Ellis was recently asked to respond to an asbestos-related emergency by a major southern California university. As the first step in a large building renovation project, an abatement contractor had been hired to remove asbestos materials. That contractor had been given a copy of the school's campus-wide asbestos survey performed by Ellis in 2007. But for this project and for the first time, the university chose to manage the abatement project "in-house," i.e. without bid phase assistance or input from a California-certified asbestos consultant (CAC).
With the project already underway, Ellis was finally called in . . . but only after the contractor had improperly removed eight thousand square feet of identified asbestos flooring and wallboard without proper engineering controls or notification. When asked why they'd done it, the contractor admitted they had received Ellis' original asbestos survey report, but had somehow "missed" the presence of these two asbestos materials. The AQMD automatically investigated, cited the contractor, and mandated that a CAC direct all subsequent cleanup operations. Ellis performed this service, administered remaining abatement, and the project was completed without further incident.
Prior to this, the facility had had a 15 year record of successful abatement projects with the assistance of a Ellis' qualified CACs. Following the incident, they returned to that successful protocol.
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 by law must be performed under the direction of an Asbestos Consultant.
In the scenario above, had a CAC been properly retained at the start, the facility would have avoided significant penalties and delays, since its consultant would have properly identified and administered the removal of all impacted asbestos materials.
 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.
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