How to Choose the Right Professional for Your Asbestos Survey: Key Qualifications and Certifications

Published On June 13, 2024 | By William Thomas | Health

The identification and management of asbestos in old buildings is a vital health and safety concern that requires true professional expertise. This potentially hazardous material was widely used in construction before its dangers were fully known; and though it’s no longer used, it remains present in many structures. Selecting the right professional for your asbestos survey is not only a legal necessity but also a step to ensure the safety of occupants. This article will guide you through the necessary qualifications and certifications your asbestos surveyor should possess.

Understanding the Importance of an Asbestos Survey

Before we jump into qualifications, it’s critical to understand why a thorough survey is necessary. When disturbed, asbestos releases fibers that can lead to serious health issues, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. A professional asbestos survey aims to assess the presence, condition, and potential risk of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in a building. This is a complex process that demands significant expertise.

Key Qualifications for Asbestos Surveyors

When selecting a professional for this task, here are the qualifications you should be looking for:

Industry Certification

An asbestos surveyor should hold a certification from a recognized industry body. In the United States, this may mean being certified by organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These certifications prove that the surveyor has received rigorous training in asbestos detection, handling, and regulations.

Licensing

Check whether your state or country requires a specific license to perform asbestos surveys. If so, verify that the surveyor you’re considering carries that license. Licenses are generally issued by governmental health or environmental agencies and will confirm that the person or company is legally approved to conduct the work.

Experience and Expertise

Experience is a significant marker of a professional’s capability to carry out a thorough survey. Look for professionals who have worked on similar properties and under similar circumstances as yours. Inquire about the number of surveys they’ve conducted and check for any references or case studies they can provide.

Knowledge of Legal Requirements

Different regions have different laws and regulations concerning asbestos surveys and the subsequent management or removal of ACMs. Your chosen professional should be up-to-date with these legal requirements to ensure that your survey complies with all current legislation.

Insurance

Professional indemnity insurance is crucial for anyone performing asbestos surveys. This protects you and them if something goes wrong during the survey, such as accidental exposure or damage to the property.

Certifications to Look For

Here is a list of specific certifications to look for when hiring an asbestos professional:

AHERA Inspector: This certification is specific to those performing inspections in schools but is also seen as reputable in other fields.

NIOSH 582 Certification: It denotes proficiency in air sampling and fiber counting, critical for surveying airborne asbestos.

State-specific Hazardous Material Surveyor Certificates: Some states issue their own certifications for professionals in this field.

Red Flags to Avoid

While qualifications are essential, you should also be wary of certain red flags:

Lack of Transparency: If a professional is reluctant to share proof of qualifications or details about their inspection process, be cautious.

Excessively Low Quotes: Surveys that are quoted significantly below market rates may indicate a lack of experience or cutting corners.

Concluding Advice

Your choice of surveyor can have far-reaching impacts on your health, safety, and legal standing. The professional you choose should not only have the qualifications but also the necessary tools and a strong ethical commitment to safe practices. Always take the time to verify the surveyor’s credentials and speak to past clients to ensure their work meets the safety standards required.

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