- 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 https://www.osha.gov.
April 26, 1994
Mr. Michael B. Sember
National Plastek, Inc.
7050 Dutton Industrial Park Drive
Dutton, Michigan 49316
Dear Mr. Sember:
This is in response to your letter of January 13, to Mr. Gail Brinkerhoff of my staff concerning bags for collecting and disposing of asbestos waste. Please accept our apology for the long delay in providing our response.
You requested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determine what specifications must be met, and what testing procedures should be conducted, to ensure that bags for collecting and disposing of asbestos waste are of the necessary quality and consistency. OSHA believes that its performance requirements for the bags at [29 CFR 1926.1101(l)(2)] in the Construction Asbestos Standard and at 29 CFR 1910.1001(k)(6) in the General Industry Asbestos Standard make bag specifications unnecessary and that procedures for testing the bags for quality and consistency is best left to the discretion of the manufacturers. Rule [29 CFR 1926.1101(l)(2)] in the Construction Asbestos Standard reads,
"Waste disposal. Asbestos waste, scrap, debris, bags, containers, equipment, and contaminated clothing consigned for disposal shall be collected and disposed of in sealed, labeled, impermeable bags or other closed, labeled, impermeable containers..." (Note: Rule 29 CFR 1910.1001(k)(6) in the General Industry Asbestos Standard is essentially, but not exactly, the same.)
The requirement that the bags be impermeable forces the quality of the bags to be high enough to fit the situation. An impermeable bag is a bag that is not only made of material that dust cannot penetrate, but is also a bag that is not punctured or torn in the particular situation of its use. If an employer cannot find a bag that does not tear or puncture in a particular situation, then the employer must use another type of container that does not tear or puncture.
We appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter for you.
Ruth E. McCully, Director
[Office of Health Enforcement]