Occupational Hygienists to Benefit from Military Technology to Protect Workers


Published 25th March 21

Occupational Hygienists to Benefit from Military Technology to Protect Workers

New technology developed for the military to detect chemical attacks is being brought to market for use by Occupational Hygiene specialists to help protect workers from health problems caused by breathing in fine particles.

Lightweight wearable monitors have been developed by Arosa Instruments using patented air sampling technology developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the University of Hertfordshire.

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The monitors weigh just 95 grams and are small enough to be worn on a lapel. Compared with current devices, the new monitor is five times lighter, can be placed anywhere on the worker since it does not need to be worn on a belt or shoulder strap, and it mitigates the snagging or catch hazard as a hose is no longer needed.

The breakthrough will help protect workers across a range of environments where dust must be controlled including factories, bakeries, and woodworking plants. This ability to provide personal monitoring reduces the risks of breathing in fine particles that can cause a range of work-related ill health including occupational asthma and potentially fatal diseases including lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Each year, there are an estimated 12,000 deaths linked to past exposures in the workplace, and 17,000 estimated new cases of self-reported breathing or lung problems caused or made worse while at work.1

Arosa Instruments has brought the technology to market with the backing of Ploughshare Innovations, which takes research created by world-leading government laboratories, such as Dstl, and commercialises it to deliver societal impact. The sampling method used in the monitors was originally designed to alert the armed forces to possible chemical weapons attacks.

William Averdieck, founder of Arosa Instruments, said:

This technology is a game-changer for industry, replacing old and cumbersome monitoring equipment with advanced, lightweight, wearable devices that provide detailed real-time information about levels of fine particles in the workplace.

“The devices are especially helpful for Occupational Hygiene consultants, providing a convenient and accurate way to monitor the presence of fine particles in working environments. Our patented technology represents a major leap forward in protecting workers and ensuring employers achieve compliance and reduce avoidable risk of workplace exposure. Our instruments, which are convenient to wear, monitor the dust levels and reduce avoidable risk by providing  feedback that local exhaust and ventilation systems are working correctly and that work practices are adequately controlling dust levels.”

Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, CEO at Ploughshare Innovations, said:

“Ploughshare Innovations enables game-changing solutions from UK government investments in science and technology, for the benefit of our economy and society as a whole, and this is a great example. We are delighted to be supporting Arosa Instruments in bringing this exciting new sampling method to market. We are immensely proud of William, his colleagues and the team at the University of Hertfordshire for their achievements. This product has the potential to revolutionise air quality measurement in a range of industries to allow employers to comply with ever-tougher regulations and give greater protection for their workforce.”

Technical information

The monitors:

Related information

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