- Safety and Health Topics
Asbestos hazards are addressed in specific standards for the construction industry.
This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal Register notices (rules, proposed rules), directives (instruction to OSHA staff), letters of interpretation (official letters of interpretation of the standards), and national consensus standards related to asbestos.
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- 1926 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
- 1926.1101, Asbestos
- Appendix A, OSHA reference method - Mandatory
- Appendix B, Sampling and analysis - Non-mandatory
- Appendix C, Qualitative and quantitative fit testing procedures - Mandatory
- Appendix D, Medical questionnaires; Mandatory
- Appendix E, Interpretation and classification of chest roentgenograms - Mandatory
- Appendix F, Work practices and engineering controls for class I asbestos operations - Non-mandatory
- Appendix G, [Reserved]
- Appendix H, Substance technical information for asbestos - Non-mandatory
- Appendix I, Medical surveillance guidelines for asbestos, non-mandatory
- Appendix J, Smoking cessation program information for asbestos, Non-mandatory
- Appendix K, Polarized light microscopy of asbestos - Non-mandatory
- 1926.1101, Asbestos
- For additional information on specific state plans or other general standards, see the general industry Asbestos page.
Federal Register Notices
- Assigned Protection Factors; Final Rule. Final Rules 71:50121-50192, (August 24, 2006). Revises the existing Respiratory Protection Standard to add definitions and requirements for Assigned Protection Factors (APFs) and Maximum Use Concentrations (MUCs). The revisions also supersede the respirator selection provisions of existing substance-specific standards, including the Asbestos Standards, with these new APFs.
- Technical Amendments. Final Rules 71:16669-16675, (April 3, 2006).
- Inspection Procedures for Occupational Exposure to Asbestos Final Rule 29 CFR Parts 1910.1001, 1926.1101, and 1915.1001. CPL 02-02-063 [CPL 2-2.63 CH-1], (January 9, 1996).
- Occupational Exposure to Asbestos, Tremolite, Antrohyllite, and Actinolite; Final Rules Amending Present Standards in General Industry (29 CFR 1910.1001) and in Construction (29 CFR 1926.58), and Lift. CSP 01-01-026 [STP 2-1.126A], (October 21, 1992).
Letters of Interpretation
- Compliance requirements for renovation work involving material containing less than 1% asbestos. (November 24, 2003).
- Applicable asbestos standard for replacing a rubber encapsulated asbestos gasket. (September 10, 2003).
- Application of Asbestos Standards to repair and maintenance operations. (September 26, 2001).
- Asbestos training for removing asphaltic coatings from utility pipe. (May 19, 2014).
- Numerous questions on the removal of asbestos containing gaskets. (November 10, 2011).
- Glove bag requirements for outdoor removal of intact and non-intact asbestos-containing gaskets under 1926.1101. (November 11, 2007).
- Classification of removal of asbestos-containing gaskets; requirement to conduct removal in a "glove bag". (April 5, 2007).
- Clarification of decontamination procedures for employees involved in Class I asbestos work. (March 1, 2007).
- Engineering controls for removal of asbestos-containing construction mastic (Class II work operations). (August 3, 2005).
- Construction industry asbestos standard, 1926.1101, as applied to the demolition of buildings containing installed asbestos. (June 27, 2005).
- Prohibitions and/or restrictions on aggressive methods for removing asbestos-containing mastic from floors. (May 18, 2005).
- Construction industry asbestos standard definition of "regulated area" and requirements for work involving materials of <1% asbestos for demolition and sheetrock projects. (February 1, 2005)
- Application of the asbestos standard and labeling requirements to gaskets or packings containing >1% asbestos. (December 22, 2003).
- Application of construction standard to demolition operations involving material less than 1% asbestos. (October 27, 2003).
- Aggressive vs non-aggressive removal of asbestos-containing flooring material; negative exposure assessment methods for direct and indirect employee exposures. (May 7, 2003).
- Application of the asbestos standard to demolition of buildings with ACM in place. (August 26, 2002).
