2021 has seen the publication of a revised edition of HSG248 Asbestos: The analysts’ guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures. A document that was first published in 2005 and contains guidance for analysts involved in asbestos work. It is the authoritative source of asbestos analytical procedures for consultancies such as Scientific Services within the U.K.

The updated guidance considers legal changes, findings from the health and safety executive (HSE)’s interventions and developments in analytical procedures and methods.

Asbestos analyst looking down a microscope testing a sample

Updates to Asbestos Testing Procedures

Due to the changes in HSG248 which will be coming into effect in February 2022, Scientific Services has adopted the recent update to the TEAMS asbestos management software. This will ensure our compliance with the new working procedures laid out in the upcoming amendments. As a consultancy we have updated our procedures ahead of the deadline for the changes to be made. We can see the benefits that they offer in terms of improved accuracy. Our consultancy prides itself on delivering an accurate and quality asbestos testing service to our clients, so this decision was in keeping with our culture and ethos.

What do the Changes Mean for our Laboratory?

The changes have increased our internal quality control measures:

  • They impose additional checks on a percentage of samples analysed.
  • To help to reduce any errors in analysis, sample preparation is now being completed on all negative samples. Why? Its purpose is to release fibres from any matrix by removing fine particles adhering to the fibres, which left unremoved, can obscure optical effects and hinder identification.
  • Another notable change is that the weighting values attributed to negative samples has now changed to 2 points, regardless of the material type. This brings analysts to their total maximum of 70 points more quickly than previously.

Importance of Using an Accurate Laboratory

The updates and subsequent changes to our testing procedures are positive but have led to a reduction in the number of samples that each P401 qualified analyst can complete in a day.

Despite this, we continue to work in line with the new guidance to ensure that our customers receive the most accurate testing service possible.

Our continued accuracy is evidenced through our recent Asbestos in Materials Scheme (AIMS) score. We have held the best possible rating of ‘Good’ for over 14 years. To view our most recent certificate, please click here.

Using an accurate testing laboratory such as Scientific Services is important in promoting the safety of those dependent upon our results. It also ensures that asbestos is correctly managed in line with health and safety legislation.

To find out more about the updates to HSG248, please click here.

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