OSHA Construction Asbestos Awareness
Asbestos is a commonly used material in construction sites and in other manufactured products. While asbestos is permitted to be used at very low levels, extended exposure to asbestos can cause highly harmful health hazards which will deteriorate the quality of life, and reduce lifespan. Many people are still, however, unaware of the dangers caused; and the long-lasting impact on their health. One disease that extended exposure to asbestos causes is cancer. It is, therefore, critical that all workers and even individuals learn about asbestos safety.
To safeguard the health of people while at work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requiring employers to ensure a worker training program for all employees exposed to asbestos fiber levels (either measured or anticipated) at or above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) set by these agencies. The training focuses on details pertaining to types of asbestos, how exposure may occur, details the health hazards of asbestos, detecting and controlling hazards, regulatory requirements, preventing asbestos exposure, etc.
This article focuses on briefly explaining the three levels of training that can be provided to asbestos maintenance workers across industries.
Three Levels of Asbestos Training
LEVEL 1: AWARENESS TRAINING
This training is meant for workers involved in cleaning and simple maintenance tasks where asbestos-containing materials (ACM) may be accidentally disturbed. For example, fixing a light fixture in a ceiling covered with surfacing ACM. Such training may range from 2 to 8 hours.
LEVEL 2: SPECIAL OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE (O&M) TRAINING
This training is meant for maintenance workers involved in general maintenance and asbestos material repair tasks. For example, a repair or removal of a small section of damaged thermal system insulation (TSI). This training generally involves at least 16 hours of study time.
LEVEL 3: ABATEMENT WORKER TRAINING
This training is meant for workers who may conduct asbestos abatement operations. For example, conducting a removal job, constructing an enclosure, or encapsulating a surface containing ACM. These work operations involve direct, intentional contact with ACM. The recognized “abatement worker” training courses approved by EPA or states, under the EPA AHERA model, involve 24 to 32 hours of training.