Safe Work Practices
An operations and maintenance (O&M) program should focus on a special set of work practices for custodial, maintenance, and construction staff. This page describes the types of safe work practices and when they should be applied. Many of these activities are also covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for asbestos at 29 CFR 1910.1001and 1926.1101.
- When to Apply Special O&M Work Practices – Implementation of key work practices should be based on the likelihood of disturbing asbestos-containing materials (ACM) and releasing fibers.
- Basic O&M Procedures — Basic procedures are used to perform routine custodial and maintenance tasks that may involve ACM.
- Worker Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — Proper PPE helps ensure custodial and maintenance staff are adequately protected from asbestos exposure.
- Special O&M Cleaning Techniques — Special techniques to clean up asbestos fibers on a routine basis.
- Procedures for Asbestos Fiber Release Episodes — If moderate to relatively large amounts of ACM are disturbed, the building owner should use these procedures to address the hazard.
When to Apply Special O&M Work Practices
The nature and extent of any special work practices for custodial, maintenance, and construction staff should reflect the likelihood that the asbestos-containing materials (ACM) will be disturbed and that fibers will be released. Maintenance activities can be divided into three categories with regard to their potential for disturbing ACM.
- Those which are unlikely to involve any direct disturbance of ACM; for example, cleaning shelves or counter tops with a damp cloth.
- Those which may cause accidental disturbance of ACM; for example, working on a fixture near a ceiling with surfacing ACM.
- Those which involve intentional small-scale manipulation or disturbance of ACM; for example, removing a small segment of thermal system insulation (TSI) ACM to repair a pipe leak.
Note that activities beyond maintenance activities (or small-scale short duration activities) should be performed only by specially trained and accredited asbestos professionals.
|Summary of When to Apply Key O&M Work Practices|
Likelihood of ACM Disturbance
|Contact Unlikely||Accidental Disturbance Possible||Disturbance Intended of Likely|
|Need Pre-Work Approval from APM||Review by Program Manager||Yes||Yes|
|Special Scheduling or|
|Supervision Needed||No||Initial, at least||Yes|
|None||As Needed*||Shut Down*|
|Area Containment||None||Drop Cloths, Mini-enclosures||Yes**|
|Respiratory Protection||Available for Use||Yes||Yes|
|Protective Clothing||None||Review by APM||Yes|
|Use of Wet Methods||No||As Needed||Yes|
|Use of HEPA Vacuum||Available for Use||Available for Use||As Needed|
* In the area where work takes place
** Type of containment may vary (e.g., small-scale, short-duration tasks may not require full containment)