Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms Safety Policies and Procedures Manual

Revised 12-99

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety


Asbestos Safety

Health Hazards

Asbestos materials are health hazards because:

  • Inhaled asbestos fibers can be trapped in the lungs, irritate lung tissue, and cause scarring. This inhibits the lungs’ ability to process oxygen.
  • Inhaled asbestos fibers have been linked to cancerous cell growth in the lungs.

University employees are to follow the procedures outlined below to prevent and/or limit exposure to asbestos and potential injuries.


Only certified personnel may remove or disturb asbestos-containing materials.

Promptly report any accidental disturbances of asbestos materials to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S); telephone 509-335-3041.


Only state-certified personnel may clean up asbestos materials (see Authorized Workers).


State-certified asbestos workers must maintain installed asbestos products in good repair.


Label all known asbestos-containing materials.

Post warnings in all regulated asbestos removal or control areas.

  • Contact EH&S for further information concerning payment for asbestos warning signs and labels; telephone 509-335-3041.
  • Environmental Health and Safety coordinates the posting of asbestos warning signs and labels with Facilities Services, Operations. Contact EH&S for assistance.

Written Program

Environmental Health and Safety maintains the written asbestos program.

Contact EH&S for assistance.

Asbestos Materials

Possible Asbestos Materials

Asbestos may be present in the following materials:

  • Pipe insulation, tank insulation, boiler insulation
  • Gaskets
  • Fireproofing
  • Popcorn ceilings, ceiling tiles
  • Floor tiles, linoleum, mastics
  • Roofing material, transite panels, and sheetrock
Assumed Asbestos Materials

Until a lab analysis proves otherwise, assume that all building materials installed prior to 1980 contain asbestos. These materials include:

  • All thermal system insulation (e.g., pipe insulation, boiler insulation, tank insulation).
  • Sprayed or troweled surfacing material.
  • Asphalt and vinyl flooring.

A state-accredited asbestos inspector must sample all suspect materials prior to any disturbance, including maintenance, remodeling, or demolition.

Contact Facilities Services, Operations to arrange the sampling.

Authorized Workers

Only employees who have received current state-approved certification as asbestos workers, asbestos supervisors, or asbestos Class II workers may remove, cut, abrade, drill, sand, scrape or otherwise deliberately disturb any asbestos-containing materials.

These employees must have all of the following:

  • Bi-annual respirator fit tests (see SPPM 3.24).
  • Annual respirator training (see SPPM 3.24).
  • Annual certification
  • Annual medical surveillance exams. Contact Human Resource Services (HRS); telephone 509-335-4521.

    Human Resource Services maintains copies of the exam records. HRS sends annual reminders to employees to schedule medical surveillance exams.


All employees who could accidentally disturb asbestos-containing materials in the course of their job duties must receive training on:

  • Identifying possible asbestos-containing materials.
  • Preventing asbestos exposure.
  • Regulatory requirements.
  • Work practices.
  • Personal protective equipment.
  • Other topics as required.

Contact the EH&S asbestos program coordinator to arrange training.

Brake and Clutch Repairs

All brake and clutch repairs on motorized vehicles must follow specific work practices related to asbestos safety, as per WAC 296-62-07745, Appendix F.

Contact EH&S for more information; telephone 509-335-3041.