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Asbestos

Banner with microscopic view of Asbestos fibers with a scale in the corner comparing the fibers to 50 microns or micrometers.

Asbestos is a term used to refer to six naturally occurring mineral fibers found in rocks and soils. All are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each fibre being composed of many microscopic 'fibrils' that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes. Asbestos was widely used in construction prior to 1980.  Over 60% of campus buildings were constructed before 1980 and likely have asbestos containing materials.  

Asbestos is at it's most concerning stage when it is Friable, meaning that it can be easily crumbled between fingers.

EHS oversees the identification, management of asbestos data, and the safe and compliant disturbance and removal of asbestos containing materials on campus. 

Asbestos Awareness Training and information on the ISU Asbestos Management Program is available by contacting the Asbestos/Industrial Hygiene Specialist.

OSHA asbestos fact sheet

OSHA General Industry Asbestos Standard 29 CFR 1910.1001

OSHA Construction Industry Asbestos Standard 29 CFR 1926.1101

 

The Idaho State University EHS Department, Facilities Services, University Housing and other University facility management entities are responsible for identifying potential asbestos hazards and ensuring ISU employees, students and the public are not exposed to airborne asbestos fibers.

When an asbestos-containing building material is or will be disturbed, such as during maintenance, remodeling or accidental damage, and the area will be isolated, posted, and qualified contractors or staff will complete the work. 

Facility workers are trained, per regulatory requirements, to handle maintenance work that might disturb asbestos. A smaller number of facility workers are trained to remove asbestos containing building materials.

EHS performs periodic air monitoring in building(s), which contain certain friable asbestos-containing building materials. Our goal is to not only meet, but exceed, federal regulations to promote the cleanest air standards possible at the University of Idaho in regards to asbestos.

Additional Information and Asbestos Awareness Training is available upon request by contacting the Asbestos/Industrial Hygiene Specialist.

Follow University procedures for any building maintenance, repair and remodeling work.

If asbestos containing building materials are in good condition and not disturbed, they do not present a hazard.

When you come across any of the situations below, notify your supervisor, and contact the EHS Department or Facilities Services Front Desk of the situation and it’s location.

  • Damaged floor tiles,
  • Damaged ceiling panels,
  • Damaged thermal insulation on pipes,
  • Damaged fireproofing on building structural members, or
  • Other damaged materials that may potentially contain asbestos.

The EHS asbestos/industrial Hygiene Specialist will determine if asbestos is present and coordinate the appropriate response.

If abatement work is taking place, DO NOT enter the restricted work area. Unauthorized entry can expose you and others to asbestos fibers that can be tracked out of the containment zone. Certified abatement workers wear respirators and disposable coveralls to protect themselves while working. To prevent asbestos fibers from escaping the containment, HEPA-filtered exhaust systems are used and asbestos workers decontaminate themselves prior to exiting the enclosure.

Additional Information and Asbestos Awareness Training is available upon request by contacting the Asbestos/Industrial Hygiene Specialist. 

OSHA asbestos fact sheet

OSHA General Industry Asbestos Standard 29 CFR 1910.1001

OSHA Construction Industry Asbestos Standard 29 CFR 1926.1101

EPA Asbestos Information