Asbestos Management Plans are necessary when using asbestos-containing material in the workplace. The main goal is to reduce the asbestos fibre release into the air.
Every employer in a workplace must ensure that asbestos management plans are implemented in the organization as per the local government policies.
In general, the control strategies of Workplaces include:
- Reduce the asbestos fibres release that is airborne.
- Asbestos operations containment
- Make sure that there is high hygiene practises in place, to control the exposure of an employee to asbestos.
- It is providing employees with work instructions that include necessary controls and hazards.
- Methods to monitor the concentration of asbestos level and also the exposure of employees to it.
- Clean up of asbestos waste and other related materials.
Where Can One Find Asbestos in the Workplace?
If anyone is working or maintaining the buildings that are constructed before the 90s, there are many areas one can find asbestos. Commercial building owners should keep a note of the asbestos-containing materials and inform their work staff regarding it.
If the employers are unsure where the asbestos is present in the workplace, they must check with the asbestos removal specialist. Before working with asbestos, one needs to have specific training.
Asbestos Management Plans needs to be implemented in a strategical manner, especially when renovation activities are going on. Even small asbestos fibres can be released into the air, if not taken proper care.
Some of the common materials that contain asbestos in the workplace are:
- Insulation around water tanks and pipes
- Vinyl Asbestos Floor tiles
- Ceiling tiles
- Rough edges of any materials in the workspace
While performing any renovation activity, if any damage is caused to the asbestos materials, it must be immediately reported to the health and safety authority.
Also, it is suggested to hire an asbestos removal specialist to dispose of the asbestos material in the workplace, before starting any other renovation activity.
What should be involved in Training the Workers?
If you have any worker who needs to work with the asbestos, then he or she must be trained on:
- Hazards of Asbestos exposure
- Identifying whether the material contains the asbestos or not
- Operation of Engineering controls
- Disposal Procedure for contaminated Asbestos materials
- Importance of Health monitoring from time to time
Things That Needs to Be Done Before Working with Asbestos Materials
After providing necessary training to the employees about asbestos, they must follow these precautions before working with the Asbestos materials:
- Mark the work area with fences or barricades.
- The work area is cleared of unnecessary materials or objects apart from what is needed to work.
- Ensure that all the openings in the building are adequately sealed to control or prevent the asbestos release into other work areas.
- Post signs to indicate that asbestos-related work is in progress, so that common public does not enter that area. These precaution signs must be located at the entrance of the building, and they must be maintained until the work in that area is completed.
- Only authorized persons need to access the work area.
Good Practises When Working With Asbestos
These are some of the good practises when working in the areas where asbestos materials are present:
- Workers should not consume any food in asbestos-containing areas.
- Barriers and Drop sheets in the areas of asbestos should be cleaned with HEPA vacuum or a wet cloth.
- These cloths should not be re-used
- Barriers as well should not be re-used unless they can be cleaned properly
- To remove the dust or clean the surface, compressed air should not be used
- Before or after completion of the work, the work area must be cleaned at frequent intervals
- Dust and waste material must be cleaned at regular intervals with the help of HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, damp or wet mopping. All this waste must be dumped into a container that is:
- Suitable for Asbestos waste
- Labelled as asbestos waste and the contents in it should not be inhaled
- Removed from the work area at frequent intervals
- If the protective clothing needs to be re-used by the workers, it should be cleaned with HEPA filter vacuum cleaner or damp wiping before removing it. If the clothing is not used for the next day, it can be placed in the container as mentioned above.
Above all, controlling the spread of asbestos materials into other work areas is very important as the people outside this work area do not have any precautionary measures.
Also, high-risk workers must have a separate ventilation system which is maintained under negative pressure.
These are some of the common precautions every worker should take care of while working in an asbestos-containing work area.