More and more these days we seek out professionals for everything from daycare to mechanical work for our cars to home improvements. When trusting someone with your child, your car, or your home, how can you be sure that they are qualified, responsible, and ethical?
Well luckily, most professions (including asbestos removal or abatement) require passing a board exam, some type of licensing, or both for the general public these certification requirements are helpful when making the choice of who to hire. Having to be certified or licensed insures that a person or company will be held accountable for their performance. Failure to maintain expected standards could lead to the revocation of a license or certification.
In the case of asbestos abatement licensing, the Ohio Department of Health is the agency in charge of certification and licensing for asbestos abatement workers and contractors in that state.
The Ohio Department of Health of similar agencies in other states mandates that any person working with asbestos must be properly trained and certified by the State. This rule applies to anyone who is removing, encapsulating, or repairing asbestos. Any person who is in a position for the purpose of determining compliance with the contractual performance or regulatory standards is designated as the project supervisor and must be certified as a “contractor/supervisor”.
This supervisor certification requires more training than an asbestos abatement worker. In effect, there are three stages of licensing:
- The company
- The supervisors on the job
- The workers
Although licensing requirements vary from state to state, a company applying for a license must provide extensive written documentation to the applicable agency. Submittal requirements normally will include a health & safety plan, a standard operating procedure plan, a medical surveillance program for all workers, waste handling procedures, an air monitoring plan, and more. Because asbestos is a hazardous material, the company must have access to at least one state-approved asbestos disposal site. They must have a worker protection program that is consistent with OSHA standards and the company must be capable of complying with all applicable state and federal standards for asbestos abatement hazard projects. Companies are closely monitored by both the EPA and OSHA. Any company performing asbestos abatement must be licensed and must continue to adhere to safe work practices throughout their career.
When choosing a contractor to remove asbestos, make sure they are licensed, fully insured, and be sure to ask for references. State licensing agencies will also maintain records of any violations issued to companies and individuals.