- 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.
November 20, 1998
Mr. Gayle E. Anderson
Management and Services, Inc.
2525 E. Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, IOWA 50317
Dear Mr. Anderson:
This is in response to your letter of August 7, 1997, addressed to Mr. Gregory R. Watchman, former Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), concerning the building owner requirements contained in the asbestos standards for General Industry, 29 CFR 1910.1001, and Construction, 29 CFR 1926.1101. This response is delayed because we had misplaced your letter. Please accept our apology.
You ask several questions. We will quote each question and then provide an answer.
Question 1. Have there been any law suits (by the Service Employees International Union, or others) challenging the inspection/survey provisions of the above cited Regulations? If so, please provide a synoptic summary of the court challenges, their results and current status.
Answer 1. Some unions filed petitions against the "inspection/survey provisions" but they withdrew their petitions after OSHA corrected errors in the standards or clarified the real intent of the standards. Safe Buildings Alliance also filed a petition against the requirements relating to building owners. The issues raised by this petition were resolved by settlement agreement (copy enclosed). We have no synoptic summary of the court challenges to provide you because none of the suits reached the stage where the petitioners prepared briefs.
Question 2. Has your Administration published any up to date pamphlets that effected building owners can use as a guide for complying with the inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations? If so, please forward five copies of each publication.
Answer 2. The pamphlet, Asbestos Standard for General Industry, OSHA 3095, and the pamphlet, Asbestos Standard for the Construction Industry, OSHA 3096, contain information that affected building owners may find helpful. We have provided five copies of each pamphlet. Employers can access a software advisor, Asbestos Advisor 2.0, on OSHA's world wide web site. The software provides interactive expert help. It is for building owners, managers and lessees, as well as for contractors of building renovation, maintenance, and housekeeping services. Once installed on your PC, the advisor interviews you about a building. It then asks follow-up questions based on your answers, and writes a report on your responsibilities under the Asbestos rules.
Question 3. What are your Administration's enforcement policies regarding the inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations?
Answer 3. The normal enforcement policy is pursued. We have enclosed the pamphlet, OSHA 2098, OSHA Inspections, and the OSHA Compliance Instruction, CPL 2-2.63, "Inspection Procedures for Occupational Exposure to Asbestos" to explain OSHA's enforcement policies.
Question 4. Have any building owners been charged or cited for noncompliance with the inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations? If so, please provide a synopsis of the details of each incidence of noncompliance. Include amounts of fines assessed in each incident.
Answer 4. The data OSHA compiles does not contain the details of each incidence of noncompliance. Our data can be searched for the number of citations issued and for penalty amounts and we will provide this information for you soon. We did not have the information ready when we mailed this letter.
Question 5. Has your Administration provided written guidance to OSHA offices regarding their responsibilities for reactively or proactively enforcing inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations? If so, please provide a copy of the written guidance.
Answer 5. The National office has published OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.63, "Inspection Procedures for Occupation Exposure to Asbestos." This document provides guidelines and policies for OSHA compliance personnel. Appendix C, page 31, addresses building owner responsibilities.
Question 6. Does your Administration plan to recommend legislation or to modify your policies regarding the inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations that would force building owners to comply with inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations?
Answer 6. It is OSHA policy to enforce the building owner requirements and current legislation permits OSHA to enforce them at the present time.
Question 7. What is the name, address, and telephone number of the president of the Service Employees International Union or other union that apparently was responsible for the court decision that precipitated the promulgation of the above cited Regulations?
Answer 7. OSHA does not routinely provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of private outside individuals with whom the Agency has interactions. The telephone number of the Service Employees International Union may be available to you publicly from directory assistance in Washington, D.C.
Question 8. What are the names, addresses and telephones of any other individuals, organizations, unions or entities that have made legal challenges to the inspection/survey requirements in the above cited Regulations?
Answer 8. There are no other individuals, organizations, unions, or entities that have made legal challenges to the "inspection/survey" requirements.
We appreciate the opportunity to clarify these matters for you. If you have further questions, you may wish to contact OSHA's Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-2190.
Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Compliance Programs