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Asbestos information

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1. What are the specific occupational regulations for asbestos construction work?

2. Where is asbestos found?

Asbestos is still present in many structures and is still used in some industrial processes and commercially available products. However some asbestos-containing products and materials have been banned. Information on banned asbestos materials can be found at the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Note: The California Business & Professions Code 7180(b) allows Contractors with AHERA-certified asbestos inspector training to take up to 12 samples in residential dwellings for bid preparation, employee health and safety or contract completion purposes. Be aware only a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant (see below) can interpret the results and provide a full range of asbestos consulting services.

3. How can those involved in planning asbestos removal work obtain help? 

Anyone thinking about removing asbestos may want to contact a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant. Only a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC) can provide asbestos consulting (as defined by the Business and Professions Code, 7180-7189.7, and triggered by the same size and concentration triggers as for registered contractors). These services include building inspection, abatement project design, contract administration, supervision of site surveillance technicians, sample collection, preparation of asbestos management plans, and clearance air monitoring. 

Note: The Business and Professions Code sections 7180(b)(3) and 7187 prohibit:

  • Contractors from providing professional health and safety services or performing any asbestos risk assessment, including clearance air monitoring
  • Consultants and site surveillance technicians from having any financial or proprietary interest in an asbestos abatement contractor hired for the same project

For general information, you can call the nearest Cal/OSHA Consultation Office or the Asbestos Contractor Registration and Consultant Certification Units of Cal/OSHA. See "Resources" for contact information.

4. How does one choose an asbestos contractor?

Cal/OSHA does not recommend specific asbestos removal contractors. For general guidance on choosing a contractor, see the Contractor's State License Board 10 Tips and other guides at www.cslb.ca.gov A Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant may help this process. In choosing a contractor, you may want to consider a contractor's experience, work plan, proof of training and other documentation, and compliance history. See the Cal/OSHA and U.S. EPA compliance history database www.osha.gov/oshstats/. Note: the U.S. EPA database will not include all violations issued by local air quality districts. You can also contact them directly.

5. What if there is a problem at an asbestos worksite?

The Asbestos Contractor Registration Unit does not perform on-site inspections in response to complaints concerning specific worksites. Job-specific complaints are best dealt with as follows:

  • Unsafe or unhealthy working conditions - Call the nearest Cal/OSHA District Enforcement Office. Look in your local phone directory under State Government, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health or got to http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/DistrictOffices.htm.
  • Environmental concerns- Contact the local air quality district, the State Air Resources Board or the U.S. EPA, Region 9. Look in your local phone directory under the name of your District or go to the State Air Resources Board web site at www.arb.ca.gov/capcoa/roster.htm and hit the "Contact Us" button to find the "Local Air District Contact List." The State Air Resources Board has a complaint hotline at 1-800-272-4572. Call the U.S. EPA at (415) 744-1089 for asbestos questions.
  • Contract disputes or licensing violations- Contact the Contractors State License Board at 1-800-321-2752. For information on their process, go to www.cslb.ca.gov
  • Wage and hours of work issues- Contact the nearest local office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement by looking in your phone book under "State Government, Department of Industrial Relations."

If you do call us directly, we will discuss your concerns. The ACRU does review the results of investigations by Cal/OSHA Enforcement and other agencies. We may take separate administrative action, particularly if registrants display a pattern of non-compliance with asbestos and related laws and regulations.

6. What are some informational obligations of building owners, contractors and other employers?

The following is a summary of the major asbestos notification and information requirements in 8 CCR 1529, 5203, 341.6-341.14 and the California Health & Safety Code. See the codes for the complete requirements. Note: Employers also have additional informational duties towards their employees under 8 CCR 1529, 1509 or 3203 (the Injury and Illness Prevention Program requirements for construction and general industry), 3204 (Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records), as well as other Title 8 regulations.

