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Asbestos in Soils Scheme (AISS)

AISS logo - new

AISS R17 Samples will be Despatched

w/c 17th September 2018

Results Deadline is

Friday 26th October 2018

Proficiency Testing Scheme overview

The purpose of the Asbestos in Soils Scheme (AISS) is to assess the proficiency of laboratories undertaking qualitative and quantitative analysis of asbestos in soils (contaminated land). The scheme is operated by HSL and is open to in UK & Non-UK based soils laboratories. There are two options available as follows:

  • AISS Qualitative - identification of asbestos types present
  • AISS Quantitative - identification and quantification of asbestos types present

Analytes in the scheme

All samples used in the scheme will be prepared at HSL to ensure homogeneity. Samples may contain asbestos present in fragments of commercial asbestos containing materials (ACM's) or loose unbound fibres. Some samples may contain no asbestos and/or a range of other non-asbestos fibres.

Who should participate?

There are a number of industry initiatives in this area and a number of new guidance documents are under development from a range of regulators and industry associations. This scheme is aimed solely at analytical laboratories involved in the identification and quantification of asbestos in contaminated land samples. In the UK all laboratories undertaking the identification of asbestos in soil and similar matrices must be accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO 17025. The arrangements in other countries may be different. Any laboratory that is accredited to the ISO 17025 standard for this type of analysis is likely to be required to participate in an appropriate PT Scheme by their national accreditation body.

What are the recommended methods?

There are no specific recommended methods for the analysis of asbestos in soil. However, identification of asbestos should be based on the PLM method described in Appendix 2 of HSG 248; Asbestos; The analysts' guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures. The method used for the quantification of asbestos should be able to assess asbestos contained within ACM's and loose unbound fibres. It should also be able to differentiate between asbestos and non-asbestos fibres. The AISS handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the operation of the scheme and can be found under 'Useful Links'.

Operation of the scheme

There are three sample distributions or rounds per year, please refer to the table below for details. Each Round will comprise two samples representing a range of asbestos types and concentrations. The samples are intended to be analysed once only and may be retained by the laboratory after the analysis has been completed. Participants will normally have approximately 20 working days to analyse the samples and report the results. Upon submission of results participants receive a brief Round Report and a Group Summary Report. Initially participating laboratories will be given feedback on their performance but will not be formally scored. Performance criteria and a final classification will be produced as the scheme develops.


Address & Phone Number

The Proficiency Testing Team
Health and Safety Laboratory
Harpur Hill
SK17 9JN

Tel: +44 (0) 203 028 3382

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