If you have asbestos in your facility, an asbestos management plan helps you ensure that the asbestos is not a threat to the people who use your facility. Ideally, everyone should be on board with your plan and understand their responsibilities under it. Even your cleaning crew should be aware of your asbestos management plan. Here are some tips to guide and protect your cleaning crew.
1. Label asbestos risks clearly.
If you have any building materials that contain asbestos in areas that are not frequently accessed by staff of visitors, your cleaning crew may access those areas. For example, imagine you have exposed asbestos insulation in a boiler room that your staff cleans occasionally. Those materials should be labeled, and if you have any safety instructions, they should be clearly posted as well.
2. Review risks of asbestos and identify potential risk areas.
In addition to boiler rooms, crawl spaces and other areas that are not accessed frequently, other areas of your facility may have asbestos, and the management techniques vary based on the type and location of the asbestos.
For example, if you have old asbestos flooring, it will not release asbestos into the air if it is covered by new flooring. Similarly, if you have asbestos in the walls, it is contained as long as there are no holes in the walls. Your cleaning crew should be advised about these areas and their risks, and while cleaning, they should keep an eye out to make sure these areas have not become dangerous.
3. Establish a clear chain of communication.
If your cleaning crew notices an issue, they should know exactly to whom they must report the information. For example, imagine that someone who wasn't aware of the asbestos management plan tried to hang up a picture on a wall filled with asbestos insulation, and your cleaner notices the hole. The cleaner should immediately stop what they are doing, and notify the appropriate person so that you can take action.
Similarly, if they notice that new flooring over old asbestos flooring is peeling, they also should notify the right person.
4. Do not clean the area.
If your cleaner find an area with asbestos in it, they should not try to clean up the mess. For example, if there is dust or asbestos fibres coming out of a hole in the wall, the cleaner should leave it. The person they notified, however, should dispatch a professional asbestos mitigator to the area.
5. Work with a professional asbestos management team.
If your facility has asbestos, you need to ensure it is managed correctly. Whether you are creating procedures for your cleaning crew or anyone else to follow, contact someone who makes asbestos management plans. That ensures you are compliant with local laws and safety expectations.