Why are area samples collected?

Air sampling is relevant to almost every industry, not to mention it is required by Cal/OSHA in many instances.  When conducting an air monitoring survey it should be remembered that a sampling strategy which determines where to sample and whom to sample in terms of exposed workers should be carefully determined.  We frequently recommend to our clients to collect area samples along with personal air samples even for Cal/OSHA compliance surveys.

Personal and area sampling is performed for the evaluation of air contaminants in a work environment.  Personal sampling measures the exposure concentration to workers and area sampling measures the environmental concentration to those workers who may be bystanders to the work being performed.

Although, the collection of area samples is not a required by CAL/OSHA generally, it is ideal for testing effectiveness of control measures, measuring background levels, and to help determine potential contamination.  Area sampling may also serve the role to protect public health and reduce owner liability.  In some instances it is more practical to take area samples rather than personal samples such as workers moving through an area where there is equipment emissions not directly associated with worker tasks, or to verify when working in sterile environments.

Monitoring instrumentation, logging data, quality control, and identifying target parameters and action levels are key components for an effective air monitoring program.  Without these components, significant liabilities for the site owner can result, as well as cost issues, and the potential for regulatory delays.  The Cohen Group can assist in developing and documenting effective exposure control methods, perform initial and periodic exposure monitoring, and prepare written reports where needed.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to request our services.

Nancy Gonzalez, MS