Asbestos Removal Awareness for Office Personnel
by Beth Lytle
It's important for office personnel to be aware of asbestos or the possibility of asbestos in the building. Many companies not only offer asbestos training, but what is commonly referred to as asbestos awareness training for their employees. If your company does not offer this type of training, this article may be helpful for you.
According to the CWA website, asbestos is actually a cluster of fibers and minerals. It is a popular additive to construction materials because it is flame-retardant and can act as a sound barrier. It is also flexible and known for its strength. Asbestos is commonly found in building products, such as insulation and textiles, taping compounds, floor and ceiling tiles and in paints and sealants. The OSHA website shows statistics that an estimated 500,000 or more employees work with asbestos products throughout the United States.
Understanding When Asbestos is Dangerous
Asbestos is only dangerous when the product is disturbed in such a way that the fibers and chemicals are released into the air and are breathed into the lungs. That means that construction workers that are removing insulation or other asbestos materials should use extreme caution and follow OSHA guidelines and safety. It's not just the construction workers who need to be worried, however. Other individuals who are working in an office environment where there is construction or remodeling going on may need to use extreme caution in the workplace as well.
If you are working in an office environment where there is construction going on, make sure you ask your supervisor about asbestos. If your supervisor is unsure, you may want to talk to the construction superintendent about safety guidelines. The construction workers should be following OSHA regulations and guidelines when it comes to the demo work, but if you are concerned about the hazards that may be released into the air, call OSHA to come out and check out your work environment. Don't worry about getting the construction workers in trouble; if they're doing what they're supposed to be doing and following OSHA guidelines, there won't be a problem.
Pre-1970s and Windows
It's important to know when the building you're working in was built. If it was built before 1970, it may have a lot of asbestos in it, especially in the fire proofing. Use caution if construction workers are pulling out windows or dealing with a firewall. If you're unsure of the age of the building, but this type of work is going on, you may want to ask. Chances are the people doing the construction work on your building will be familiar with the age of the building they're working in and will be able to tell you if it's safe to be around when they are doing certain things.