Pennsylvania Asbestos Certification
What is Asbestos Certification in Pennsylvania
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, asbestos is a term used to describe a wide range of naturally occurring mineral fibers. Asbestos was formerly applied to a range of items to reinforce them and offer heat insulation and fire protection. It is also considered a good material for construction because it is a poor conductor of electricity and resistant to corrosion. Asbestos was widely utilized in constructing houses, schools, and other structures before Pennsylvania's asbestos laws were enacted.
However, research shows that individuals exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards breathe high levels of asbestos fibers. These fibers can increase the risk of lung cancer in the form of mesothelioma and asbestosis. While mesothelioma is a cancer of the chest and abdomen lining, asbestosis is a chronic lung disease in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue. Both medical conditions are fatal.
Asbestos can only be positively identified with a specific type of microscope. The vast majority of materials manufactured in recent times do not contain asbestos. Still, to protect consumers from asbestos exposure, those few materials that are still manufactured must be clearly labeled.
The following materials in the home may still contain asbestos:
- Insulation around steam pipes, furnaces, boilers, and air ducts
- Resilient floor coverings such as vinyl tiles, the backing on vinyl sheet flooring, and adhesives used for putting floor covering
- Cement sheets used as insulation for wood-burning stoves
- Textured paints
- Artificial embers and ashes for gas fireplaces
- Fireproof gloves
- Ironing board coverings
- Spray-on soundproofing or decorative materials for walls and ceilings
It is important to note that as long as the asbestos in a property is in excellent condition, it does not constitute a severe threat to the occupants. As such, it is safest to leave asbestos-containing materials undisturbed. These materials may release asbestos fibers if they are damaged, mended, scraped, sanded, or drilled.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) govern the abatement, collection, transportation, and disposal of asbestos-containing materials in Pennsylvania. Asbestos abatement is a collection of processes to keep asbestos fibers from being released from asbestos-containing materials.
The Pennsylvania Asbestos Occupation Accreditation and Certification Act of 1990 mandate the training, licensing, and certification of asbestos experts. Asbestos experts solve asbestos-related issues. They conduct risk assessments, lab analyses, and training to facilitate the identification and eventual disposal of harmful asbestos materials. The act's laws require asbestos professionals such as contractors, inspectors, management planners, project designers, managers, and personnel who work with asbestos to be licensed and accredited. These regulations are implemented by the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI).
How to Get Pennsylvania Asbestos Certification?
For a person to become a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional in Pennsylvania, the individual must seek training from an approved training provider that provides required courses to conduct asbestos training according to the Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan.
Section 5 of the Asbestos Occupations Accreditation and Certification Act governs Pennsylvania's asbestos certification standards and processes. Under this legislation, the Department of Labor established standards, methods, and requirements for certifying individuals who work in asbestos-related occupations. The primary criterion is completing a training course on Pennsylvania's laws and regulations governing asbestos. Successful completion of the course requires that the individual attend every class session and pass the final examination. The final exam usually examines their understanding of federal and Pennsylvania rules pertaining to their desired asbestos occupation.
For certification, applicants must provide the following:
- A completed Application For Asbestos Occupation Certification form
- A copy of their most recent training course certificate
- Information on any enforcement measures taken against them
- The appropriate payment by check or money order made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
These items should be mailed to:
The training certificate must provide the following information:
- The name of the accredited individual
- A unique certificate number
- The name of the course that was completed
- The course's start and end dates
- The date of the examination
- The name, location, and contact information of the organization that provided the training course
- The training course director's signature
- The certificate's expiration date
- A statement confirming the individual who received the certificate has acquired the necessary training for asbestos certification under Title II of the Toxic Substances Control Act
The department may seek more information at its discretion and depending on the individual's asbestos occupation. For instance, a management planner must include a copy of their Inspector training certificate(s) to complete the certification process.
An applicant is permitted to participate in the asbestos occupation for which certification is requested for 60 days from the date the DLI receives the application. This is permissible if the individual has a copy of the completed application, proof of payment, and verification of training on hand at their place of employment.
What Do Asbestos Inspectors Do in Pennsylvania?
Asbestos inspectors are specialists who have received specialized training in handling asbestos-containing materials (ACM). They are licensed experts responsible for determining the presence, quantity, and placement of ACM or presumed asbestos-containing material (PACM) in a building or on a construction site. They also perform asbestos inspection, which entails assessing whether or not hazardous asbestos-containing materials are present in a building or portions of a structure where proposed demolition or renovation operations are to take place.
Asbestos inspectors may conduct visual inspections or surveillance of facilities to identify and document materials suspected of containing asbestos. They may also collect bulk samples for asbestos analysis and prepare inspection reports and related documentation.
How to Become an Asbestos Surveyor in Pennsylvania?
Asbestos surveyors perform similar responsibilities as building inspectors carry out quite similar activities. They conduct inspections of buildings and collect samples to assess whether or not asbestos is present. Moreover, they conduct testing and may propose that hazardous items be professionally removed before restorations or demolitions are carried out if necessary.
According to state rules, it is unlawful for anybody to engage in any asbestos-related employment (worker, supervisor, project designer, inspector, manager, planner, or contractor) unless they have obtained the necessary certification from the DLI. For this reason, applicants for certification as asbestos inspectors must have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and complete a nationally recognized and authorized asbestos inspector training course.
Online Asbestos Certification in Pennsylvania
Generally, to be certified in an asbestos occupation in Pennsylvania, an applicant must submit a completed application on a form provided by the department, the required fee, and a copy of the training certificate obtained. Incomplete or non-compliant applications and those that do not include the necessary registration fee will not be processed by the department. The certification process may be initiated online by visiting the DLI's website and following the instructions set forth for Asbestos occupations certifications.
How Long are Asbestos Certificates Valid for in Pennsylvania?
Certification for asbestos occupations in Pennsylvania is valid for one year from the date of training, except in the case of the following vocations, which have a three-year validity period:
- Asbestos worker (Restricted asbestos handler)
- Asbestos worker (Operations and maintenance individual)
- Asbestos worker (Roofing/Siding)
- Asbestos worker (Resilient floor covering removal)
Asbestos Certificate Renewal in Pennsylvania
Chapter 401.43 of the Act mandates that an individual must submit a renewal application to maintain certification. They will require the appropriate renewal payments and a copy of the refresher training certificate to complete the renewal process.
The fees for asbestos certification renewal vary depending on the type of asbestos profession. Persons whose certifications expire every year must pay the following fees for renewal:
- Asbestos management planner: $300
- Asbestos project designer: $300
- Asbestos project monitor: $300
- Asbestos inspector: $300
- Asbestos contractor: $500
- Asbestos supervisor: $100
- Asbestos worker: $50
- Asbestos air sampling technician: $50
Some asbestos occupations whose certifications expire every three years are subject to the following renewal fees:
- Asbestos worker (roofing/siding): $100
- Asbestos worker (resilient floor covering remover): $100
- Asbestos worker (restricted asbestos handler): $100
- Asbestos worker (asbestos operations and maintenance individual): $100
In general, it is advisable to examine the fee schedule provided on the website or to contact the department for a copy of the charge and fees schedule before proceeding. In addition, the office is available to address any queries regarding certification or renewal.
Phone: (717) 772-3396
Fax: (717) 705-0196
Payment must be paid using a check or money order made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The completed application form, together with payment and any extra paperwork should be mailed to:
PA Department of Labor and Industry
Certification, Accreditation and Licensing Division
651 Boas Street, Room 1606
Harrisburg, PA 17121