When owning and operating a contracting company, it is important to follow OSHA rules and regulations. Disregard for such standards will not only leave you liable to lawsuits, but open the doors for OSHA and give them the opportunity to fine your organization. One of the most common issues when doing renovations or home improvement projects is Asbestos. By controlling and moderating worksites that have asbestos, you eliminate the number of accidents and incidents. Take some time to learn and understand OSHA Asbestos standards and regulations, or you will be facing heavy fines and potentially lose your licenses to operate.
The first thing one must do as a contractor is conduct an asbestos survey. This can be done either by the property owner or a building inspector. A summary of these results must be communicated to your workers and posted on the job site. If in fact asbestos is found there are three things you can do.
As a contractor, your first option would be to walk away. If this isn’t an option, working around the asbestos may be possible. It is important not to disturb affected areas as the asbestos could get airborne.
The second option would be to reseal or encapsulate the infected area. As long as it is not disrupted you will not be penalized. Such an example would be using duct tape to reseal exposed asbestos on a heating pipe. Both penetrating encapsulants and bridging encapsulants can be used when resealing is not a viable solution. Encapsulants are like a coat of paint which cover affected areas to seal them off entirely. The risk with encapsulants is that water damage may undue the bond which is created over time.
The third, and highest risk option, would be to remove it. Friable asbestos must be removed by a certified asbestos abatement contractor. The only exception would be if the project occurred at a single family house and the owner was the one doing the work. Removal must be in compliance with the Regulation III, section 4.05 standards for removal and 4.07 standards for disposal. In addition, an asbestos/demolition notification and filing fee must be submitted before removal. Depending on the size, it could take up to 10 days. Non-friable asbestos must be removed and disposed in accordance to Regulation III section 4.05 but does not require any notifications. Be sure to properly dispose of all asbestos by taking it to an authorized disposal waste facility and complete a waste material shipment record for your own records.
Understanding the OSHA Asbestos Standards and regulations will not only help you adhere to the laws but it will also ensure that the environment is protected. Do the right thing, or you will be facing heavy fines and possibly lose your license as a contractor.