Fort Lewis College has instituted an asbestos Operations and Maintenance (O&M) program for all campus buildings and facilities.  In conjunction with the O&M program FLC provided training for its Physical Plant Staff through a series of two day training sessions presented by Colorado Hazard Control.  The training covered the work practices, and surveillance to maintain asbestos-containing materials (ACM) within buildings in good condition. The goal is to minimize exposure of all building occupants to asbestos fibers help us to maintain a clean and safety workplace environment. 

The O&M program training by Colorado Hazard Control addressed all the various types of asbestos containing material that may be present on campus and outlined ways to train, provide occupant notification, monitor ACM, institute job-site controls and safe work practices, keep records and provide worker protection. 

Fort Lewis College Physical Plant and maintenance workers will operate within an O&M program for the management of the overall categories of possible ACM (PCAM) that may be encountered.  The three overall groups of materials are:

  • Surfacing Material. Examples include ACM sprayed or troweled onto surfaces, such as decorative plaster on ceilings or acoustical ACM on the underside of concrete slabs or decking, or fireproofing materials on structural members.
  • Thermal System Insulation. Examples of this material, also referred to as TSI, include ACM applied to pipes, boilers, tanks, and ducts to prevent heat loss or gain, or condensation.
  • Miscellaneous ACM. Examples include asbestos-containing ceiling or floor tiles, textiles, and other components such as asbestos cement panels, asbestos siding and roofing materials, and electrical and sound insulation materials.

The FLC O&M program, as currently being administered includes specific direction on how to deal with each of these categories of ACM and specifies O&M work practices and procedures to be employed by FLC maintenance staff personnel during building cleaning, maintenance, renovation, and general operational activities that may involve surfacing, thermal, or miscellaneous ACM.

The O&M program can be divided into three types of projects:

  • Those that are unlikely to involve any direct contact with ACM. These projects may involve routine cleaning of shelves and counter tops or other surfaces in a building (provided ACM debris is not present). Generally, such activities would not be expected to disturb ACM.
  • Those that may cause accidental disturbance of ACM. These projects could include maintenance work above a suspended ceiling in an area that may have surfacing ACM overhead.
  • Those that involve relatively small disturbances of ACM. These projects—small-scale, short-duration maintenance, repair, or installation projects involving minor disturbances of ACM—include activities such as installation of new light fixtures on or in an ACM ceiling. A single glovebag operation to remove a small amount of ACM to repair a pipe in a boiler room is another example of intentional small-scale, short-duration disturbance.

Larger projects involving more complex procedures for the intentional removal of ACM are considered asbestos abatement projects. These require asbestos control and abatement procedures that are outside the scope of an O&M program. FLC uses properly trained and accredited professional abatement consulting firms and contractors for large abatement jobs.  

The Physical Plant Projects Department acts as the asbestos program manager (APM), since they are the department that oversees all asbestos-related activities in the building, including inspections, O&M activities, and major abatement actions.  In addition, the PPS Projects Department will interface with the FLC Service Center to insure that the custodial workers are trained to recognize possible ACM (PCAM) containing materials for reporting on conditions and locations only, which would in turn be inspected and managed by the Projects Department.     

The Projects Department also currently has two State of Colorado Certified Asbestos Inspectors that inspect and sample PACM, and are actively involved in all asbestos-control activities on the campus.  In conjunction with the management and control of asbestos management the Physical Plant uses a formal work order tracking process to review all requested work in light of possible asbestos disturbance before release of the work to be completed. 

The Fort Lewis College work order system helps to prevent accidental disturbances of ACM.  In addition to the internal work order management system, the FLC PPS Projects Department provides oversight for all asbestos-related activities on the campus.  In instances where an outside contractor is needed to perform custodial and maintenance work, the Projects Department verifies that the contractor is trained and licensed to conduct work that may involve ACM.

The PPS Projects department also monitors the work by other contractors, such as electricians and plumbers, who might inadvertently disturb ACM. As a part of the project design process, areas to be remodeled and or demolished as a part of some pending construction are surveyed and sampled in most cases by an outside consultant who specializes in asbestos project design and oversight to prevent accidental disturbances of ACM.  The abatement of ACM found as a result of one of these surveys is then completed prior to an outside contractor commencing work. 

Communication between the Physical Plant Services and occupants of campus building is essential to prevent activities that might compromise the O&M program.  Communications through FLC Announce and other public forums in addition to signage and written notices help to prevent accidental disturbances by occupants of the buildings.     

From Time to time it may be necessary to periodically review the written O&M plan to determine whether it should be updated. For example, after removal or renovations affecting ACM the O&M program should be revised accordingly. The O&M program should remain in effect as long as there is ACM present in campus buildings.

The O&M program also provides each worker who may come in contact with asbestos in the course of his duties with the necessary protective clothing and equipment (PPE) to prevent the possible transportation of fibers on regular clothing to family members at home.  Respirator fit testing and proper usage as well as all required record keeping required by OSHA and other regulatory agencies are part of the O&M program. 

Fort Lewis College recognizes that the success of our O&M program depends on the PPS Projects and Service Center departments commitment to implement the program and properly update it as regulations and laws change.