- Standard Number:
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
December 13, 1989
MEMORANDUM FOR: MICHAEL G. CONNORS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR THROUGH: LEO CAREY, DIRECTOR OFFICE OF FIELD PROGRAMS FROM: THOMAS J. SHEPICH, DIRECTOR DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS SUBJECT: Interpretation of 29 CFR 1926.1101 Training and Medical Surveillance as Condition of Employment
This is in response to your memorandum of November 16, regarding training and medical surveillance provisions under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)'s asbestos standard 29 CFR [1926.1101].
The standard requires the employer to institute a medical surveillance program for all employees engaged in work involving levels of asbestos at or above the action level and or the excursion limit for 30 or more days per year or who are required to wear a negative pressure respirator. Training must also be provided to those employees exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos in excess of the action level.
[This document was edited on 8/12/99 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy.]
The standard does not prohibit the employer from requiring "prospective" employees to obtain training and medical examination as conditions for employment. These "prospective" employees are free to choose to work for other employers who do not set these pre-employment conditions. Once these workers are hired, however, their employer will then be responsible to provide or continue to provide the training and medical surveillance programs. The employer also has to ensure that the training and medical examination these employees received prior to actual employment are adequately conducted and meet the requirements of the standard.
In other words, to address your concern specifically, you have correctly interpreted the standard, which does place the financial burden of medical examinations, training courses, and worker's time on the employer. However, please note that these provisions are triggered only after the employer hires these workers, who then become his/her employees. Pre-employment conditions are not within this Agency's jurisdiction. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again.