Home | PPE | What is the difference between a mobile and modular decontamination unit?
Beacon UK mobile decontamination unit

What is the difference between a mobile and modular decontamination unit?

The difference between mobile decontamination units and modular decontamination units is mobile units are facilities in a caravan style that can be towed. In contrast, modular decontamination showers are flat-packed for quick erection. Modular units can also come in different configurations, such as straight and L-Shape. Mobile units can also be slightly larger, allowing for more comfortable and thorough decontamination. One of the other key differences between the two units is that mobile units are for external use, and modular units are used internally.

Do both types of decontamination units have the same facilities?

Yes, both mobile and modular decontamination units contain a clean end, showers and a dirty end. However, some larger mobile units contain welfare facilities and have a kitchen and toilet area that a modular won’t.

What are the different stages in mobile and modular decontamination units?

There are 3 stages in both a mobile and modular decontamination unit, this includes a clean end, dirty end and shower. Each of these stages plays a part in the decontamination process:

  • The clean end allows workers to prepare themselves to work and keep their personal belongings separate so they are not at risk of contamination. Also, allow them to change back into fresh clothes after they have decontaminated at the end of the day.
  • The dirty end is for the removal and disposal of initial PPE before going into the shower. Contaminated PPE and equipment should be bagged and sealed and should never be taken into either of the other two areas.
  • Showers are to wet and clean off any other remaining fibres on the workers and their RPE before going into the clean end, where they can remove respirators and put on clean clothes.

What sizes do the decontamination units come in?

Mobile and modular decontamination units come in a range of sizes depending on the project and the number of workers that will be on-site, generally accommodating between 2 – 8 people. Modular units, however, come in more specific fixed sizes, i.e. 1 x 1 x 2 metres, unless a bespoke solution is ordered for a project. The size of the job usually dictates the size of the unit, the number of workers and the space available on-site.

Why are decontamination units required?

Decontamination units are required to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres outside of any enclosures and prevent secondary exposure to workers and anyone who comes into contact with them, like their families.

When should you use a mobile decontamination unit or modular decontamination unit?

The HSE Asbestos: The licensed guide to contractors (page 164) states that mobile units should be the preferred option to modular unless the asbestos can’t be safely removed, transited and stored before disposal. 

Is there a difference in price between mobile and modular decon units?

Yes, there is a difference in price. However, there are also soft costs that come with modular units, in the building, cleaning and breaking down when finished. It is also stated above the HSE says that mobile should be the preferred solution unless there are limitations on-site.

The core difference between the two units is the makeup and location on a project. They both offer the same facilities to carry out asbestos removal projects. In the end, it comes down to which solution is best suited for the project and if there are restrictions on-site.

Beacon stocks a wide range of mobile and modular decontamination units available for quick delivery. We also offer a hire option to account customers. To apply for a trade account, click here. If you have more bespoke requirements for your project, please get in touch with one of the team who can help you further.