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How to Manage Asbestos in your Business

As a business owner, the safety and well-being of your employees, clients, and visitors are paramount. One of the lesser-discussed but critically important aspects of building safety is the management of asbestos. Asbestos, once hailed for its heat resistance and insulation properties, has been linked to serious health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. If your building was constructed before the 1980s, there's a chance it may contain asbestos. Here's a guide to help you navigate the complexities of managing asbestos in your building.


1. Understand the Risks

Before diving into the management aspect, it's essential to understand the risks associated with asbestos. Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can become lodged in the lungs, leading to long-term health complications. The danger arises when asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are disturbed, releasing these fibers into the air.


2. Conduct an Asbestos Survey

If you suspect your building might contain asbestos or if you're unsure, the first step is to conduct an asbestos survey. This involves hiring a licensed asbestos inspector to assess your property and identify any ACMs. The survey will determine the location, amount, and condition of the asbestos.


3. Develop an Asbestos Management Plan

Once you have the survey results, it's time to develop an asbestos management plan. This plan should outline:

  • The location of ACMs in your building.

  • The condition of these materials.

  • Measures to prevent disturbance.

  • A schedule for regular inspections and monitoring.


4. Consider Asbestos Abatement

Depending on the condition of the ACMs, you might need to consider asbestos abatement. There are two main types:

  • Encapsulation: This involves sealing the asbestos-containing material to prevent the release of fibers. It's a less invasive method and can be suitable if the ACM is in good condition.

  • Removal: This is a more comprehensive solution and involves completely removing the ACM from the building. It's typically recommended if the asbestos is in poor condition or if major renovations are planned.


5. Train Your Staff

It's crucial that your staff understands the risks associated with asbestos and knows how to avoid disturbing ACMs. Consider organizing regular training sessions to keep everyone informed.


6. Regular Monitoring and Re-assessment

Asbestos management is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor the condition of ACMs in your building and reassess your management plan as needed. This ensures that any changes in the condition of the asbestos are addressed promptly.


Conclusion

Managing asbestos in buildings is a responsibility that business owners must take seriously. With the right approach, you can ensure the safety of everyone who steps foot in your building while also protecting yourself from potential legal liabilities. Remember, when in doubt, always consult with professionals who specialize in asbestos management. Your business's reputation and the health of your community are worth the investment.




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