Personal Sampling in Dental Workplaces

Personal Sampling in Dental Workplaces


Bio-burden Testing

Within a dental practice/school/hospital, moulding substances, nitrous oxide and cleaning and disinfection chemicals are used. These present hazards to the health of those handling them, and therefore are controlled under the COSHH regulations.

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Drivers such as the Controls Assurance Standard are ensuring that health and safety surrounding the use of chemicals remains a priority. One of the key areas to address is exposure of staff to chemicals, and clear guidelines are given under COSHH as to exposure levels of specific chemicals. Assessing levels in the atmosphere through a monitoring programme is essential, and hospitals have been carrying out such programmes for some time now, as well as some NHS community dental units and dental practices.

Personal Sampling

The traditional technique of personal sampling tubes or devices has long been employed for monitoring the exposure of staff to anaesthetic gases. The tubes are worn by staff near to the breathing zone for a known period of time, during normal working practices. The analysis of the samples allows species concentrations to be calculated for the sampling period, and the results can then be compared with the published exposure limits for the chemical.

Personal sampling tubes are used to monitor nitrous oxide in the following situations:

  • When monitoring multiple staff in one room, such as dental schools/dental surgeries, where peak exposure positions cannot be predicted.

  • If nitrous oxide usage cannot be predicted such as in dental surgeries.

Cairn Workplace Exposure Monitoring

As with all Cairn services, our team works closely with the client to ensure the monitoring project is tailored to their requirements. Our personal sampling service consists of:

  • Pre-agreed provision of nitrous oxide and/or anaesthetic agent personal sampling tubes to the dental workplace with detailed instructions for their usage and telephone support if required.

  • The luxury of choosing the optimum time for monitoring to be conducted in the dental workplace.

  • Quality in-house analysis following completion of monitoring, for a rapid response.

  • A full report detailing all results, interpretation of the findings in comparison with Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) and conclusions and recommendations for further action to be taken where necessary.