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Newsletter – April 2023

1. Meeting at STEAM, Swindon, March 29th

Our first face-to-face meeting for over three years was held at the STEAM Museum in Swindon on the 29th of March. There were 30 attendees booked including the speakers although a line side fire at Maidenhead that stopped all trains out of Paddington prevented Kevin Bampton of BOHS from reaching us. We shall certainly invite Kevin to another meeting.

Liz Darlison MBE talked about the charity, Mesothelioma UK, and the work it has been doing. She covered the various conditions that asbestos can cause, which are by no means limited to the lungs. She emphasised that Mesothelioma, even once diagnosed, has a very high mortality rate. We urge members to visit their website: and to support this charity.

Jennifer Seavor works for a local solicitor where she has pursued a number of claims for compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. She told the audience about the industries in Swindon which were the main causes of the disease, which were not limited to the Railway Works where the meeting was being held.

Beth Baker, Group Conservation Manager for the Science Museum Group told us of the many items that they hold that have to be treated with extra care because they are suspected of containing asbestos and how the Museum goes about establishing the presence or otherwise of asbestos and the protection and processes they use to handle the objects. She emphasised that asbestos is not the only problem they have and gave a general overview of other occupational hazards present in the collection. They have oils and other volatile chemicals, lead, radium, uranium and biological materials such as moulds. Visit to view the collection of nearly 400,000 objects that they hold.

Tony Smith of Sundstrom Safety presented the sorts of respiratory protection preferred by those who remediated structures containing asbestos and the effectiveness of it. Tight-fitting half-masks seem to be preferred though there is a move to hoods with b PAPR Systems.

Sara Mason is a practitioner asbestos consultant where she has to investigate structures for the presence of asbestos. She had points to make about the types of RPE that they had to use and about the difficulties that could be encountered in terms of the sizing of RPE.

There was much robust and lively debate from the assembly. The venue was excellent and some of the attendees took the opportunity to visit the exhibition of engines and other railway paraphernalia in the Museum.

2. Meetingnear Coventry May18th

Our second face-to-face section workshop for 2023 has been confirmed for May 18th at the Coventry Building Society Arena (until recently this was called the RICOH Arena), which is about 5 miles north of the City of Coventry in the English Midlands.

This respiratory protection fit testing workshop, which is being jointly supported by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), will cover the latest developments in respiratory hazards, fit-testing guidance, standards and technology. The intended audience for this key note event is the fit testing community (and targeted healthcare fit testers), Health & Safety professionals, and agencies, RPE and fit test equipment manufacturers, suppliers and duty holders, and ‘RPE fit’ researchers, amongst others. We attach a flyer for this meeting.

Note that BSIF is handling the booking for this meeting, not ISRP. The cost will be £30 +VAT and, as BSIF do not have members, there is no need to prove membership of ISRP. Further details on registration will be provided to the membership when available.

3. Membership for 2023

The section website is now open to receive membership payments. It was down for a couple of weeks while a problem with the payment service provider, Stripe, was resolved. Fees are unchanged from 2022 at £75 for individuals. If you benefited from free membership as part of the fees for the 2022 virtual conference we hope you will join us for 2023. The International Society for Respiratory Protection is the key source of impartial information on respiratory protection worldwide.


Professor Dave Crouch at
Chair ISRP European Section

Mike Williams at
Secretary ISRP European Section

April 10th 2023

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