- Application of the Asbestos Standard to the removal of ACM debris and intact material. (August 26, 2002).
- Application of the asbestos standard to demolition of buildings with ACM in place. (August 26, 2002). Discusses OSHA requirements when demolishing buildings with ACM left in place.
- Responsibility of each person involved in Class I glovebag removal operations. (September 18, 1997).
- Glove bag methods for control of exposure to airborne asbestos. (May 15, 1997).
- Clarification of Asbestos standard. (August 26, 2006). Provides clarification concerning asbestos-containing paint.
- Glove bag use. (May 22, 1996).
- The use of "pipe cases" manufactured by Therm-Equip, Inc., in lieu of standard glove bags. (December 15, 1995). States that the use of "pipe cases" complies with the asbestos standard for the removal of asbestos from high-temperature (up to 700 degrees F) pipes and ducts.
- Negative exposure assessment for 1926.1101. (December 4, 1995).
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) requirements for asbestos removal bags. (November 17, 1994).
- High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters For Vacuum Cleaning. (September 6, 1990). States that "cold" DOP aerosol is not acceptable for use in testing and certifying the efficiency of HEPA filters.
- Portam Process asbestos abatement equipment use for asbestos removal. (August 23, 1990). Discusses OSHA's intent. OSHA does not approve or certify equipment or processes for use in the workplace.
- Red Baron Negative Air Enclosure System. (May 3, 1990).
- Effectiveness of the Glove Box for removal of asbestos-containing pipe insulation. (April 4, 1990).
Sampling & analysis, and characteristics of asbestos-containing materials
- Correct manner to interpret air sample measurements of an employee's asbestos exposure when the samples are overloaded. (January 17, 2006).
- Use of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) instead of Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) to determine asbestos concentrations in air samples. (June 30, 2005).
- Sheetrock and joint compound. (April 28, 1997). States that OSHA regards sheetrock (drywall) and joint compound as separate materials.
- Compliance with OSHA's Asbestos Standard - Composite Bulk Samples. (February 7, 1997).
- Clarification of Asbestos Standard for construction. (June 28, 1996). Sampling of bulk materials.
- Clarification of the requirement for representative monitoring under the asbestos standard for construction. (September 8, 1987).
- Definition of "statistically reliable measurements" in 1926.58(f)(4). (August 20, 1987).
Building evaluation and use
- Installing a barrier film over asbestos-containing flooring. (April 21, 2014).
- OSHA's position on the acceptability of digital radiography in place of traditional chest roentgenograms. (January 16, 2007).
- Requirement for facility owners to notify tenants or employers of presence of ACM and PACM. (January 16, 2007).
- Building owner's requirement to determine and communicate the hazards from installed ACM and PACM. (September 6, 2005).
- Building and/or facility owner notification requirements. (February 21, 1996). Discusses building and/or facility owner notification requirements in OSHA's general industry asbestos standard.
- OSHA Asbestos Standard. (January 24, 1996). Discusses clarification on three issues related to the asbestos standard: warning labels and signs, training for Class III workers, and when working at costumer locations.
- Clarification of OSHA's asbestos standards for general industry and construction and the respiratory protection standard as applied to medical surveillance of employees. (May 10, 2007).
- Employee's rights upon termination to access to physician's written opinion and respirator fit test results. (October 20, 2005).
- Classification of asbestos work for employees performing asbestos inspections and obtaining bulk samples. (April 28, 1997).
- Training requirements of the competent person for Class II roofing work. (April 2, 1996).
- After changing protective clothing for a lunch break, it should not be reused for the balance of the shift. (June 21, 1993).
- Trailer mounted vacuum system and bagging station used in asbestos abatement. (August 10, 1990).
- Asbestos and the Hazard Communication Standard. (December 26, 1989).
- Interpretation of 1926.58, training and medical surveillance as condition of employment. (December 13, 1989).
- Evaluation of X-rays and pulmonary function tests for early diagnosis of lung disease. (February 4, 1985). Discusses the notification of employees of medical test results.
- OSHA's position on the acceptability of digital radiography in place of traditional chest roentgenograms. (September 24, 2012).
- Notification of alternative control methods for Class I asbestos work no longer required; notification requirement eliminated. (November 13, 2006).
- Asbestos Standard for Construction. (September 4, 1996). Discusses when the construction standard or the general standard applies during cleanup of asbestos.
- HAZWOPER and Asbestos standards apply to any emergency response to an uncontrolled hazardous substance release involving the presence of asbestos. (April 26, 1994). Provides clarification on the use of direct reading instruments during the initial response phase to an emergency release of asbestos.
Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
- ASTM E1368-14 (2014), Standard Practice for Visual Inspection of Asbestos Abatement Projects. Establishes accepted practices for evaluating asbestos abatement projects.
- ASTM E2356-14 (2014), Standard Practice for Comprehensive Building Asbestos Surveys. This practice describes procedures for conducting comprehensive surveys of buildings and facilities for the purpose of locating, identifying, quantifying, and assessing asbestos-containing materials.
- ASTM E2394-11 (2011), Standard Practice for Maintenance, Renovation and Repair of Installed Asbestos Cement Products. This practice describes work practices for asbestos-cement products when maintenance, renovation, and repair are required. This includes common tasks such as drilling and cutting holes in roofing, siding, pipes, etc. that can result in exposure to asbestos fibers if not done carefully.
- Asbestos Standard for the Construction Industry (PDF). OSHA Publication 3096, (Revised 2002). Provides OSHA guidelines for asbestos in construction.
- Potential Asbestos Contamination in Soft Concrete. Hazard Information Bulletin (HIB), (October 8, 1998). Alerts construction workers and employers to the hazard posed by "soft concrete", a mixture of asbestos/concrete, that was used as a 2 to 10 inch roofing layer.
Evaluating and Controlling Exposure
- The Asbestos Advisor. OSHA Expert Systems. Provides interactive compliance assistance. Once installed on your PC, it can interview you about buildings and worksites, and the kinds of tasks workers perform there. It will produce guidance on how the Asbestos Standard may apply to those buildings.
Medical surveillance guidance is provided in the following appendix to the OSHA Standards:
- 29 CFR 1926.1101 - Appendix D, Medical questionnaires; Mandatory.
Exposure monitoring samples must be analyzed by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) for OSHA purposes. PCM methods accurately assess fiber exposure levels, but PCM can not differentiate between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) methods may be used to identify fibers, but may not be used to quantify air concentrations for occupational exposure.
- OSHA reference method - Mandatory. OSHA Standard, 29 CFR 1926.1101 Appendix A.
- Sampling and analysis - Non-mandatory. OSHA Standard, 29 CFR 1926.1101 Appendix B.
Bulk sample analysis
Bulk sample analysis should be done by Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM). Bulk analysis results will likely apply to both OSHA and EPA regulations.
- Polarized Light Microscopy of Asbestos. OSHA Method ID-191, (December 1992). Describes the collection and analysis of asbestos bulk materials by light microscopy techniques including phase-polar illumination and central-stop dispersion microscopy.
- Polarized Light Microscopy of Asbestos - Non-mandatory. OSHA Standard, 29 CFR 1926.1101 Appendix K.
- Work practices and engineering controls for class I asbestos operations - Non-mandatory. OSHA Standard, 29 CFR 1926.1101 Appendix F. Offers work practices and engineering controls for asbestos removal.
- Asbestos NESHAP Adequately Wet Guidance. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (December 1990). Emphasizes the need for proper wetting of asbestos-containing material prior to removal.
- Asbestos NESHAP - Renovation and Demolition of Buildings. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Summarizes EPA-accepted work practices.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- 29 CFR 1926.1101 - OSHA's Asbestos Standard for the Construction Industry. OSHA Slide Presentation.
- Significant Issues Addressed by the Construction Standard 29 CFR 1926.1101. OSHA.
- Construction. OSHA's Alliance Program. This is one of OSHA's Strategic Management Plan Focus Areas.