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• Standard Number: 1926.1101

January 6, 2009

Drew M. Garner, Jr.
President, Garner & Associates, Inc.
13027 Stiles Lane
Sugar Land, Texas 77478

Dear Mr. Garner:

Thank you for your letter dated November 26, 2008, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which follows up on questions you raised in two earlier letters to the Agency (see OSHA letters of interpretation dated April 5, 2007, and November 9, 2007). Your current letter questions the requirements for personal protective equipment when removing asbestos-containing gaskets under OSHA's Asbestos standard for construction, 29 CFR 1926.1101. This reply letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not detailed in your original correspondence. Your paraphrased question and our reply are below.

Question: You referenced an existing OSHA letter of interpretation to Sally Lagomarisino, April 21, 1998, and asked whether a portion of that interpretation covers your situation involving Class III work to remove asbestos-containing gaskets using wet methods after a negative exposure assessment is made. Specifically, you asked whether respiratory protection and protective clothing are required for your Class III operation as long as a negative exposure assessment is produced for the operation.

Reply: OSHA's letter to Sally Lagomarisino continues to reflect current OSHA policy. This letter states, among other things, that until an employer produces a negative exposure assessment for Class III asbestos work, an employee performing the work must be provided and must use appropriate respiratory protection and protective clothing. If Class III work is not performed using wet methods, or if the Class III work is performed on asbestos-containing surfacing material or thermal system insulation, then respiratory protection shall be used regardless of whether a negative exposure assessment is made.

The specific paragraphs of the Asbestos standard for construction wherein these provisions apply are at 1926.1101(f)(2)(iii) for the negative exposure assessment, 1926.1101(h)(1)(iii)-(v) and (h)(3)(iii)(A)-(B) for respiratory protection, and 1926.1101(i)(1) for protective clothing. These provisions also apply to your situation of Class III work involving the wet removal of asbestos-containing gaskets or other asbestos-containing materials which are not thermal system insulation or surfacing material. As long as the employer has a negative exposure assessment for this operation in accordance with 1926.1101(f)(2)(iii), then respiratory protection and protective clothing are not required.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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 may consult OSHA's website at If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the OSHA Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents