Occupational hygiene is an exciting and dynamic speciality in the safety spectrum. Occupational hygiene is the process of anticipation, recognition, evaluation, communication and control of environmental stressors in the workplace that can affect the health and well-being of the workforce. Occupational hygienists assist to identify the risk level of occupational exposures to stressors (hazards) and assist in the control of this exposure before disease or harm manifests.
Health hazard identification is the first step to developing an occupational hygiene program. This process will develop a list of the stressors that the workforce are potentially exposed to. These will be under the categories of Biological (legionella, Mould etc), Chemical (Lead, Cyanide etc), Physical (Vibration, Heat, Noise), Ergonomic and Psychosocial. This will often consist of a walk-through survey to identify the issues and list detail of the potential for harm. The health hazard identification needs to be conducted in the workplace with input from the operational staff.
Assessments involve Qualitative risk assessment that is performed to identify the potential exposures that require monitoring. This is a risk management process to establish the priority exposures for further review and uses the judgment of the hygienist, engineers, managers and operators. Following the Qualitative risk assessment, Quantitative risk assessment (i.e. the process of obtaining data to determine what the actual exposure is in the workplace through scientific data) is conducted to accurately assess the levels of workplace exposures. Global Asbestos Audit specialises in the field of Occupational & Industrial Hygiene and provides a comprehensive scope of services to a wide range of clients both nationally and internationally. Our dedicated and highly skilled team of consultants offer a turnkey solution to any problem, and provide the following range of services:
- Assessment of Workplace Hazards & Contaminants
- Development of Occupational Monitoring Programs
- Workplace & Industrial Exposure Assessment
- Solvent Vapour Monitoring (i.e. Welding Fumes, Gases, VOC’s etc)
- Indoor Air Quality Assessment (i.e. Dust, Particulates, Gases, Temperature, Light, etc)
- Biological Monitoring of Bacteria, Fungi, Mould, and Pathogens
- Assessment & Implementation of Workplace Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- NATA Accredited Assessment & Analysis of Respirable & Inhalable Quartz/Silica
- Risk Assessment, Communication & Management
NABERS Ratings for Buildings
Global Asbestos Audit has a number of NABERS Accredited Assessors that can assist your organisation by conducting any of the following ratings:
- NABERS Energy Rating
- NABERS Water Rating
- NABERS Waste Rating
- NABERS Indoor Environment Rating
The buildings we live and work in have a measurable impact on our environment:
- Energy is used to provide lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation.
- Water is used for washing, drinking, for toilets and air conditioning.
- Waste is generated
- Occupants are affected by the quality of the air in buildings.
- Local biodiversity is affected by the construction and tenancy of buildings.
- Natural storm water flows are redirected and often concentrated.
- Toxic materials may be present in buildings.
- People travel to and from buildings, often in greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles.
Building owners, managers or occupants can manage and reduce these environmental impacts. NABERS is designed to provide you with a simple indication of how well you are managing these environmental impacts compared with your peers and neighbours.
These environmental indicators and the associated measurement techniques have been the subject of extensive research and deliberation, drawing on international and local expertise.
Who manages NABERS?
The NABERS tool was originally developed by the Australian Dept. of Environment and Heritage (DEH). The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (formerly Dept. of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability) was selected by DEH as the successful tenderer to proceed with the commercialisation of NABERS, with the contract for NABERS commercialisation signed in March 2005.
DECCW manages the operation and development of accredited NABERS rating systems throughout Australia. This is overseen by the NABERS National Steering Committee, which is comprised of representatives of the Australian and State and Territory Governments, and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council as an observer. NABERS is available throughout Australia, with accredited assessors available to perform accredited ratings in every state and territory via this website.
Who can use NABERS?
NABERS provides property owners, occupants, investors and other stakeholders with a reliable and easy-to-use method of assessing the environmental impacts of buildings in use.
NABERS can be used to define and set operational performance targets and measure and rate actual performance.
Accredited ratings can also be used to disclose and report on performance to interested parties, establish commercial relationships for the monitoring and maintenance of performance targets, enlist professional services to improve a rating, and make decisions about priority actions or investment options.
Government agencies and councils, planning and housing authorities, and utilities may also be interested in the information that NABERS generates as a means of encouraging environmental improvement and providing incentives.
What building types does NABERS apply to?
Currently, NABERS provides separate ratings for:
- Office building: This covers the environmental impacts of the activities and services traditionally supplied by, or within the control of, the landlords/operators of office buildings.
- Office tenancy: This covers the environmental impacts of the activities that are under the control of office occupants.
- Hotels: available for AAA-rated business hotels
- Homes: This is designed for occupants of homes, covering all situations where the home carries all of its own services and land as a single identifiable package.
- Ratings are in development for hospitals, hotels, schools and retail centres.
What does NABERS do?
NABERS has been developed to:
- Rate the environmental performance of operational buildings and homes.
- Provide separate ratings for the different stakeholders within a building (such as landlords and tenants) where appropriate.
- Provide an explicit and consistent rating system methodology, with a clear performance-based structure and methodologies and defaults where necessary.
- Provide a realistic rating scale that recognises and rewards current performance levels, and encourages and promotes best practice.
- Allow for voluntary self-assessment, with the option of seeking a certified rating from an accredited provider if desired.
- Use measured quantities as the primary means of assessment. Where measurement is not feasible, then practice-based or default scores may be acceptable in some categories.
- Contain appropriate adjustments for factors such as climate and occupancy patterns.
- on existing
Why use NABERS?
The vast majority environmental impacts from buildings are due to the operation of existing buildings in the marketplace. Most existing rating systems in Australia and overseas are intended for use at the design and development phase. Whilst design is clearly of crucial importance, good design is no guarantee of sound environmental performance during operation.
It makes sense therefore to use a rating system that is specifically tailored for existing buildings, and that measures relevant impacts during the operational phase of buildings. This approach has a number of benefits, including:
- NABERS provides a rating of the things that a building owner/operator can reasonably assume responsibility for, rather than items that were decided possibly by another party many years ago and cannot be easily changed.
- As NABERS is based on actual measured performance rather than on prescriptive design parameters, it is complementary to expert design tools and design-based rating systems.
What does NABERS measure?
NABERS measures environmental performance against the impact categories listed below. The relevance of these impact categories in a NABERS assessment will depend on what sort of premises is being rated. NABERS is structured this way because it is important for a rating system to recognise:
- The different realms of accountability and responsibility for commercial building owners, commercial tenants, or homeowners.
- The varying key environmental issues relevant to different building types.
Key Impact Categories:
Energy use and greenhouse emissions – Energy-related greenhouse emissions are a key factor in increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to human-induced climate change. How buildings are operated can affect their energy demand significantly.
Water use – Building users can be major water consumers, but users can also adopt practices to harvest water sustainably and effect considerable reductions in demand on existing constrained supplies.
Waste – Waste contributes to resource depletion and a range of pollutants and emissions. The reduction of waste minimises the area needed for landfill and reduces the environmental impact of overall materials throughput.
Indoor environment – As well as minimising impacts to the wider environment, It is important for the health, satisfaction and productivity of occupants that buildings provide a comfortable indoor environment for those who use them.