ACM Waste

Last updated: September 3, 2019

What Does ACM Waste Mean?

ACM waste refers to waste products that include asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). ACM refers specifically to friable asbestos, which means that ACM waste is a form of hazardous waste. The definition of an ACM can vary by jurisdiction; OSHA defines ACMs as all materials containing at least 1% asbestos, while the Ontario Ministry of Labour defines ACMs as all materials containing at least 0.5% asbestos by dry weight.

Due to their carcinogenic properties and the frequency with which they are found, specific regulations apply to the handling of ACMs, including their disposal. ACM waste is most commonly created as the result of construction projects that involve the disturbance or removal of ACMs.

Safeopedia Explains ACM Waste

The regulatory framework for the occupational handling of ACM waste products is dealt with through multiple asbestos-specific standards. In the United States, OSHA, the Department of Transportation (DoT), and the EPA all maintain regulations related to the handling of ACMs, including those as waste products.

Because the legal requirements for handling asbestos waste differ from OSHA’s requirements for handling hazardous waste, ACM waste is not considered a hazardous waste for U.S. regulatory purposes. This separation is strictly a regulatory matter. Other jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, address ACM waste as a subsection of its hazardous waste regulations, and OSHA recognizes asbestos and hazardous waste as being related topics.

OSHA provides separate specific standards for the handling of asbestos in general industry, construction work, and shipyard work. These standards require employers to ensure that all ACM waste is promptly disposed of in leak-tight containers, These standards also require the use of vacuum cleaners and ventilation systems equipped with filtration units capable of removing waste dust and other ACM particulates from the environment.

For construction work, most occupational safety authorities provide building owners with specific responsibilities related to communicating ACM hazards to workers so that the workers will not inadvertently create and handle ACM waste without taking proper safety precautions. In some jurisdictions, such as the Canadian province of Ontario, regulations related to asbestos-handling must be followed in all buildings that contain asbestos, even if it is not suspected that asbestos will be encountered during the course of the project.


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