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Oregon State University

How to Avoid Asbestos Exposure

In order to avoid being exposed to asbestos, you must be aware of the locations it is likely to be found. If you do not know whether something is asbestos or not, assume that it is until it is verified otherwise. Remember that you cannot tell if floor or ceiling tiles contain asbestos just by looking at them.

OSU Environmental Health and Safety has licensed asbestos abatement staff who can take samples from materials in order to determine whether or not they contain asbestos. If you need to have materials analyzed or tested for asbestos, please contact EHS. Never try to take a sample yourself unless you are licensed to do so.

If you have reason to suspect that something is asbestos, either because it is labeled as such, or because it something that is likely to contain asbestos (9" floor tile, for example) ------ DO NOT DISTURB IT.

Never...

  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Cut
  • Saw
  • Break
  • Damage
  • Move
  • Disturb

 

...any asbestos-containing materials or suspected materials.

EHS has surveyed most locations in OSU buildings for the presence of asbestos. If you need to do work that might involve asbestos (lifting ceiling tiles, repairing insulated pipelines, etc.), check with EHS to find out what can be done safely.

For example, before moving any ceiling tiles to perform maintenance work, it will be necessary to ensure they do not contain asbestos. If they do contain asbestos, they will need to be removed by licensed asbestos abatement workers before the work may be performed.

Housekeeping

Housekeepers and custodians should never sand or dry buff asbestos containing floor tiles, and only wet stripping methods may be used during stripping operations. Low abrasion pads should be used at speeds below 300 rpm.

Broken and fallen ceiling tiles should be left in place until identified. Only after they have been identified as safe may they be removed. Asbestos tiles will be removed by asbestos abatement workers.

Broken and damaged asbestos floor tiles must also be removed by asbestos abatement workers. Report any suspect broken tiles to EHS.

Dislodged Material

It is important to report any damaged asbestos-containing materials to EHS immediately. If, for example, you discover some sprayed-on asbestos insulation has been knocked off of a ceiling or wall, this would need to be cleaned up immediately by asbestos abatement workers.

Do not attempt to clean up potential asbestos material yourself! Disturb the material as little as possible. Also report damaged pipe insulation, ceiling tile, 9" floor tile, fallen clumps of sprayed-on insulation, etc. Take measures to prevent others from disturbing the spill until EH&S arrives.

By knowing where asbestos is likely to be located and then taking measures not to disturb it, you will protect yourself and others from exposure to this hazardous substance.