The NIOH Introduces A New Course: Asbestos – The Devil’s Dust


The National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) hosted the first in a series of 3 courses on Asbestos. Module 1, entitled Understanding Asbestos, was held on Thursday October 15 2009. The course was developed and presented by 2 experts from Occupational Hygiene Division at the NIOH: Mr. Adriaan Greyling and Mr. Gabriel Mizan.

A GreylingAdriaan Greyling is a registered Occupational Hygienist (SAIOH) and has been involved with the asbestos industry for more than 30 years. He is recognized as having wide experience in safe removal of asbestos projects including site decontamination and rehabilitation.

Adriaan headed the first Asbestos Approved Inspection Authority (AAIA) in South Africa and played an important role in the negotiations that preceded the formulation of the South African Asbestos Regulations.

G MizanGabriel Mizan is also a registered Occupational Hygienist (SAIOH) and has been working in the field of occupational hygiene for more than 20 years. During his work in industry and as a consultant he has been involved in numerous asbestos exposure assessments and abatement projects.

In January 2009, he obtained a Proficiency Certificate in Asbestos Fibre Counting (PCM) from the British Occupational Hygiene Society in the UK and has recently published an article on the “Implications of the Introduction of a Replacement Method for Asbestos Fibre Counting in South Africa”.

In Module 1, Understanding Asbestos, participants were introduced to the following issues:

  • Properties and hazards of asbestos
  • Identifying asbestos
  • The key requirements of the Asbestos Regulations of the OHS Act
  • Differences between sampling for hazard evaluation and for legal compliance
  • Latest international developments in asbestos assessment


Course Participants


Participants who successfully completed the course

The remaining 2 modules will take place over the next 6 months. However, the first module received such a resounding response that it might also need to be rerun later this year. Each workshop module is interactive and includes lectures, open discussions and practical exercises.

Module 2, Counting Fibres, deals with Setting up a phase contrast microscope (PCM); Clearing and mounting filters; Counting asbestos fibres using the PCM; Calculating asbestos exposures and Proficiency testing schemes and quality assurance programmes.

Module 3, Asbestos Abatement, will cover Evaluation of asbestos removal projects; Site inspection; Exposure assessments; and Preparing abatement management programmes.

The dates for these modules will be announced soon.