The Need for an Effective Asbestos-Control Program in the Workplace

Asbestos control programs aim to prevent or minimize the release of asbestos fibers in the workplace.

It is imperative to implement an efficient and sustained control program to prevent asbestos contamination in the workplace. The United States Department of Labor as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the leading federal agency tasked to enforce health and safety laws, have been very strict about this matter. Business organizations are mandated to cooperate with the OSHA for the welfare and interests of their workers.

Control Program Implementation

The objective of an asbestos control program is to stop or lessen the discharge of flying asbestos fibers. Employers should see to it that their respective plans are formulated and put into operation based on requirements of local government regulators.

A control program needs to contain the following provisions:

  • Control of all asbestos operations.
  • Come up with work and sanitation procedures along with engineering regulations to limit exposure of workers to asbestos.
  • Provide all workers with protective gear and clothing.
  • Orient workers about the dangers of asbestos exposure and necessary checks.
  • Techniques for monitoring of asbestos concentration and decontamination.
  • Removal and appropriate clean-up of waste materials produced from asbestos.

At the same time, owners and administrators of public and commercial structures are required to maintain an inventory of materials with asbestos content. All tenants, workers, contractors and regulatory agencies must be notified about this. Some state governments even require training of workers as part of a company’s asbestos control program. These are conducted by certified asbestos removal experts.

The Need for an Effective Asbestos-Control Program in the Workplace

Reminders about Asbestos Exposure

A no-nonsense asbestos control program should inform workers that asbestos fibers are released because of these factors:

  • Removal/movement of insulation materials including those fitted on water tanks and hot water pipes; roof coverings; and, sidings.
  • Sanding, scraping or cracking of floor tiles made of vinyl asbestos and plaster.
  • Sawing, smoothing or boring of rough surfaces.
  • Sanding or scratching of old surface treatment like roof chemical compounds, sealant substances, paint, drywall partition, and waterproof fillers.
  • Replacement of car components which include transmission clutches and brake systems. Ask the car parts supplier if replacement items have asbestos content.

Keep in mind that any damages to materials that contain asbestos in your place of work must be reported immediately to the supervisor or designated safety officer. In any control program, all workers should be given the proper education and training on these subjects:

  • Risks of exposure.
  • Identification of materials with traces of asbestos.
  • Specific work standards and procedures related to personal sanitation.
  • Use, cleaning and proper disposal of protective clothes and equipment.
  • Importance of health monitoring.

Reminders for Workers

Workers must be prohibited from smoking in places where there is probability of exposure to asbestos. Employers have to provide their employees with a clean lunch area with filtered supply of air. All workers are advised to wash their hands thoroughly before eating and drinking. Personnel must discard their protective apparel prior to entering said facilities.

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