The legislature hereby finds and declares that exposure to asbestos fibers, a known carcinogenic agent, creates a serious risk to the public health and safety. The legislature also finds that the public is more frequently exposed to these risks as a result of an increasing number of rehabilitation and reconstruction projects on buildings containing asbestos or asbestos materials. The legislature finds that the risks associated with asbestos are exacerbated by the improper and uninformed manner in which some contractors and their employees handle asbestos. Improper design, implementation or inspection of asbestos projects creates unnecessary health and safety hazards which are detrimental to the state’s interest, and that of its citizens. The legislature, therefore, finds and declares it to be its purpose and policy to reduce asbestos related hazards by encouraging proper training of persons employed to design, implement or inspect asbestos projects and those who supervise or employ them, by requiring the licensing of contractors and the certification of individuals involved in asbestos projects pursuant to regulations promulgated by the commissioner, prior to the removal, enclosure, encapsulation or disturbance of friable asbestos or any handling of asbestos material which may result in the release of asbestos fiber and by conferring upon the commissioner the authority to inspect ongoing asbestos projects and promulgate and enforce safety and health standards regulating the conduct of those projects through injunctions, and the imposition of civil and criminal penalties.