Laboratory Services

OCSA can provide you with the following laboratory services:

  • Identification of Asbestos in Bulk Materials by Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM) in accordance with MDHS 77.
  • Evaluation of asbestos fibres in air by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) in accordance with MDHS 39/4.
  • Gravimetric analysis of airborne dusts and fumes.
  • Chemical analysis of air, water and soil samples for pollutants and chemical composition by SANAS Accredited Laboratories.
  • Analysis of hazardous biological agents present in air, water and soil samples, as well as foodstuffs and swab samples of equipment and contact surfaces in food premises, including bacteria, protozoa, viruses, algae, yeast and moulds.

Identification of Asbestos in bulk materials by Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM)
(in accordance with MDHS 77).

Asbestos containing materials are strictly controlled by the Asbestos Regulations, OHSAct (85 of 1993). Asbestos is a dangerous material, and when inhaled in sufficient quantities may cause life threatening diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Many activities such as demolition, decorating or renovating buildings may disturb asbestos containing materials and expose workers to the harmful dust. The Asbestos Regulations require that you must identify all asbestos containing materials before making any alterations to a building.

Asbestos may be present in fibre cement building materials, roof sheeting, ceilings, decorative textured coating on ceilings, in pipe lagging or as thermal, acoustic or fire retardant insulation.

OCSA can help you to positively confirm whether or not asbestos is present in building materials.  A visual inspection of a product does not provide a reliable means to identify if it contains asbestos.

We can assist you to collect bulk samples at your premises for analysis, or you can collect a sample yourself and submit it to our laboratory in Rivonia (See Sample Collection Guidelines).  Results are available within 24 hours.

We will provide you with professional guidance where samples test positive for asbestos.

Sample Collection Guidelines

The following collection guidelines should be followed for the collection of non-friable asbestos products such as cement boards, vinyl flooring or domestic textured ceilings.  If you are unsure whether to collect a sample yourself, please contact us.

  • Wear a well-fitting dust mask with at least, a FFP2 classification, if multiple samples are collected.
  • Wet the product down with water. The use of trigger bottle containing a soapy solution is recommended.
  • Do not use any power tools.
  • Cut or break off a piece approximately the size of 2 tablespoons (20 to 50 g) using pliers.
  • Place material into a sealed plastic bag or container.
  • Wipe down outside of sampling bag to remove dust.
  • Clearly identify the type of material and where it is from, client name and date on which the sample was taken.
  • Place samples in large sealed plastic bag along with an itemized list of the samples and deliver by courier or by hand to our offices in Rivonia.

Evaluation of asbestos fibres in the air by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM)
(in accordance with MDHS 39/4).

When disturbed, asbestos containing materials may release microscopically small fibres that can be inhaled deep into the lungs where they are the cause of fatal diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibres that can enter the lungs are regulated by the Asbestos Regulations, OHSAct (85 of 1993).Regulated asbestos fibres are asbestos with a length to diameter ratio of 3:1, a length greater than 5 micrometers and a diameter less than 3 micrometers.

Our asbestos laboratory offers facilities to size and count regulated asbestos fibres in accordance with the prescribed MDHS 39/4 method and to report accurately on the concentration of regulated fibres in the air.

OCSA’s asbestos laboratory offers the following services:

  • Sizing and counting service for Occupational Hygienists.
  • Sizing and counting services for Registered Asbestos Contractors.
  • We supply preloaded asbestos filter cassettes, ready for use, inclusive of an asbestos fibre sizing and counting service.

We provide asbestos sizing and counting results within 24 hours. However, we understand the urgency to provide results swiftly during asbestos removal projects and can provide results and clearance certificates almost immediately on completion of the work.

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