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 fiber 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 its 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.
All maintenance, construction and remodeling projects are reviewed for hazardous materials. To deterimine if your project involves hazardous materials complete an HM-01 Form.
The EHS Department partners with other departments and units (Faciltiies Services, Housing, ITS) to identify potential asbestos hazards and ensure 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.
Employees should follow asbestos procedures during any construction, building maintenance, repair, or remodeling work.
If asbestos containing building materials are in good condition and are not disturbed they do not present a hazard.
When you come across any of the situations below, notify your supervisor and contact EHS.
- 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.
EHS 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.