Environmental Health & Safety

HEPA Vacuum Policy


January 2010

In accordance with the requirements of the Amherst College Physical Plant Environmental Health & Safety Policy, OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1001 and 29 CFR 1910.1025 the following guidelines have been established to reduce the risk of incident and illness when it comes to working in areas where asbestos and lead dust or related material may be present. HEPA vacuums are to be used when an employee of Amherst College Physical Plant is…

  1. Working in the Carpentry or Paint Shop(s) on surfaces that have or may have been painted at some point with lead paint.
  2. Working on the interior / exterior surfaces of Amherst College properties that have or may have had lead based paint applied to them.  Provided the above referenced employee has received the required training from an accredited asbestos or lead certified training facility
  3. Working on window repairs in, on or from buildings that may have had caulking and/or glazing with trace amounts of asbestos fibers mixed in.
  4. Cleaning an area that contains a known dust (i.e. fire extinguisher powder) that could be improperly discharged from the exhaust of a normal vacuum, such as a wet / dry.

Known dust shall not include a dust, powder or other material from a laboratory building such as Life or Merrill Sciences, Pratt Museum or the Hazardous Materials Storage Building.

  • Assigned the responsibility of cleaning any mechanical area, room or space that has or may contain asbestos floor tile,asbestos pipe covering, spray-on asbestos fire proofing or lead paint.
    • Under no circumstances can a mechanical area, room or space be dry swept if there is or may have the potential to contain asbestos or lead based dust or paint.
    • Wet mopping (provided no electrical hazards exist) can be substituted for HEPA vacuuming in these areas.
If the employee and / or their supervisor is uncertain about whether or not an area, building, room, space or window contains or has the potential to contain asbestos or lead based paint, they should contact the Environmental Health & Safety Office at 542-8189 or 543-2254 before beginning work activities. It is the responsibility of each and every supervisor to oversee the implementation and enforcement of this guideline. The Director of Facilities Planning and Management, the Assistant Director for Operations, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee and the office of Environmental Health and Safety at Physical Plant have implemented this program for reasons of safety, health, and liability.