers and local residents; and excessive vibration can damage buildings. Site management has a duty of care to prevent all these potentially dangerous conditions.

However, it can be challenging to manage these issues without reliable data streams and instrumentation that gathers environmental information. Consequently, more companies are turning to boundary monitoring technology to measure the risks and ensure they adhere to environmental limits and guidelines. 

Boundary monitoring refers to the use of dedicated systems that monitor dust, noise and vibration levels, allowing companies to minimise potential disruption and annoyance, protect the public from worksite hazards, and achieve regulatory compliance. 

The use of boundary monitoring technology is a proactive measure that can save contractors and developers time and money, improve environmental performance and prevent prosecution by ensuring sites comply with the relevant legislation. There are stringent legal and environmental limits for noise, dust and vibration from construction projects in the UK. For example, sites must comply with Section 61 notices under the Control of Pollution Act 1974. Alongside the human cost to health, fines of up to £20,000 per violation are possible if preventable noise and dust exceed agreed emissions levels.

Monitoring compliance

Site monitoring must be recorded and reported, and action must be taken if limits are exceeded. Sites must be able to provide evidence of compliance to maintain their reputations, and local communities must be considered. For example, worksites with nearby facilities such as schools, hospitals or housing will be more sensitive to disruption and therefore require more monitoring.

If complaints arise, responsible companies using boundary monitoring can show they have been diligent in their operations and have been abiding by operational requirements. Data evidence from a boundary monitoring system is also helpful if a worksite is accused of issues caused by another operation, allowing site managers to respond rapidly and thereby minimise any potential damage to their company’s reputation.

While a variety of different monitoring solutions can be employed and combined to give a full picture of site emissions and risks, project managers and occupational hygienists are increasingly turning to combined boundary monitoring solutions. These continually measure conditions on or around a worksite and provide customisable automated reports, allowing managers to remotely check data streams across multiple units and sites.

If possible, baseline conditions should be established by performing tests before operations start, and these should be continued throughout the operation to observe site emissions and ensure compliance with planning conditions. Having access to real-time, near-reference data can help save site managers time, ensure environmental incidents are prevented and keep more people safe.

For more, visit casellasolutions.com

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