C+S September 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 9 (web)

Construction dust can compromise air quality, environmental noise pollution can be harmful to workers and local residents, and excessive vibration can have damaging consequences. Site management has a duty of care to protect against potentially dangerous conditions. However, this can be challenging to manage without reliable data streams and instru - mentation 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. Site boundary or "fence line" monitoring is used widely on construction sites and other high-risk locations including demolition projects, mines and quarries and environmental remediation sites. Boundary monitoring units are set up on the exterior perimeter of the worksite to monitor for potential hazards that might cause compliance issues for the site or pres- ent a health risk to site neighbors. It is an essential part of the safety and risk management ecosystem of these sites, and helps control and mitigate potential environmental, health, and reputational risks. Identifying potential hazards Hazards that are typically monitored for include excess levels of dust, noise, vibration and, in some cases, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Volatile organic compounds include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects, and if these are present on a site or work their way into soil or groundwater, they can present a hazard to future development or remediation of a work site or property. Achieving compliance There are stringent legal and environmental controls surrounding levels of noise, dust and vibration that construction projects cannot exceed. For example, in the US, the Noise Control Act of 1972 establishes a national policy to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health and welfare. While primary responsibility for noise control rests with State and local governments, the act ensures that Federal action deals with major noise sources in commerce, control of which requires national uniformity of treatment. In New York, a city under constant renovation and construction, the Noise Code mandates Construction boundary monitoring: protecting workforces and communities Industry expert Tim Turney at occupational hygiene and workplace hazard monitoring expert Casella, shares how environmental boundary monitoring can help identify potential hazards, ensure compliance, and protect the public from health hazards By Tim Turney

that all construction must be conducted in accordance with noise mitiga - tion plans that address the specific location, type of work, and timing of a project. Sites must be able to provide evidence of compliance and maintain their reputations, and local communities must be considered. For example, when construction activity is planned near locations such as schools, hospitals, and houses of worship, the party responsible for construction is expected to design their noise mitigation plan to be sensi- tive to its neighbors. If noise complaints are received, an inspector will ensure the contractor has posted the plan and that it is being followed. To achieve compliance, site monitoring must be recorded and reported on, and action taken if limits are exceeded. If complaints arise, responsible companies using boundary monitoring have proof points to show they have been diligent with their monitoring in operations and abiding by operational requirements. Data evidence from a boundary monitoring system is also helpful if a worksite is ac- cused of issues caused by another operation, allowing site managers to respond rapidly, minimizing reputational damage. Ensuring accuracy Understanding how to mount any environmental monitor is essential to obtain accurate results. For example, noise monitors should not be mounted against flat surfaces because this will result in noise levels be- ing overestimated. Any microphone should be above hoardings with a clear line of sight to the nearest receptor. Inlets for any real-time dust measurements should also be clear of obstacles and be mounted away from buildings, ideally between 1.5 and 4 meters above the ground. When measuring vibration, the sensor should be mounted to a concrete plinth firmly attached to the ground to ensure accurate measurements. Taking advantage of combined solutions While a variety of different monitoring solutions can be employed and combined to give a full picture of site emissions and risks, increasingly project managers and occupational hygienists are turning to combined solutions, such as the Casella Guardian2. The Guardian2 continually measures conditions on or around a worksite and provides customiz- able, automated reports, allowing managers to check data streams across multiple units and multiple sites remotely. Site managers are of course busy people, so as little manual maintenance of environmental moni-



September 2022

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