Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 5: Chemical/Hazardous Material Safety

Asbestos Safety

SPPM 5.22

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety

Asbestos-Containing Building Materials

Many building materials contain asbestos fibers, which were used to enhance strength, chemical, and/or heat resistance. Any WSU building material, excluding wood, glass, or metal, is considered a suspect asbestos-containing material (ACM) until characterized otherwise, by an accredited inspector and laboratory. When intact and undisturbed, asbestos fibers remain trapped within the building material’s matrix and the ACM does not pose a risk to building occupants.

Health Hazards

Asbestos health hazards from inhaled asbestos fibers include:

  • Irritation and scarring of lung tissue, which inhibits the lungs’ ability to process oxygen.
  • Possible cancerous cell growth in the lungs and surrounding tissues.

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, disturb, or sample ACM or suspected ACM.

Contact Campus EH&S

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

Promptly report any accidental disturbances of ACM to the applicable campus Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) office:

  • WSU Pullman EH&S; telephone 509-335-3041   
  • WSU Spokane EH&S; telephone 509-368-6699

    WSU Spokane EH&S also provides information and assistance to WSU Health Sciences—Yakima (which includes College of Nursing—Yakima and College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences—Yakima).   

  • WSU Tri-Cities EH&S; telephone 509-372-7163   
  • WSU Vancouver EH&S; telephone 360-546-9706

Personnel at WSU locations not listed above may contact WSU Pullman EH&S for further information and assistance.


Only state-certified personnel may clean up asbestos materials (see Facility Modifications and Maintenance below).

Emergency Response

Appropriately trained and authorized personnel may disturb ACM or suspect ACM if the disturbance is an essential part of emergency response to:

  • Fire;    
  • Efforts to rescue critically injured personnel, students, or visitors; or   
  • Efforts to respond to a similar emergency.

Written Program

The campus EH&S departments maintain WSU’s Asbestos Management Plan:

The management plan identifies:

  • Roles and responsibilities;   
  • Hazard communication requirements;   
  • Housekeeping and maintenance requirements;   
  • Abatement procedures;   
  • Employee medical surveillance;   
  • Respiratory protection; and   
  • Recordkeeping requirements.

The plan applies to WSU departments, areas, and/or units, and non-WSU contractors.

Contact the campus EH&S office for assistance (see Contact Campus EH&S above) and/or see the EH&S WSU Asbestos Management Plan website.


All employees must complete online asbestos awareness training once upon hire. To access online training, employees log into the HRS Learning and Organizational Development website.

EH&S may exempt employees from the training requirement who work in buildings that are documented or certified not to include ACM. Exemptions granted for employees or groups of employees must be documented in writing.

Instructor-led training may be required in lieu of online training for employees in service departments impacting building materials, such as custodians, construction, and maintenance personnel.

Facility Modifications and Maintenance

WSU’s asbestos management plan establishes specific procedures protecting employees, students, and the general public from hazards associated with disturbing ACMs.

  • Only WSU employees or contractors authorized by campus Facilities Services or Auxiliary Facilities Services may impact or otherwise disturb ACMs or suspect ACMs.

    Exceptions: At WSU Spokane and WSU Tri-Cities, only WSU employees and contractors authorized by campus EH&S may impact or otherwise disturb ACMs or suspect ACMs.

    Employees and contractors must reference the procedures outlined in the management plan.    

  • All employees must report damaged building materials to their supervisor.

    Supervisors and department designees must promptly contact the campus EH&S office by telephone to evaluate potential asbestos hazards associated with damaged building materials. (See Contact Campus EH&S above.)

    Supervisors must submit maintenance requests to the campus Facilities Services office in accordance with the procedures in BPPM 80.45.

WSU Pullman Asbestos Sampling Database

EH&S maintains an online asbestos sampling database for WSU Pullman campus building.

Asbestos Abatement Activities

Only the following WSU service department employees or non-WSU contractors may remove or otherwise disturb ACMs:

  • Washington state Labor and Industries (LNI)-certified asbestos supervisors or workers; or   
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Class II trained workers.

Asbestos abatement work must be performed referencing the WSU Asbestos Management Plan requirements.

Asbestos abatement work areas must be posted with signage or warning tape which states, at a minimum:

  • “Danger Asbestos,” or   
  • “Danger, Asbestos, May Cause Lung Cancer, Causes Damage to Lungs, Authorized Personnel Only.”

Unauthorized employees and contractors must not enter posted asbestos work zones at any time.


Only an EPA-accredited asbestos building inspector approved in writing by EH&S may collect samples to determine whether a suspect material contains asbestos.

Employees, supervisors, and departments may contact the campus EH&S to evaluate materials for asbestos (e.g., laboratory equipment or stored materials). See Contact Campus EH&S above.

Sampling requests concerning future construction, renovation, remodeling, demolition, and maintenance projects must be submitted to campus Facilities Services. (See BPPM 80.56 and the WSU Asbestos Management Plan requirements.) Exception: At WSU Tri-Cities, all asbestos sampling requests must be submitted to the campus EH&S department.

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 campus EH&S for more information. See Contact Campus EH&S above.

Revisions:  Nov. 2021 (Rev. 131); Dec. 1999 (Rev. 26); Dec. 1989 (Rev. 7).