Published 15 Aug 2023
What is Asbestos Inspection?
Asbestos inspection is a process of identifying the location of existing or suspected asbestos-containing material (ACM) in site facilities prior to any renovation or demolition activities. It is performed by certified asbestos inspectors to eliminate employee exposure to ACM that can pose health and safety hazards.
In this article
- Importance of Asbestos Inspection
- Steps to Protect Employees from Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace
- Asbestos Inspection Report
- Digital Tool to Reinforce Safety
- Featured Asbestos Checklists
Importance of Asbestos Inspection
Employers are required to have the workplace checked for health hazards and should inform and protect their employees from them, among which is the possibility of exposure to one of the top causes of work-related death and disability—asbestos.
In Great Britain alone, 2,595 died from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure (2017). Worldwide there are around 125 million people exposed to asbestos in the workplace and, despite certain state regulations (US, UK, AU) that control or ban the use of asbestos, there are thousands of deaths and disabilities caused by exposure.
Failure to perform asbestos building inspection, as well as properly informing and protecting employees from asbestos exposure can result in work-related deaths and illnesses, costly settlements, and penalties due to non-compliance with regulations.
Steps to Protect Employees from Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace
Employers must take all possible precautions to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure for all employees. Here are steps derived from HSE to help guide employers on how to help protect employees from asbestos:
- Conduct a risk assessment and asbestos inspection
Before commencing any work at a site, be sure to get familiar with safety regulations concerning asbestos and proceed with conducting a risk assessment to determine work-related health risks. Get a licensed inspector or asbestos analyst to ensure that, despite the risk of asbestos exposure, employees can be allowed to work at the site given the proper precautions.
- Ensure competency
In the event of the presence of asbestos, ensure that employees are competent to work in an environment that involves working with asbestos. Depending on regulations, get a licensed contractor or provide proper training to employees on how to work on asbestos.
- Enforce proper use of PPE
Employees working with asbestos should have the proper personal protective equipment to avoid inhalation and exposure to asbestos. Here’s a document on the proper PPE for asbestos.
- Promote safety
Depending on the nature of work or industry and risk of asbestos exposure, always conduct toolbox talks before beginning the day’s work and ensure that employees are in the right condition to work.
- Reinforce safe practices
Conduct internal audits to ensure that safety precautions are strictly followed in the workplace and proactively catch unsafe practices. Use asbestos inspection checklists designed to align with state regulations to avoid exposure to asbestos and comply with the law. Use the information collected to develop more effective training sessions for employees.
Asbestos Inspection Report
Asbestos can be found in different products including floor tiles, roof shingles, cement, and other materials that are prone to release asbestos fibers when disturbed. These fibers can leak into the air which can lead to health issues when employees get exposed and are prone to inhaling them. An asbestos inspection is performed to prevent this issue and promote a safe work environment.
Performing a survey to determine the presence of asbestos in building facilities before doing a renovation or demolition is required by federal rules and regulations set forth by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as many state regulations. In some cases, asbestos removal and disposal can be recommended.
An asbestos inspection report includes the following information:
- identified presence, location, and quantity of all asbestos-containing materials in the workplace;
- condition of each homogeneous material known or assumed to contain asbestos;
- identified areas that have asbestos-containing materials are established and demarcated appropriately and has restricted access;
- employees have been informed of all asbestos-containing materials in their respective work areas;
- engineering controls used to reduce employee asbestos exposure to the lowest achievable levels; and
- sign off the signature of a certified inspector with a timestamp of inspection.
Digital Tool to Reinforce Safety
Employers and safety officers must enforce safety practices to reduce the risks of asbestos exposure for employees. Proactively catching risks and safety issues will require a lot of effort and documentation. SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor), the world’s most powerful mobile inspection app, can help proactively catch and document safety issues and instances of non-compliance. With SafetyCulture on mobile devices, you are empowered to:
- Use the mobile app to take photos of safety issues found.
- Immediately address non-compliance and assign corrective actions on the spot.
- Schedule regular inspections to observe safety practices and be notified of missed/incomplete inspections.
- Save time and reduce costs by automatically generating paperless reports using the mobile app. Preview a sample web and PDF report.
- Analyze internal audit results and watch out for safety trends based on the collected information.
- Use for free with small teams. Unlimited reports and storage for premium accounts
Featured Asbestos Checklists
Safety officers use asbestos risk assessment checklists to determine the risk of asbestos in the workplace and come up with control measures to protect the employees from health risks before allowing work to commence on-site. Use this risk assessment checklist to uncover work-related risks with the help of the risk matrix and come up with control measures based on the hazard found. With SafetyCulture (iAuditor) on mobile devices, you are empowered to:
- Use the mobile app to take photos of hazards.
- Assign corrective actions upon discovery of issues.
- Schedule internal inspections
- Send and receive paperless reports and analyze the results of any site.
- Use the collected information to better protect employees, conduct effective training, and reduce the risk posed by asbestos in the workplace.
This converted checklist seeks to confirm asbestos identification and risk assessment, asbestos register, communication, cleanup, etc. All SafetyCulture (iAuditor) templates can be edited to better fit the needs of your business in protecting employees from asbestos.