Early Assessment of Occupational Hazards During Renovations Saves Owners Time, Money

Early Assessment of Occupational Hazards During Renovations Saves Owners Time, Money

By: Allan Howland | Asbestos Project Manger & Corporate Safety Officer 

Although Materials Testing Consultants (MTC) has been assisting clients with projects in Michigan for over 50 years, not everyone knows about the extensive services provided by our industrial hygiene/occupational exposure department. With more than 20 years of experience in this critical area of concern, MTC is ready to take on many different challenges.

For instance, MTC helps educate building owners as they make plans to renovate their current properties. It is essential they consider the ramifications of potential environmental threats before proceeding with such plans. Our past experience helps us know what occupational exposure may result from building renovation activities. MTC offers turn-key occupational exposure assessments by working with the client to understand the project, determine the hazards and recommend remediation actions or worker protection advice.

Hazardous Materials Testing Reveals Asbestos, Lead, and Mold Spores

One such project for MTC was an Indoor Occupational Exposure Assessment for a client in Grand Rapids, MI. The client-owned building was tested for asbestos content of building materials, metal content of painted surfaces, and mold spores in the air.

The building was surveyed for hazardous building materials that could become airborne, causing an occupational exposure to workers that were in the building during the renovations. Building renovations disturb various hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, and mold, releasing these dangerous components into the air where workers may breathe the particles. In such cases, respiratory protections may be required to reduce the exposure to acceptable levels (below permissible exposure limits).

On this project, MTC found asbestos floor tile and floor tile mastic, glazing compound, and duct wrap. Low levels of lead in paint were detected as well as mold spores suspected to be coming from inside the building. MTC reported our findings and recommended the use of protective equipment in accordance with regulatory requirements so that workers could be protected.

Prior to performing building renovations, owners are required under MIOSHA regulations, Part 602 Asbestos; Part 603 Lead (paint); and Part 451 Chromium (lead), and, as best management practices, mold to make assessments to determine potential occupational exposures.

Avoiding Costly Remediation and Occupational Exposure with Accredited Hazardous Material Management

The best time to consider contacting MTC for hazardous materials testing and management is when building owners are working with architects during the design phase. Knowing the materials that may be encountered during renovations that may cause occupational exposure or be costly to remediate could allow for design changes so these materials can be avoided.

Old buildings were built with materials that can become airborne during renovations. Assessments typically cannot be self-performed by owners due to accreditation and specialized training requirements. MTC provides the accredited and trained staff to complete testing for asbestos, lead, mold, and other hazardous materials.

By having this type of assessment completed initially rather than encountering materials such as asbestos later in a project, project cost overruns can be avoided. Having MTC’s report, which is given to contractors, protects our clients from contractor stoppage, regulatory violations, and additional project costs. Such services also protect site personnel from occupational exposures to airborne contaminants.

This project was a success for the client due to early communication with MTC, clear project scope, and detailed documentation of potential threat sources of occupational exposure.

To discuss an upcoming project that may have similar exposure concerns, please contact me at ahowland@mtc-test.com or call 800.968.8378

Tori Elliott

Tori Elliott

Tori is a Marketing Coordinator who has worked with MTC & MATECO for over 5 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing from Davenport University.