Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Legislative Update

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Legislative Update

Article excerpt

The OSHA asbestos standard, which will go into effect on October 1, 1995, requires employers, including building owners. to take steps to provide workers a safe and healthful working environment. These include exposure assessment, employee notification, labelling and posting of signs, establishing regulated areas, training and supervising employees, providing protective clothing and equipment, recordkeeping, and medical surveillance of exposed workers. In addition, the standards specifically require building owners to identify asbestos-containing materials in their buildings, maintain records regarding the materials, post signs identifying areas of asbestos hazard, and notify tenants, contractors, and other employers whose workers may be occupationally exposed to asbestos or the presence of asbestos hazards. While much of the standard applies primarily to buildings constructed before 1981, any building containing asbestos is covered.

This article on one aspect of the rules is excerpted from the new IREM Hot Topic, Managing Asbestos: OSHA Compliance and More by Daniel Swartzman and Neil Silins. To order the monograph, which covers the entire standards in detail, call (312) 661-1953.

Defining Protective Controls

The new OSHA asbestos standards are intended to reduce risk by requiring certain additional work practices based on the exposure potential of the activity. Under the construction standard, four classes of increasingly hazardous types of construction activity are matched with increasingly stringent control requirements. Activities presenting the greatest risk are designated Class I work, with the risk potential decreasing for each successive class. Each class includes work with similar exposures and risks.

Property managers will most frequently be affected by Class III and Class IV asbestos work, which includes both in-house workers and vendors doing maintenance and cleaning. Note that Class I and II activities are defined by the term "removal of." If the main purpose is removal, the work is considered Class I or II. If the main purpose is repair, it is usually Class III. A further stipulation for Class III work is that the amount of ACM disturbed in a repair job may not exceed what can fit into a standard glove bag or waste bag no larger than 60 by 60 inches. If the amount of ACM debris is greater, the job is considered "removal" and would fall under Class I or II. OSHA advises that if it is not clear to which class the work belongs, the employer should assume that the higher, more restrictive category applies. …

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