Asbestos is a prevalent environmental hazard in commercial structures, particularly those constructed prior to 1980. Asbestos fibres
become airborne and pose a substantial health danger to building occupants, causing severe lung sickness and even the lethal
malignancy of mesothelioma if inhaled.
If you lease, maintain, or own a commercial building, it is critical to understand whether and where asbestos is present, as well as how to
prevent asbestos contamination from entering the building environment.
Asbestos in Commercial Buildings: Responsibilities and Regulations
If you believe your building may contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), it is critical to be aware of the building laws governing
their safe management and to understand who is accountable for adhering to those regulations.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes restrictions in the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants
(NESHAP) to safeguard the general public against asbestos exposure. NESHAP establishes criteria for the safe removal and containment
of asbestos during building restorations and demolitions, as well as communication procedures, outlining how to notify state agencies
whenever such work is performed.
OSHA improves on NESHAP to safeguard workers and contractors against asbestos exposure. According to OSHA, asbestos is
presumed to be present in certain common construction materials in structures constructed before 1980 unless proven differently through
a certified inspection. This is critical for building maintenance, as even small repairs can expose inhabitants to airborne asbestos if
sufficient precautions are not implemented.
It’s also critical to understand who is accountable for adhering to NESHAP and OSHA requirements. Property owners are responsible for
the safety of their tenants, and asbestos exposure should be a top priority on their list of dangers to prevent. Leases and maintenance
contracts, on the other hand, may redistribute duties.
With asbestos being so prevalent, building occupants require quick and efficient methods for detecting and removing the deadly chemical
to protect their safety. Ascertain who is accountable for preventing asbestos from entering the work environment in order to safeguard
yourself and others.
Removal and Containment of Asbestos
While asbestos should never be used in a structure, the good news is that not all ACMs pose an immediate danger to the building’s
occupants. Certain ACMs, such as floor tiles, keep asbestos completely contained within a binder, preventing it from entering the
environment as long as the tiles remain unbroken and in excellent shape.
When asbestos fibres are friable, or easily disturbed and released into the air, danger exists. When otherwise innocuous ACMs such as
tiles are worn or damaged, asbestos fibres become exposed and are readily brushed against and liberated. Even worse, some ACMs,
such as spray insulation or acoustic ceiling finishes, never completely contain asbestos and are so friable that they contaminate the air
simply by degrading with age.
When friable asbestos is discovered in a structure, it must be treated either by capturing the hazardous components to prevent the
asbestos from spreading or by completely removing the threat. In either instance, trained asbestos abatement professionals must perform
this work in accordance with NESHAP criteria in order to meet specific building requirements for environmental safety.
Additionally, the EPA distributes tools on how to design an operations and maintenance programme for asbestos exposure control in your
Typical Locations of Asbestos in Commercial Buildings
Asbestos is present in nearly every element of a commercial building. Typical sites include the following:
Asbestos is frequently utilised as an integral part of boilers, in gaskets, sealants, and particularly block insulation surrounding the boiler
and pipes. When these materials are regularly exposed to high heat, the asbestos-containing binder materials rapidly disintegrate, posing
a severe exposure hazard.
Loose-fill insulation sprayed into walls or above ceilings is particularly harmful. The majority of insulation, including pipe wrap and acoustic
tile ceilings, used to include asbestos.
Fireproofing: Spray-on fireproofing, firebricks, and asbestos-containing ceramics are all extremely widespread.
Asbestos was extensively used in ceramic and vinyl floors, as well as in flooring adhesives.
Due to asbestos’s strength and resistance to fire, it was a popular wall material, added to sheetrock, joint compound, plasters, and paints.
Asbestos ribbon was frequently used to wrap electrical cabling and utility boxes. Asbestos paper is also prevalent in the vicinity of vintage
breakers and fuse boxes.
Asbestos-containing ceramic pipes are frequently used in the construction of water mains and drainpipes.
Asbestos was even employed on the exteriors of buildings, mixed into cement sidings and roof tiles.
Steps for Asbestos Control in Your Building
If asbestos is discovered in your structure, take the necessary precautions to reduce danger, disseminate information, and confine
Begin by discovering who is accountable for the building’s asbestos management.
Engage a qualified asbestos abatement company to assess your property and determine the location of all asbestos.
Ascertain that all ACMs are safely confined or eliminated.
Notify building occupants of the presence of asbestos and any associated health hazards.
Maintaining ACMs in good condition, encapsulating them, or having them removed by a professional abatement agency are all options.
Asbestos is a serious health hazard, particularly in older commercial structures. Since 1984, Asbestos Removal 247 has helped keep
people safe by removing asbestos from residential and commercial properties.
Contact us immediately if you suspect your building may contain asbestos or if you have questions about action plans and responsibilities.
Maintain the safety of the occupants of your buildings and the control of asbestos.