A reader writes: “I am bidding on a school that has around 22,000 square feet of 9-inch asbestos tiles.

Do you have any suggestions on how to proceed?”

My first recommendation is that you check out www.osha.gov and www.epa.gov for clear guidance on proceeding since all I can make are general recommendations based on the limited information I have about this opportunity. My first recommendation is you get your vendor involved since he/she can give you onsite guidance and tap their manufacturers for guidance that can be invaluable in your performing this task safely and successfully. The safety primarily focuses on your protecting your workers so that they do not develop asbestosis in 10-20 years and fault you with not disclosing the risk or providing training and guidance for this task.

You need to disclose to them up front the fact that they are cleaning an asbestos floor and that they must follow directions completely to reduce the risks. As I understand the general guidelines there should be NO dry buffing since that can generate dust particles that can be easily breathed in as well as released into the HVAC system leading to further contamination. The primary guidance is to only use WET processes but you need to go a little further. I suggest you prove either throw away garments (including booties and shoes) for anyone involved in this project. Once these garments are finished, they should be bagged and disposed of according to local and federal regulations. A final thought is to consider working with the local school system to identify any funding or grants that may be available through the trust funds. The focus would be on remediation which can be quite expensive but could solve this problem once and for all.

Note that everything I am suggesting is just that: suggestions. Please consult with legal and regulatory experts before proceeding and document, document, document everything you do.

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net