Asbestos is the generic name for several types of minerals that occur naturally in the Earth's surface. Asbestos became popular in building materials during the late 1800s because of it's fire and chemical resistant properties. Asbestos was used in a wide array of items both in industrial settings as well as in the home. However, the health effects of asbestos exposure started to become realized during the middle 1900s and a ban on its use in most products was issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the late 1980s. Regulations were developed by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to limit asbestos exposures by identifying the presence and location of asbestos and developing asbestos abatement requirements.
If asbestos containing material is in good condition and not damaged or disturbed, working in an area that contains asbestos is just as safe as working in an area that is asbestos-free. RIT maintains its asbestos containing materials in good condition such that they do not pose a hazard to building occupants or the public. When asbestos materials can no longer be maintained in good condition, they are safely repaired or removed.
OSHA Asbestos Standard 29 CFR 1910.1001
There are several management requirements that apply to all work involving Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) or Presumed Asbestos Containing Material (PACM) prior to the commencement of any work. These requirements, including RIT internal practices, are listed below. In order to ensure compliance with these requirements, applicable RIT personnel must be trained on an annual basis.
It must be ensured that the RIT asbestos survey be reviewed for any work that will disturb building materials on campus. The RIT Asbestos Coordinator must be notified of all work involving ACM or PACM prior to the commencement of any work. During regular business hours, the RIT Asbestos Coordinator can be contacted directly at 475-7042 or 478-7646 (cell).
The RIT Asbestos Coordinator shall be responsible for:
- asbestos identification procedures,
- contractor selection,
- work practices,
- recordkeeping and compliance with applicable regulations, and
- providing oversight for all asbestos abatement projects.
RIT staff members, as well as contractors, are responsible for:
- Reporting of material suspected of containing asbestos that they encounter that may be deemed a health hazard or impedes their ability to complete assigned tasks.
- Contractors are to report such circumstances to the RIT Project Manager responsible for the project. Project Managers will work with the Asbestos Coordinator to ensure the asbestos is managed appropriately.
- RIT staff members are to report suspected asbestos to their supervisor. The supervisor shall immediately notify the RIT Asbestos Coordinator.
- Environmental Health & Safety shall be notified if anyone (student, staff, faculty, visitor, etc.) has had a potential exposure.
It is prohibited by federal and State requirements for any staff member or contractor (or their employees and subcontractors) to improperly disturb, remove, discard, or replace any material that is suspected of containing asbestos. Only NYS licensed asbestos handlers may work with asbestos. All contractors and subcontractors who perform asbestos operations on RIT premises must be pre-approved by RIT Purchasing and the Asbestos Coordinator.
Do not handle asbestos unless you are a licensed asbestos handler.
In the event suspected or known to contain ACM are disturbed, the employee must immediately notify his/her supervisor. The supervisor shall:
- During regular business hours, contact the RIT Asbestos Coordinator directly at 475-7042 or 478-7646.
- During evening or weekend hours, contact Public Safety at 475-3333.
In addition, the supervisor is to:
- Let the Asbestos Coordinator know where the ACM has been disturbed.
- If necessary, have the occupants leave the space and secure the area. Depending on the situation Public Safety should be called to help secure the area.
Action the Asbestos Coordinator is to take:
- Review the asbestos survey to determine if the material has been sampled.
- If the material has not been sampled, if necessary, coordinate sampling and analysis to confirm the content of the material.
- Inspect the asbestos disturbance area.
- Ensure the disturbance area remains secure until the sampling results have been reviewed.
- If the disturbed material is asbestos then arrange for abatement and air monitoring.
- Determine whether an exposure could have occurred, and if so contact the EH&S Department.
Action the EHS Department is to take if an exposure of asbestos to an employee could have occurred:
- Obtain the employees name, supervisor and department.
- Determine the amount of asbestos that was disturbed and the duration of time the employee was exposed to the asbestos.
- Contact human resources to report the incident.
- Work with human resources to determine whether medical follow-up is warranted.
In order to inspect work sites or take samples, a person must be a NYSDOL Certified Inspector and receive the required training. This applies to in-house and contract staff. Any person performing regulated asbestos work must be certified for that level of work. If any staff members will be performing minor asbestos abatement projects they must be Operations and Maintenance certified and receive the required training. Staff members performing O&M work must be supervised by a NYSDOL certified supervisor. Staff who may encounter asbestos during the course of their normal work routine (such as maintenance and housekeepers) must attend annual asbestos awareness training. This class is administered by the RIT EH&S Department and is also available online through the link below.
Those completing training will be entered into EH&S’s training record to document training compliance. If there are any questions regarding the training, please contact the Environmental Programs Manager at 475-7092.