Asbestos Inspection

Proactively implement asbestos control measures to protect employees from health and safety hazards

Published 25 Jun 2021

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.

This article features the following:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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. iAuditor, the world’s most powerful mobile inspection app, can help proactively catch and document safety issues and instances of non-compliance. With iAuditor on mobile devices, you are empowered to:

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Jona Tarlengco

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.