Training of custodial and maintenance workers is one of the keys to a successful operations and maintenance (O&M) program. If building owners do not emphasize the importance of well-trained custodial and maintenance personnel, asbestos O&M tasks may not be performed properly. This could result in higher levels of asbestos fibers in the building air and an increased risk to building workers and occupants.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to institute and ensure participation in a worker training program for employees exposed to fiber levels (either measured or anticipated) at or above the permissible exposure limit (0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc) as an 8-hour, time-weighted average (TWA) and/or the excursion limit (1.0 f/cc as a 30-minute TWA). This training program consists of an initial training period, the duration of which is determined by the type of work the employee performs, and annual refresher training. For additional information about these training requirements, see the OSHA regulations at 29 CFR § 1910.1001(j)(7) (PDF)(53 pp, 408K, about PDF).
According to the EPA regulations governing schools, all school staff custodial and maintenance workers who conduct any activities that may result in the disturbance of asbestos-containing building material (ACBM) must receive 16 hours of O&M training (comprised of 2 hours of Awareness Training and 14 hours of Special O&M Training).
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24-hour HAZWOPER Workers on-site only occasionally for a specific limited task and who are unlikely to be exposed over permissible exposure limits and published exposure limits shall receive a minimum of 24 hours of instruction off the site, and the minimum of one day actual field experience. 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3)(iii)
40-hour HAZWOPER General site workers engaged in hazardous substance removal or other activities which expose or potentially expose workers to hazardous substances and health hazards shall receive a minimum of 40 hours of instruction off the site, and a minimum of three days actual field experience. 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3)(ii)
HAZWOPER Site Supervisor This one time course is for anyone with supervisory or managerial responsibilities for others at hazardous waste operations. OSHA states that supervisors must have a minimum of 8-hours specialized training beyond the initial 24-hour or 40-hour HAZWOPER and above those whose activities they may direct. 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(4)
HAZWOPER Annual Refresher training is required for those who wish to remain HAZWOPER certified. 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(8)
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David C. White has over 32 years’ experience as a safety professional. David is well-versed in Hazardous Materials Response and Training. As a hazardous materials specialist, he managed a State Response Team for all hazardous materials involving highway, rail and clandestine laboratory operations. He also served as an FMCSA Instructor for all DOT HazMat courses, as well as a Train-the-Trainer for the FMCSA National Training Center.