Employers performing work subject to 8 CCR 1529:

  • If less than 100 sq.ft. of asbestos-containing construction materials and therefore not subject to the asbestos registration rules, file a Report of Use with the Chief of DOSH (Cal/OSHA)
  • Determine the location and quantity of asbestos-containing material (ACM) and/or presumed ACM (PACM) based on the criteria in 1529(k)(1); {ref. 1529(k)(3)(A)}
  • If at a temporary worksite, notify the nearest Cal/OSHA District Enforcement Office 24 hours prior to work (ref. 1529(r) & 5203)
  • Any incident resulting an employee exposure in excess of the PEL and/or excursion limit by reporting in writing to the Chief of DOSH within 15 days. (ref. 1529(r) & 5203)
  • Through meetings or other methods, inform employees, building owner and other employers on site, prior to work, about the location and quantity of ACM and/or PACM, the nature of their work, requirements pertaining to regulated areas, as well as the means to prevent asbestos air contamination; and {ref. 1529(d)(1) & (k)(3)(B)}
  • Post a warning sign outside the regulated area that is understandable to employees working in and contiguous to the area {ref. 1529(e)(2) and (k)(7)}
  • As soon as possible, notify affected employees regarding the results of personal air monitoring {ref. 1529(f)(5)}
  • Within 10 days of completing the work, regarding the location and quantity of remaining asbestos, as well as any final monitoring results {ref. 1529(k)(3)(C)}

See 8 CCR 1529 for the exact requirements. There are additional notification duties to the local air quality district or the U.S.EPA.

Employers performing work subject to 8 CCR Article 2.5 Registration- Asbestos-Related Work:

  • Send notices of temporary worksites to the nearest Cal/OSHA District Office 24 hours prior to the start of each job {ref. 341.9}
  • Hold a pre-job safety meeting to discuss safety program and safe work practices with employees, their representatives, and the building owner or their representative (for work covered by asbestos registration) {ref. 341.11}
  • Post a warning sign readable at 20 feet {ref. 341.10(a); see also 1529(e)(2) and (k)(7) for similar and additional requirements)}
  • Before the commencement of the work, provide a copy of the registration to the prime contractor and other employers at the site. Also, post a copy beside the Cal/OSHA poster. {ref. 341.10(b)}

See 8 CCR, Article 2.5, for the exact requirements.

Building Owners:

  • Prior to beginning work, determine the location and quantity of ACM and/or PACM based on the criteria in 1529(k)(1); {ref. 1529(k)(2)(A)}
  • Notify in writing or by personal communication the following or their authorized representatives: {ref. 1529(k)(2)(B)
  • Prospective employers applying or bidding for work and all other employers with employees who will work in or adjacent to areas with such material
  • The building owner's employees working in or adjacent to these areas; and
  • Tenants who will occupy areas containing such material
  • If they are owners of public and commercial buildings constructed prior to 1979 and know that the building contains asbestos-containing construction materials, provide information to all occupants. For more details view the regulations of the Health & Safety Code, Division 20, Chapter 10.4 Asbestos Notification, 25915-25919.7 at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html This code is enforced by city or county jurisdictions, not Cal/OSHA.
  • If a school district, are required by the U.S. EPA to have a management plan and surveys of where asbestos is known or presumed to be present. Contact the U.S. EPA Region 9 Asbestos Regional Coordinator for information.

All Employers:

  • Ascertain on a daily basis, the integrity of enclosures and or the effectiveness of other control methods used in regulated areas their employees are working adjacent to. {ref. 1529(d)(4)}
  • If they discover their employees are exposed to asbestos they must protect them by, for example, removal from the area or performing an initial exposure assessment. ref. 1529(k)(4)}
  • If they discover ACM or PACM they must inform the building owner and other employers of employees working at the work site within 24 hours {ref. 1529(k)(4)}
  • In cases when material they reasonably believe to be asbestos has not been rendered harmless, to stop work in affected areas. See section 25914.2(c) of the California Health and Safety Code for the exact requirements.

General Contractors:

  • Ascertain whether the asbestos contractor is in compliance with 8 CCR section 1529(d)(5)} and require them to come into compliance when necessary