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Statutes Dealing with Asbestos

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contains three standards to protect workers from exposure to asbestos in the workplace: one regulates construction work, including alteration, repair, renovation, and demolition of structures containing asbestos; another covers asbestos exposure during work in shipyards; and the third applies to asbestos exposure in general industry, such as exposure during brake and clutch repair, custodial work, and manufacture of asbestos-containing products.[1]  In addition, under current OSHA standards, employers must provide education and training for employees exposed above a permissible asbestos exposure limit (PEL), and for all employees involved in certain identified work classifications.[2]

The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Worker Protection Rule” extends standards implemented by the OSHA to state and local employees who perform asbestos work, and who are not covered by OSHA Asbestos Standards or a state OSHA plan.  The Worker Protection Rule parallels OSHA requirements and covers medical examinations, air monitoring and reporting, protective equipment, work practices, and record keeping.  In addition, many state and local agencies have more stringent standards than those required by the federal government.

A major issue in identifying asbestos containing materials is that unless a material is labeled, it is difficult to determine whether it contains asbestos.  Hence OSHA requires employers to place warning labels on all asbestos products, containers, and installed construction materials when feasible.



[1] OSHA Fact Sheet on Asbestos, available at www.osha.gov.

[2] Id.

Inside Statutes Dealing with Asbestos