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.



September 13, 1999

Mr. Jerry M. Gillooly
Safety Director
Bohl Equipment Company
534 Laskey Road
Toledo, Ohio 43612

Dear Mr. Gillooly:

Thank you for your July 20, 1999 letter to Assistant Secretary Charles N. Jeffress, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You enclosed a copy of your January 5, 1999 letter which was referred to OSHA's [Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP)] for a response. You presented several questions in your January 5 letter regarding 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3), the section of the General Industry Asbestos Standard which sets out specific compliance methods for brake and clutch repair. We apologize for the delay in our reply.

Question 1: Do the compliance methods mandated by 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3) apply to working on the brakes and clutches of the following classes of equipment:



  • Trucks, trailers, and semi-trailers of any size or type;
  • Earth moving, haulage, and other construction equipment;
  • Fork lifts and other powered industrial trucks;
  • Motorcycles;
  • Tractors: agricultural or industrial;
  • Golf carts and similar light haulage vehicles;
  • Cranes and hoists;
  • Elevators and material hoists; and
  • Railroad locomotives and cars?

Answer: The repair of brakes or clutches on cranes and hoists, elevators and material hoists, and railroad locomotives and cars is not within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3). However, such repair on certain individual units among the other classes of equipment listed above is within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3).

The individual units for which repair work is within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3) are those that use brake drums and shoes, brake pads and rotors, or clutch disks and pressure plates of the same design and similar size to those used on passenger automobiles. If these components are more than 25 percent larger than those used on full-sized passenger cars, then the brake or clutch repair is not within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3). However, the standard does apply if the components are smaller than those used on full-sized passenger cars.

Question 2: If 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3) does not apply to the repair of the brakes or clutch on a vehicle or machine and the employer uses one of the preferred methods listed in Appendix F to the General Industry Asbestos Standard would such a situation be in compliance with the requirement at 29 CFR 1910.1001(f) to institute engineering controls?

Answer: The employer would be in compliance if the preferred method maintains all employee exposures below both asbestos permissible exposure limits (PELs). If not, then the employer would be in compliance only if he can demonstrate that there are no other, or additional, controls that could feasibly be used to further reduce employee asbestos exposures.

Question 3: If it is unknown whether the brake or clutch materials to be disturbed contain asbestos, does OSHA require that one of the "preferred" methods or a documented "equivalent" method be used?

Answer: Yes, if the work performed comes within the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3).

Question 4: If the employer has a reasonable basis, such as an MSDS, to believe that the brake or clutch materials to be disturbed do not contain asbestos, does OSHA still require that one of the "preferred" methods or a documented "equivalent" method be used for all brake and clutch work?

Answer: OSHA does not require that one of the "preferred" methods or a documented "equivalent" method be used for repairing brakes or clutches that use friction materials which do not contain asbestos.

Question 5: What effect does a negative initial monitoring result have on the requirement to use the engineering controls specified in the above-cited standard and appendix? In other words, if the PEL is not exceeded, even though brake and clutch materials may contain asbestos, is there any requirement to do anything under 1910.1001 other than re-monitoring if conditions change?

Answer: Unless asbestos is known not to be present in the friction material, the employer must observe the specific compliance methods for brake and clutch repair specified under 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3) regardless of previous employee exposure monitoring results. Moreover, the implementation of 29 CFR 1910.1001(f)(3) is expected to maintain employee exposures well under both asbestos PELs and eliminate the need to monitor those exposures under normal circumstances.

The only reason for an employer to monitor employee exposures is to determine if the elements of the particular asbestos control method are being correctly observed. If monitoring results show that employee exposures are averaging more than 0.016 f/cc, the employer should examine the implementation of that particular control method in order to identify the deficiency in its observance.

Question 6: Where initial monitoring of representative brake and clutch work activities has indicated that employee exposures at or above the PEL or excursion limit may be reasonably foreseen, AND work is performed off the employer's premises, for example, at a customer's establishment or in a public space, is there a requirement to establish a regulated area around the vehicle? If so, who has that responsibility?

Answer: Yes, the employer of the employees performing the brake or clutch work is required to establish a regulated area around the vehicle in such a situation. The boundary of the regulated area must be set sufficiently far from the vehicle to include the area where the airborne concentrations of asbestos exceed either of the PELs.

Question 7: Under the preceding scenario, who is responsible for the disposal of any ACM waste?

Answer: The employer of the employees performing the clutch or brake work is responsible for cleaning up the ACM waste and placing it in labeled sealed impermeable bags, or other closed, impermeable containers. You should contact the Environmental Protection Agency for clarification as to which party has responsibility for the waste after it has been placed in the bags or other containers.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that OSHA's enforcement guidance is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. Such guidance could also be affected by subsequent rulemaking. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance provided herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact OSHA's [Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190].


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 6/2/2005]