Asbestos has become a hot topic in recent years due to the health risks associated with exposure. As such, asbestos management should be a top priority to every facility manager, and should be addressed in any facility that may pose a risk due to construction with asbestos-containing materials.
According to the Today’s Facility Manager article, “Should Facility Managers Be Concerned About Asbestos?”, if a structure was built prior to 1980, there is strong chance that it contains asbestos-containing materials. Knowing this information and preparing those who are exposed is critical.
While asbestos materials in good condition do not pose health risks to employees, it is important to understand that through repairs or installation of new materials, it can be disturbed and, in turn, could pose a health risk to those exposed. It is important that facility managers make certain that there is no risk of exposure due to the health risks involved.
Any damage or deterioration to asbestos-containing material presents an opportunity for it to become airborne. When this occurs, fibers can be inhaled, and once in the body, they can become lodged into the lining of the lungs. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to several medical conditions, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
With the high health risks involved with exposure to this material, facility managers dealing with a structure that has asbestos present should design an asbestos management plan. In addition, all employees should be notified of any asbestos-containing materials they may be exposed to and should be aware of the management plan. That plan should accomplish the following:
- Educate employees on how to avoid exposure
- Provide basic training for handling the material
- Describe activities that could disturb the asbestos
- Documentation of when materials are inspected and notes of any changes in condition
After an initial assessment of the site to determine the condition of the material present, defining policies and procedures to avoid exposure is essential to protect employees who are working in an environment in which they could be exposed.
To learn more about the importance of facility managers addressing asbestos in their structures, visit http://www.todaysfacilitymanager.com/2013/04/web-exclusive-should-facility-managers-be-concerned-about-asbestos.
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