Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1910.134; 1910.1001; 1910.1001(g); 1910.1001(g)(1); 1910.1001(l); 1926.1101; 1926.1101(h) ; 1926.1101(h)(1) ; 1926.1101(h)(2) ; 1926.1101(h)(2)(ii) ; 1926.1101(l)(4) ; 1926.1101(m)(1)(i)|
The employer must implement a respiratory protection program in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.134(b) through (d) (except (d)(1)(iii)), and (f) through (m).Note that paragraph 1910.134(e), Medical Evaluation, was not included in the above provision for the respiratory protection program of the Asbestos standards. That medical evaluation provision in the Respiratory Protection standard, 1910.134(e), requires employers to have a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) perform medical evaluations using a medical questionnaire or an initial medical examination that obtains the same information as the medical questionnaire in an appendix to the Respiratory Protection standard - Appendix C to §1910.134: OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Mandatory).
[E]ach of the existing substance-specific OSHA standards includes unique medical-evaluation requirements for employees who use respirators. OSHA believes that the medical-evaluation requirements for respirator use established under its existing substance-specific standards provide a high degree of medical protection to employees who are required to use respirators to control their exposures to the airborne substances regulated by the substance-specific standards. In addition, the medical-evaluation requirements for respirator use in the substance-specific standards are part of a comprehensive, integrated medical-surveillance program designed to evaluate employees for conditions and risks associated with exposure to the regulated substances; consequently, OSHA believes that any revision to the frequency or content of medical evaluations for respirator use would unnecessarily disrupt ongoing medical-surveillance programs and, therefore, jeopardize the health of employees who must use respirators to prevent exposure to hazardous workplace substances. (63 FR 1267)Since the Asbestos standards already required a standardized medical questionnaire to be administered to employees to assist a physician's evaluation of medical history with particular emphasis on the respiratory system, the Respirator Questionnaire in 1910.134 was not necessary.
1910.1001(g)(1)(i) - Periods necessary to install or implement feasible engineering and work-practice controls;For asbestos in construction, the criteria for respiratory protection are listed in eight (8) subparagraphs 1926.1101(h)(1)(i)-1926.1101(h)(1)(viii), wherein respirators must be used during:
1910.1001(g)(1)(ii) - Work operations, such as maintenance and repair activities, for which engineering and work-practice controls are not feasible;
1910.1001(g)(1)(iii) - Work operations for which feasible engineering and work-practice controls are not yet sufficient to reduce employee exposure to or below the TWA and/or excursion limit; or,
1910.1001(g)(1)(iv) - Emergencies.
1926.1101(h)(1)(i) -Class I asbestos work;Your question describes the situation where an employer has instituted engineering and work practice controls so that employees are no longer exposed to asbestos above the TWA or excursion limit, which corresponds to the elimination of only one of the above criteria for respirators, i.e., 1910.1001(g)(1)(iii) or 1926.1101(h)(1)(vii). If the employer can also show that all of the other respirator criteria above do not apply to the asbestos work, then medical surveillance is no longer required. However, if any of these remaining criteria apply, then the employer must continue to provide certain medical surveillance or examinations, described below.
1926.1101(h)(1)(ii) - Class II asbestos work when [asbestos-containing material (ACM)] is not removed in a substantially intact state;
1926.1101(h)(1)(iii) - Class II and III asbestos work that is not performed using wet methods, except for removal of ACM from sloped roofs when a negative-exposure assessment has been conducted and ACM is removed in an intact state;
1926.1101(h)(1)(iv) - Class II and III asbestos work for which a negative-exposure assessment has not been conducted;
1926.1101(h)(1)(v) - Class III asbestos work when TSI or surfacing ACM or [presumed asbestos-containing material (PACM)] is being disturbed;
1926.1101(h)(1)(vi) - Class IV asbestos work performed within regulated areas where employees who are performing other work are required to use respirators;
1926.1101(h)(1)(vii) - Work operations covered by this section for which employees are exposed above the TWA or excursion limit; or,
1926.1101(h)(1)(viii) - Emergencies.
No employee shall be assigned to asbestos work that requires respirator use if, based on their most recent medical examination, the examining physician determines that the employee will be unable to function normally while using a respirator, or that the safety or health of the employee or other employees will be impaired by the employee's respirator use. . . [Text is from the initial part of 29 CFR 1926.1101(h)(2)(ii).]Additionally, the situation posed in your question may require an employer to adjust the overall medical surveillance program, depending on whether the employer's asbestos work is under the general industry standard or the construction standard. For general industry, per subparagraph 1910.1001(l)(1)(i), medical surveillance for asbestos is not required for employees whose exposures no longer exceed the TWA and/or excursion limit. Furthermore, for any employees who were previously exposed above the PEL and received annual medical exams, the employer may discontinue the periodic exams, except to provide or make available one final medical exam at the time of that employee's termination of employment, per subparagraph 1910.1001(l)(4).
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
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