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Read our latest Risk Factor Newsletter:

3/29/2021 - Odor Surveys and Assessments - 2021

If you ever had an odor or indoor air quality issue within your facility you can appreciate the difficultly in identifying the sources or causes and responding to questions from employees.

The Risk Factor 3rd Quarter 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007
The Risk Factor 3rd Quarter 2007

Asbestos Operations and Management

If you operate a building built before 1980, you may have asbestos-containing materials that must be managed. These may include floor tiles, mastic, pipe insulation, fittings on fiberglass-insulated pipes, transite panels, roofing materials, and others. If the building was built before 1973, there may be surfacing materials such as spray-applied fireproofing, acoustical plaster, and other friable materials. Many of these materials may be hidden or enclosed under carpet or above plaster or acoustic ceilings and not apparent to building occupants or contractors.

If asbestos material is managed in place in your facility, it is important to have an asbestos operations and management (O&M) program to prevent accidental exposures and to facilitate repairs, maintenance, and renovations. Required aspects of an effective O&M program would include:

  • Asbestos coordinator 
  • Planning renovations
  • Recordkeeping
  • Asbestos survey and periodic evaluations
  • Training and contractor awareness

Asbestos Coordinator

The asbestos coordinator is the one person who manages all aspects of the asbestos program. This includes ensuring surveys are kept up to date, interfacing with building trades people such as plumbers, mechanics, and custodial staff, and being involved in renovations that may impact asbestos. The asbestos coordinator also arranges for abatement or repair of damaged asbestos materials and manages planned abatement projects.

Asbestos Survey and Periodic Evaluations

An asbestos survey is essential to identify and assess asbestos materials. The asbestos survey report is then a tool to use for the operations and maintenance program, hazard communication, coordinating with contractors, and planning renovations. The survey should identify all asbestos-containing material, including friable materials such as pipe insulation, fittings, tank insulation, fireproofing and acoustic plaster and nonfriable materials such as floor tiles, mastic, transite panels, exterior siding, etc. Quantities and conditions of accessible asbestos materials should be determined, and the surveyor should note if there might be concealed asbestos materials above ceilings, in pipe chases, under carpets, etc. The asbestos materials should be reassessed on a regular basis to document changes and to enable the repair of minor damage.

Training and Contractor Awareness

The locations and conditions of asbestos materials should be communicated to facility maintenance and custodial staff and to contractors who may work in the area of asbestos materials. Personnel should be able to recognize asbestos-containing materials, know how to prevent exposure to themselves, and know what to do if damaged asbestos is discovered in the workplace. Custodial staff should be aware of procedures for maintaining asbestos-containing flooring materials and for cleaning small amounts of asbestos debris. Contractors should be informed if there are asbestos materials in their proposed work areas, even if their work will not intentionally disturb the asbestos materials. Awareness will help prevent damage and accidental exposures. The training can be conducted with a two-hour Asbestos Awareness Training program as described in the OSHA asbestos standards.

Planning Renovations

Consideration of asbestos is an important aspect of planning mechanical or architectural renovations. Plan to remove asbestos before other demolition or construction occurs in the area. Be sure to have enough time in the schedule for the two-week advance notification to local, state, and federal authorities; the actual abatement; clearance sampling, and demobilization of the abatement contractor. The asbestos coordinator should update the survey to document the change in quantities of asbestos present after abatement projects.


In addition to the asbestos survey, the asbestos coordinator should keep thorough records of all asbestos work in the facility, including designs of removal projects; abatement notifications and permits; records of abatement environmental quality assurance monitoring, training and air sampling; medical records for in-house staff; and waste disposal manifests.

For additional information or to discuss how an asbestos O&M program will benefit you, please contact Dan Bruun, CIH, vice president at 610.524.5525, ext. 17 or via email.

Safety and Health Audits: Benchmarking for Performance Improvement

What methods do you use to ensure that your safety and health programs are moving in the right direction? One method many employers use is the periodic performance of safety and health audits. In doing so, they are benchmarking against:

  • Themselves back to the dates of earlier audits,
  • Others in their class of business, and
  • The standards and guidelines that are applicable to their activities.

Jack Welch, past CEO of General Electric and a well-respected leader in business management systems, stated that “what gets measured gets done.” Measuring against established standards and guidelines is a way to promote performance improvement and prevent performance degradation. Rewards are often coupled to this measurement. It is human nature to respond first to that for which you know there is an established measure (performance criteria) and a reward or punishment likely based on your performance.

