Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Difference Between Allied Trades and Operations & Maintenance.

Asbestos Handler Initial Class at IUOE
Asbestos Handler Initial Class at IUOE (Photo credit: angelogarciaiii)
Recently, we got a call from a client expressing an interest in asbestos training.  The client being a tradesperson (electrician, carpenter, plumber, etc.) was confused on which training and certificate they should get, either the Allied Trades or the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Certificate.  Because this client was confused we figured others may be too.  So how do you determine which training/certificate is appropriate?  Well first we need to answer the question will the tradespeople disturb asbestos containing materials (ACM)?  What do we mean by disturb, well let's go the New York State Department of Labor Industrial Code Rule 56 (ICR56) to get the definition of disturb.  "Disturbance means any activities that disrupt the matrix of ACM or Presumed ACM (PACM), or generate debris, visible emissions, or airborne asbestos fibers from ACM or PACM.  This includes moving of friable asbestos containing material from one place to another."
So deciding whether the tradesperson will be disturbing ACM or PACM is the most important question.  The reason for this is that the primary difference between the two titles is that the O&M certificate allows disturbance (for repairs/maintenance that will fit into one glovebag or one tent, that does not exceed 10 square feer or 25 linear feet) and the Allied Trades certificate does not allow disturbance (see Guidance Document page 14, Q/A# 50).
Realize, one of critical points on the disturbance definition is the last sentence "This includes moving of friable asbestos containing material from one place to another."  So, if you have a tradesperson that enters a crawlspace where the dust is contaminated with asbestos, the tradesperson is considered to be disturbing asbestos.  Since the tradesperson is disturbing asbestos he must have an O&M certificate to enter the crawlspace.  This would also meet the training requirements for Class III workers (which are workers who are likely to disturb ACM/PACM in quantities that will fit into a maximum of a 60" waste bag) under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1926.1101 asbestos in the construction industry standard.
In addition, the meaning of the Allied Trades Certificate was originally for the purpose of tradesmen who worked with the asbestos abatement contractor to provide the contractor with water for the showers, shut down electric and provide temporary power, and construct the decontamination facility and isolation barriers, to name a few.  The purpose of this trainiing is to train the workers on the dangers of asbestos, respiratory protection, and how enter and exit the work area (another words how to decontaminate themselves in the shower).  The training does not include any abatement or disturbance training because they are not supposed to disturb asbestos.  This certificate/training requirement is not recognized by OSHA under 1926.1101.
For example, the recent violations issued to SMG at Nassau Coliseum included violations for not providing asbestos training for Class III work.  In addition, in a Newsday article on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, Carle Place School District admitted to erring in not hiring a specially licensed contractor to run conduit in their crawlspace.  That license (an asbestos abatement license) is required of the contractor/company performing the work and all the contractor's workers (working in the crawlspace) are required to have a minimum of the O&M certificate.
We hope this will clarify the difference between these two New York State Certificates and help tradespeople determine which certificate/training they should request. 
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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

OSHA Cites SMG For Asbestos Violations at Nassau Coliseum

English: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Lic...
English: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Licensing: Category:Images of Long Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a press release on their website announcing that they are citing SMG, which manages the day-to-day operations of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, a total of $88,000 in proposed fines for asbestos, electrical, chemical and other hazards facing workers at the coliseum. SMG operates as SMG @ Nassau Coliseum, LLC faces 16 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards.
OSHA opened the inspection due to employee complaints.  Investigators found that maintenance workers and electricians were exposed to asbestos or materials potentially containing asbestos while working in various locations - including the coliseum's ice plant, catwalks, and a loading dock - and that SMG did not take adequate steps to address the hazards.
Obviously, from this information it seems that SMG was unaware (or ignored) the dangers their workers faced in working at the Coliseum.  This is not a good thing for Nassau County as the owners of the Coliseum.  This brings into question what information did Nassau County pass along to SMG to make sure SMG protected their employees.  This opens up Nassau County for a third party litigation lawsuit.  Remember previous articles written about this issue indicated at least two workers (one with mesothelioma and the other with stage four lung cancer) were potentially exposed to asbestos and that a total of 75 arena employees may have been exposed.
One of the most damning statements on the press release was "Specifically, SMG did not identify the presence, location and quantity of materials containing or potentially containing asbestos, use engineering controls and work practices to reduce exposure levels, ensure that all Class III asbestos work (such as repair and maintenance operations where materials presumed to contain asbestos are disturbed) was conducted in regulated areas, ensure proper respirator use, post warning signs and provide asbestos awareness training for workers."  Nassau County as the owner of the Coliseum, also has liabilities in informing SMG of the asbestos containing materials located at the Coliseum.  It seems to us that this isn't the last we will be hearing about the asbestos at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
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