Asbestos Management Program-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Asbestos Management Program

Asbestos-containing materials have been widely used in construction for more than one hundred years. Many of these materials are present in some of our buildings at Carnegie Mellon, as they are in nearly all buildings of pre-1987 vintage. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety oversees a comprehensive program of asbestos management to ensure the safety of all of our building occupants from asbestos-related hazards. This program is designed to do the following things:
  • Identify all areas of asbestos materials on campus
  • Ensure that all identified areas of asbestos are kept in sound condition with no fiber releases
  • Properly coordinate asbestos abatement on an on-going basis, both as building areas are renovated and as the condition of the asbestos material may warrant (i.e., damage or water leaks) Provide on-going training to Carnegie Mellon and its contractors regarding the locations of asbestos containing materials and procedures for performing work in these areas
  • Maintain compliance with the various federal, state and local asbestos regulations

Asbestos Awareness

All persons who may encounter asbestos-containing materials in the course of their work have the responsibility of determining the presence of these materials prior to beginning a work task. These persons must also know what to do if such materials are encountered. This information is provided at the annual Asbestos Awareness training offered by Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). Anyone whose job may bring them into contact with asbestos-containing materials is required to attend this course every year.

This training identifies all known areas of asbestos materials and outlines the procedures to be taken when they are encountered. Check the EH&S main page for training information. People who generally need this training include Facilities Management Services (FMS) staff, Housing staff, Telecom workers, facility coordinators and outside contractors.

Common asbestos-containing materials found on campus include:

  • Floor tiles and linoleum (often hidden by carpeting)
  • Some pipe and boiler insulation
  • Fire doors
  • Sprayed-on fireproofing
  • Plaster (although rarely)
  • Ceiling tiles (although rarely)
  • Lab fume hood walls and Lab benchtops

If your work requires the disturbance of any of these materials, contact EH&S (8-8182) prior to beginning the work.

Asbestos Services and Emergency Response Services

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) coordinates all asbestos-related activities on campus. These activities include:

  • Sampling suspect asbestos material (no one but EH&S staff may do this)
  • Conducting air monitoring to determine airborne asbestos levels
  • Performing inspections of buildings or renovation areas
  • Performing on-going monitoring and maintenance of asbestos-containing material still in place in buildings
  • Overseeing abatement and consultant contractors
  • Training of Carnegie Mellon personnel in Asbestos Awareness
  • Responding to emergency situations

Asbestos Emergencies

If you have disturbed material you believe is asbestos-containing, or if you believe such a disturbance has occurred in your work area, contact the EH&S main office (8-8182) . If there is no response, or for after-hours situations, contact University Police (8-2323)  at once. 

If an asbestos release has occurred, EH&S will inform you of the proper steps to take, which may include an evacuation of the immediate area. We will also coordinate all sampling, clean up or abatement necessary to correct the situation.

Asbestos was once heralded as the ideal building material-light, cheap, and heat resistant-until the health hazards of inhaling it were discovered. On this episode of Distillations we look at how two Pennsylvania towns are coping with the economic burden of remediating areas contaminated by asbestos.

Listen Here

Distillations Episode 145: Asbestos

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