SA Herbst

Asbestos Safety Requirements on Construction Sites

Renovation and demolition contractors are required to follow the U.S. EPA, OSHA, Wisconsin DNR, and Wisconsin DHS laws for asbestos safety and abatement. These laws apply when removing or disturbing any material that has or may have asbestos in it. Asbestos was used in thousands of materials over the years.

Common building materials that have had asbestos in them are:

  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Linoleums
  • Mastic or adhesives on floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Plaster
  • Drywall and joint compound
  • Textures like popcorn style ceiling texture
  • Asphalt roofing and tar
  • Caulks
  • Cement siding and roofing shingles
  • Pipe, duct, boiler, and furnace insulation (not fiberglass)
  • Vermiculite insulation

Disturbing (cutting, drilling, tearing, demolition) will put asbestos dust in the air, which people can then breathe or swallow. This leads to the possibility of diseases such as respiratory illness, lung cancer, digestive cancers, or mesothelioma showing up years later. Asbestos dust can be microscopic, and has no odor or taste, so people don’t realize that it’s in the air. Since it’s so light weight, it can also stay in the air for several days and continue to contaminate the building. Using shop vacs or sweeping does not clean up the asbestos dust, but just spreads it around.

The EPA, OSHA, DNR, and DHS laws were put in place to prevent contamination and disease. If followed, they can keep workers and residents asbestos safe.

The first thing to do is have the building inspected for asbestos before remodeling or demolition starts.

This way the asbestos can be identified and removed safely. Inspections are generally done by trained and Wisconsin certified asbestos inspectors, although homeowners are also allowed to inspect when working in their single family owner occupied homes.

After asbestos has been identified by inspection and lab testing, it must be safely removed by trained and Wisconsin certified asbestos abatement personnel. They know how to use the right work practices to keep families and workers safe. Homeowners are exempt if they are working in their single family owner occupied home.

SA Herbst provides the asbestos inspector and abatement training. The asbestos inspector training is a 3 day class, while the asbestos abatement training is 4 to 5 days. We train people on how to recognize asbestos, follow safe work practices, and properly clean up when they are done. See our training schedule to sign up.