Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) can be present in various establishments and facilities, making Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs helpful. These specifically crafted programs include training, cleaning, surveillance and operational practices that address ACM within premises. Most large operations that handle these materials have these programs possibly implemented at a large scale.
Still, smaller businesses or facilities can benefit from having their version of O&M programs. Even if their premises are smaller, ACM might still be present. A proper O&M program can help accomplish the following objectives:
- Keeping ACM maintenance up to date
- Properly cleaning up ACM previously detected
- Prevent further exposure to ACM
- Observing and monitoring ACM status on the premises
An appropriately planned O&M program can be beneficial but cannot replace regulatory requirements imposed by law. Building or business owners might have more stringent requisites based on federal and state policies.
Addressing ACM presence in premises
ACMs have categories based on detection. Some facilities might have a wide range of classifications, but most buildings have the following:
- Surfacing materials: This classification includes materials on the building’s surfaces, such as ceilings, decking and other exposed parts.
- Insulation: ACM can be present in pipes, boilers, tanks and ducts for thermal purposes.
- Miscellaneous usage: ACM can also be in textiles and panels used in buildings. These elements usually include siding and roofing components.
An O&M program considers these classifications relevant to the specifications of the facility or premises. It can also include practices and guidelines on how to manage ACM, depending on these categories.
O&M programs can be helpful when facing claims
Documenting these activities and procedures can be valuable, especially when facing asbestos-related claims and lawsuits. Crafting and implementing these programs can provide a clear picture of what happened leading up to the asbestos claim, allowing a better understanding of defense and resolution options.