Asbestos is the common name for a mineral fiber that was added to building materials prior to the 1980’s. Damaged materials may release fibers into the air and inhaling elevated fiber concentrations increases risk of several serious chronic illnesses. Regulatory agencies have strict laws on asbestos that apply to private and public buildings to prevent hazardous exposures to workers and the public.
These procedures apply to employees and contracted work involving the identification, work on, removal, or repair of asbestos-containing materials. Materials not tested for the presence of asbestos must be presumed to contain asbestos (excluding glass, metal, plastic, and wood).
University of Iowa Operations Manual, Part III Human Resources, Division II Standards and Ethics, Chapter 16.4.d Policy on Ethics and Responsibilities for University of Iowa Staff.
Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 29 CFR 1910.1001 and 1926.1101 administered by Iowa Department of Labor.
Environmental Protection Agency NESHAPS regulations administered by Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Asbestos – A common term for a naturally occurring fiber often added to building materials prior to the 1908’s for the purpose of strength and resistance to heat or corrosion. By regulatory definition, asbestos-containing materials have equal to or greater than 1% of asbestos fibers in the material matrix.
Asbestos Fiber Release Episode – Unplanned disturbance or accidental damage of asbestos containing materials that may release asbestos fibers into the air.
Friable asbestos – Dry asbestos containing material that can be crumbled, crushed, or pulverized to powder by hand pressure. Examples are pipe insulation and sprayed on materials.
Non-friable asbestos – Dry asbestos containing material that can not be crumbled, crushed, or pulverized to powder by hand pressure. Examples are floor tile and cement-like materials.
Deans, Directors and Department Heads are responsible to:
Provide oversight of department activities to ensure compliance with procedures applicable to activities by employees or contractors they hire.
Supervisors are responsible to:
Implement awareness information and training for University employees whose activities contact asbestos-containing materials such as in housekeeping and maintenance operations.
Employees are responsible to:
Comply with these procedures and any further requirements set by the supervisor.
Environmental Services is responsible to:
Provide administrative oversight of departments involved in asbestos-related activities or work; perform centralized University reporting to regulatory agencies; and provide remediation and repair services within their service capabilities.
EHS is responsible to:
Conduct administrative reviews of departments with asbestos awareness level requirements.
See Appendix A for University employees who contact but do not disturb asbestos materials during housekeeping and maintenance activities.
See Appendix B for an unplanned disturbance of asbestos containing materials.
Contact Environmental Services for the identification or remediation of asbestos materials.
Appendix A: Procedures for Class IV Housekeeping and Maintenance
These procedures (Class IV) are for maintenance and custodial activities during which employees contact but do not disturb asbestos (ACM or PACM).
- Approved initial 2 hour minimum asbestos training course required with annual refresher training.
- Maintain employee training records for at least one (1) year beyond the last date of employment.
- All surfaces shall be maintained as free as practicable of ACM waste, debris, and accompanying dust.
- HEPA-filtered equipment shall be used for vacuuming asbestos containing waste and debris. The equipment shall be used and emptied in a manner, which minimizes the reentry of asbestos into the workplace.
- Wet cleaning methods must be used when HEPA vacuuming is not done.
- Waste, scrap, debris, bags, containers, equipment, and clothing contaminated with asbestos shall be collected, recycled and disposed of in sealed impermeable bags, or other closed, impermeable containers.
- Surfaces contaminated with asbestos may not be cleaned using compressed air.
- Do not drill holes, hammer nails into, hang objects from, disturb when replacing light bulbs, touch with curtains, drapes, or dividers, or move furniture that damages ACM or PACM.
- Waste, debris and accompanying surface dust in areas containing accessible ACM and/or PACM or visibly deteriorated ACM, shall not be dusted, swept, shoveled dry, or vacuumed without using a HEPA filter.
Non-Construction (Class IV) specific procedures
- Mist ventilation air filters with water before removal; do not shake and dispose of properly.
- Care of asbestos-containing flooring material
- Sanding of asbestos-containing floor material is prohibited.
- Stripping finishes shall be done using low abrasion pads at speeds lower than 300 rpm and wet methods.
- Burnishing or dry buffing may be performed only on asbestos-containing flooring which has sufficient finish so that the pad cannot contact the asbestos-containing material.
Construction (Class IV) specific procedures
Class IV work in regulated area requires respirator and other appropriate personal protective equipment use when other asbestos work is being performed in area.
Appendix B: Procedures for an Unplanned Disturbance
For Individuals Discovering an Unplanned Disturbance
- Immediately evacuate the damaged area.
- Notify the appropriate University office (based on the amount of damaged area).
Major Disturbance (three square feet or more of damage)
Environmental Services 319-335-6477 or Cell Phone 319-631-0611
Environmental Health & Safety 319-335-8501
Public Safety 319-335-5022
(24 hours a day or when other contacts not available)
Minor Disturbance (less than three square feet of damage)
Business Services 310-335-0082
Facility Management 319-335-5071
Iowa Memorial Union 319-335-3138
University Housing 319-335-9970
For University Personnel Responding to a Major Unplanned Disturbance
Note: University personnel responding to an unplanned disturbance or asbestos fiber release episode must be trained and equipped in compliance with state regulations.
- Confirm the presence or absence of asbestos in released material. First check the Facilities Management bulk sampling database. If the bulk sample database does not document that the material tested negative for asbestos content, or if the database is not available, report to the site to oversee initial response. As needed, conduct laboratory analysis of suspect material.
- Evacuate and isolate a known or suspect contaminated area including any construction activity in progress.
- Facilities Management personnel shall perform initial protective measures:
- Shut down HVAC system using precautions to avoid exposure
- Place site under negative pressure using a HEPA-filtered negative air machine.
- Wet suspect material with water, without disturbing released material
- Restrict site access until remediation is completed or until released material is confirmed as non-asbestos-containing by posting restricted access signs, using barricade tape, or locking entrances with warning signs
- Determine remedial action needed. Collect air samples and wipe sample of settled dust as needed to determine extent of site contamination.
- If a fiber release episode is confirmed, notify building occupants.
- If the release involves over three square or linear feet, Facilities Management must notify the following two agencies:
- Iowa Division of Labor Services (telephone John Haan at 515-281-3606)
- Department of Natural Resources (telephone Marion Burnside at 515-281-8443 or
- Dennis Thielsen at 515-281-4899)
- Site remediation shall be performed by licensed asbestos abatement workers and overseen by a licensed project manager.
- Upon remediation completion, site may be reoccupied with project manager approval.