4 Steps to a Facility Specific Asbestos O&M Program
I received a call from a new client the other day asking why he needed an asbestos operations and maintenance (O&M) program and if RGA could help develop a program for his office building in Seattle, WA. We’d be happy to, I assured him. RGA has developed and reviewed O&M plans for office buildings, retail centers, apartment complexes, and healthcare facilities. During the conversation I explained the main purpose of an O&M program is to minimize the potential for building occupants being exposed to asbestos fibers during small repair or maintenance activities and to ensure existing asbestos containing materials (ACM) are maintained in good condition. I outlined the four basic steps for developing an O&M Program that addresses training, work practices and routine surveillance to successfully manage ACM in place.
Designate an Asbestos Program Manager
This may be the building owner, facilities manager, safety and health director or other personnel. The Asbestos Program Manager (APM) will ensure that all workers are trained in O&M techniques. The APM also oversees all asbestos-related activities at the facility from routine maintenance, repair and installation projects that may or may not impact ACM to large renovation or abatement projects.
Survey the Facility
Contract a qualified AHERA Building Inspector to perform a comprehensive survey of the building. In addition to a visual inspection, the Building Inspector may also collect bulk samples of suspect materials to determine if asbestos is present; create an inventory of all building materials that were found to contain asbestos; and document the condition of any identified ACM.
Write the Plan
The written plan should include detailed procedures for training, safe work practices, the work control/permit system, monitoring and recordkeeping practices and a notification plan for building occupants. It is important to periodically review the written O&M plan to determine whether it should be updated
Perform Repair or Abatement Projects As Needed
Abatement or repair actions may be needed based on the condition of the ACM or planned renovations. Small repair projects can be handled by in-house engineers if properly trained. Larger projects should be conducted by licensed asbestos abatement contractor. RGA’s Industrial Hygienists can prepare abatement specifications and conduct contractor oversight to ensure all activities are conducted according to local, state and federal regulations.
Deborah Mullins, Operations Manager – Seattle, WA
Tags: abatement oversight, AHERA, asbestos, asbestos abatement, asbestos containing building materials, Asbestos Program Manager, asbestos survey, Hazardous Materials, Industrial Hygiene, O&M program, operations and maintenance plan, safe work practices, Training