What is British Standard 6164 and what does it mean for the tunneling and construction industry?

Wayne Hose, Business Development Manager at Pinssar

British Standard 6164 (known as BS 6164) was released on October 31, 2019, and clearly states the dangers of Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) and the importance of it being taken seriously by relevant industries.

This  decision comes seven years after the dangers of diesel engine exhaust were clearly defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which declared it is carcinogenic to humans and placed it in the highest risk category, at the same risk level as asbestos and will have a significant impact on Tunneling and Construction industries across the world as well as further influence the mining sectors. 

The BS 6164 report states: 

“Exposure to diesel engine exhaust emissions should be controlled to prevent exposure to DPM. Primary control should be achieved by reducing emissions at source along with adequate ventilation. Until further guidance is issued by HSE, a limit value of 100 ug/m3 as a 15-minute time-weighted average, and measured as elemental carbon, should not be exceeded.

“Real-time monitoring of DPM using light scattering technology should be considered, however appropriate correction factors should be applied to ensure differentiation between DPM and mineral dust along with aerosols in the tunnel environment. Analytical monitoring for DPM should be carried out in accordance with BS EN 14530.

“Continuous real time monitoring should be undertaken – (see 16.1).”

The British Standards may be applied to all Commonwealth countries, which means the impact of the BS 6164 decision should flow through to Australia, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and India.

It’s expected that the “best in class” and “early adopters” will fall into line and introduce real time DPM monitoring into their operations using the technology that is now readily available and which satisfies the BS 6164 recommendations.

It will most likely see real time DPM monitoring become an essential part of construction contracts and will likely mean employers will no longer be able to legally claim ignorance if a worker claims their health has been affected by DPM exposure. 

Ultimately, no one wants to see DPM exposure become one of the great social disasters like lead, black dust and asbestos.

At the end of the day, proper DPM monitoring will save lives – there’s no denying it and the recommendations outlined in BS 6164 are a welcome step forward in improving worker safety. 
Read the full article on DPM monitoring here.