Golf Course Management

APR 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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30 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 04.18 Check out some of the asbestos-containing products that are banned and those that are not at www.epa.gov/asbestos/us-feder - al-bans-asbestos . • The less-than-1 percent standard does not guarantee your safety. Exposure to minute amounts of asbestos can result in disease. • Repairing or remodeling a structure built before 1985 or so? Best to assume that the drywall, joint compound, insulation, glue, pipe insulation, etc., may have asbes - tos. Before you demo or remodel a building get it tested for asbestos. • Transite pipe contains asbestos and is per - vasive in mid-century construction. Tran- site pipe was used in irrigation, chimneys and vents. This pipe is still functioning in many applications today. Have you ever been digging and found old irrigation pipe that looked like it was coated in concrete or fibrous material? It was likely transite pipe. Don't overlook this product and the hazard it poses. • Did your facility used to bury construction waste from a bygone era? Did you find a pile of buried construction waste when dig - ging out that new bunker? These materials may contain asbestos, and when disturbed, they expose workers and contaminate sur - rounding soils. • Be aware of products containing vermiculite. Vermiculite itself is not deemed hazardous, but because it is mined in areas closely associ - ated with asbestos minerals, vermiculite may contain asbestos. See www.epa.gov/asbestos/ protect-your-family-asbestos-contaminated- vermiculite-insulation . "Call before you dig" is a common best management practice for all excavation activi - ties. How about, "If you suspect it, you test it" for asbestos? Not as catchy, but worth repeat - ing often enough to make it another standard Asbestos exposure is generally not regarded as an occupational hazard for the golf indus - try. Workers in the automotive industry, mil- itary, construction trades and mining seemed to have the worst of it. However, because of its pervasive use in construction materials and subsequent waste streams, asbestos continues to persist in many of our work environments. As employers and supervisors, we need to rec - ognize the risks that may expose our workers and the public to this hazardous material. Asbestos 101. Asbestos is a naturally occur - ring mineral with incredible tensile strength and heat and flame resistance. Because of these qualities, it was widely used in the 1940s through 1970s in concrete, insulation, tiles, adhesive, transite pipe and other con - struction materials. Exposure to asbestos can result in lung dis - eases and a specific lung cancer called meso- thelioma. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers reside deep in the lungs. Cells form around the fiber, causing scar tissue and disease. Won' appen to me. When I initially heard about asbestos-containing materials in to - day's workplace, I seriously thought, "What is the big deal?" It was banned decades ago, and I work in golf, so there must be zero risk for me to encounter this material. I see the legal ads for mesothelioma claims and think it will not happen to me because asbestos expo - sure is not my workplace hazard. I was wrong. Here are some facts on asbestos in our work - place today: • Asbestos isn't banned in the United States. Products that have historically con- tained asbestos and contain less than 1 percent asbestos are permitted in the U.S. Asbestos exposure: A hidden hazard on your golf course? (environment) Pamela C. Smith, CGCS greenskeeper99@yahoo.com best management practice to reduce expo- sure to asbestos hazards for your home and work projects. There are businesses that specialize in the identification, cleanup and disposal of as - bestos. It is cheaper to catch an asbestos haz- ard before you disturb the material. Costs for cleanup multiply greatly after it has been disturbed and deposited in the soil and sur - rounding workplace. If the health risks aren't scary enough to cause you a "suspect it, test it" moment, then consider the regulations and fines associated with improper handling of asbestos-contain - ing products. Fines levied by states and mu- nicipalities for failing to properly abate asbes- tos can quickly escalate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, making the cost of plan - ning and abatement a worthwhile financial en- deavor. W at you can do. Have a demo or re - model project coming up and not sure about the building materials? Have them tested be - fore you begin work. Dig up suspect materials? Stop work and call in an expert to test. If it con - tains asbestos, have the abatement professionals remove it. Educate your staff on the dangers of asbestos by scheduling annual training with an occupational health and safety professional. As stewards of our workplace and environment, we can do our part to make certain asbestos is not one of our occupational hazards. Pamela C. Smith, CGCS, is an attorney and director of agronomy for a large city. She is a 27-year member of GCSAA. Transite pipe , an asbestos-cement product, was used extensively in potable water systems, irrigation, chimneys and vents in the mid-1900s. Photo by Vincent Noel/Shutterstock.com

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