California OSHA considers the administration of an asbestos abatement project to be a “Health and Safety” service, requiring the participation of a CAC.

Ellis recently responded to an asbestos emergency at a major southern California university. An abatement contractor had been given an asbestos survey report prepared by Ellis. They were then hired to remove the asbestos materials in that report prior to renovation.

And here's where it got odd: An outside "construction manager" suddenly convinced the college that this newest project could be managed "in-house," i.e. without assistance or input from Ellis or from any other California-certified asbestos consultant (CAC).

About a week after the project started, Ellis WAS called. An EH&S employee had observed the contractor remove eight thousand square feet of asbestos flooring and wallboard without engineering controls, personal protective equipment or notification. Ellis was asked to assist on an emergency basis. When asked why they'd done it, the contractor admitted they had received Ellis' original asbestos survey report, but claimed they had somehow "missed" the presence of these two asbestos materials. (Both were actually listed in Ellis' executive summary on page 1 of the report.)

The AQMD automatically investigated, cited the contractor AND the Owner, and mandated that a CAC direct all subsequent cleanup operations. Ellis administered the cleanup and the remaining abatement. The project was completed without further incident.

Had a CAC been properly retained at the start, the facility would have avoided tens of thousands in fines and delays, since its consultant would have properly identified and administered the removal of all impacted asbestos materials. California OSHA considers the administration of an asbestos abatement project to be a "Health and Safety" service, requiring the participation of a CAC. OSHA defines a CAC as "Any person who contracts to provide health-and-safety services relating to asbestos-containing construction material." OSHA even defines those activities which must be performed under the direction of an Asbestos Consultant:

A reputable abatement contractor wants Ellis at their job site. They understand our role: we reduce the contractor's liability by assisting them in complying with myriad state and federal asbestos regulations, and we provide a final report to document that compliance.

[1] CA Title 8 Section 1529
[2] State of California, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Asbestos
Consultant and Trainer Approval Unit, Asbestos Consultant & Site Surveillance Technician Certification Application
Package, Revised February 2004.