There are a number of occupational health and safety management systems against which you can benchmark your performance, including the following:

  • ANSI/AIHA Z10-2005, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
  • National Safety Council (NSC) 2005, Safety and Health Code of Ethics Resource Guide
  • OHSAS 18001/18002: 2000, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
  • OSHA CSP 03-01-002 (TED 8.4), Voluntary Protection Program (VPP): Policies and Procedures Manual, March 2003
  • OSHA Standards for your industry and nature of operations
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Accident and Illness Prevention Program (AIPP) Program Elements
  • Safety and Health Audit Protocols developed specifically by or for your employer

Safety and health audits may be performed by internal staff, outside consultants, or a mix of both. Oftentimes companies will invite “guest auditors” from other business units or sites within an operating employer to assist with the audit, allowing them to share their expertise and take back information on the process to their sites. Outside consultants may bring both their expertise in the areas being evaluated and “another set of eyes” to the process.

Typically audits begin with a preaudit review of client documents, the nature and scope of operations, and workplace injuries and illnesses, with the goal of determining expected hazards and potential exposures. An audit protocol is developed and used that defines the way the audit will be conducted, what benchmarks will be used, and how the results of the audit will be communicated.

The on-site portion of the audit normally begins with a kickoff meeting, site inspection, review of pertinent documents and records, interviews, and frequent discussions. Specific findings are discussed as they arise, so that there are no surprises late in the audit process. Audits normally take one to five days, with from one to four auditors, depending on the type, size, and complexity of the site to be audited. Draft reports are typically presented before auditors leave the site.

What benefits do health and safety audits provide? A partial listing follows:

  • Provide a snapshot of existing deficiencies
  • Allow measures of progress since the last evaluation
  • Offer the ability to review compliance with new requirements
  • Enable re-prioritization of performance improvement efforts
  • Establish safety and health programs that are more effective and efficient.

The professionals at 1Source have been providing safety and health auditing services for more than 25 years, with hundreds of audits performed. This has helped clients to become OSHA VPP Star Participants, win National Safety Council awards, and dramatically reduce the cost of workplace injuries and illnesses. Do you need more information or a proposal? If so, contact Colin J. Brigham, CIH, CSP, CPE, CPEA, at 610.524.5525, ext. 24 or via email.

Special Education Ergonomics: Caring for the Caregivers

The School Districts Insurance Consortium (SDIC); 1Source Safety and Health, Inc.; and Coastal Training Technologies, Inc., recently worked together to develop a DVD entitled Special Education Ergonomics: Saving Your Back. Providing education to students with physical and/or mental disabilities can be a very demanding job. This DVD was developed to help identify ways to prevent the caregivers providing these services from developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD).

How significant of a problem is it? SDIC is a nonprofit workers’ compensation administration and claims service for public school districts, currently comprising 80 school districts in Pennsylvania. It has 4 intermediate units that are the primary caregivers to these students. At these intermediate units, WMSD account for 29% of the total workers’ compensation claims and 27% of the total workers’ compensation cost. The total workers’ compensation costs for one year were $998,000. The DVD helps to identify methods to reduce the potential for disorder development through proper facility design, purchase and use of mechanical transfer aids, planning of transfers, body mechanics, and other approaches. It can be purchased from Coastal Training Technologies, Inc. (, 800.725.3418)

Colin J. Brigham, the Certified Professional Ergonomist at 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., who worked in developing this product, made a presentation titled “Special Education Ergonomics: Addressing the Needs within 80 School Districts” at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition in June 2007. This conference had about 9,000 attendees. His presentation was selected as the Ergonomics Committee Best Podium Session.

Mr. Brigham, CIH, CSP, CPE, can be reached at 610.524.5525, ext 24, or via email and is available to discuss your specific ergonomic needs.

Sail-Away Sweepstakes ...

Picture yourself on board ship, blue skies, relaxing in the sun ... FEEL LUCKY? Registering to win is simple:

  • Go to and take a tour of the site, services and staff
  • Find and click on the Cruise Icon - then follow the instructions on the registration form.
  • Enter the validation code “training” on the registration form – review and agree to the contest rules and regulations, and then keep your fingers crossed and dream!

Winner will receive a $3,000 Gift Certificate valid towards a cruise destination of your choice with Royal Caribbean International. Yes, your choice!

If the winner cannot accept the gift certificate for whatever reason, a $3,000 donation will be made to a charity listed on the Community Support page of our Web site. You must register on by December 14, 2007. The winner will be randomly selected on December 21, 2007.