Asbestos-Containing Materials Management
The University of Idaho has a management program in place to ensure that staff, faculty, students and the general public are not exposed to airborne asbestos fibers. The Industrial Hygiene Specialist at the Environmental Health and Safety Office and the Asbestos Abatement Shop at Facilities Management work together to identify potential asbestos hazards and ensure that they do not become an exposure hazard. These hazards can include products used in flooring, roofing, acoustic ceilings, thermal insulation on pipes, fire proofing on building structural members, table tops in labs, fume hoods, flooring mastics, electrical wire insulation and various appliances just to name a few.
When it becomes necessary to remove asbestos, every precaution is taken to prevent asbestos contamination occurring outside of the work area. In all areas of asbestos abatement the federal regulations are met and usually far exceeded to promote the cleanest air standards possible at the University of Idaho in regards to asbestos. Abatement is done inside enclosures to prevent the fibers from spreading. Air handling units serving the affected area are turned off until the work is completed to keep the fibers from spreading to other areas. Certified abatement workers wear respirators and disposable coveralls to protect themselves while working. To prevent any attached fibers from getting into the surrounding air, the coveralls are disposed of when the worker exits the enclosure.
When a job has been completed, clearance samples of the surrounding air are analyzed for the presence of asbestos. Based upon the results, the area is either cleared or re-cleaned and re-sampled. If the area is declared "clear," it is opened to normal occupancy and all warning signs are removed.