OSEA Safety Blog

Asbestos Laws and Rules for Contractor

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Art Paolucci

For over thirty years I’ve held an asbestos supervisor license (NYS) and completed many projects throughout NYS and the East Coast. As such, I am very aware of the challenges presented on asbestos abatement projects. EPA regulations (AHERA, NESHAPS), OSHA and NYS CODE Rule 56 are the primary documents governing these projects and they must be done right to be safe.

From doing the survey, building the decon, air sampling, removal etc., there are many requirements which must be met, and the supervisor is responsible. These laws, rules and regulations expect strict compliance with asbestos abatement, transportation and disposal so neither workers nor the public will be exposed to asbestos fiber(s). There is no safe limit for asbestos exposure.

As such serious violations and penalties can be expected if the rules are not followed, and criminal proceedings for those who just don’t do it correctly and get caught! Contractors can be removed from NYS bid lists for having violations and fines. In our initial and yearly refresher training we (supervisors) are taught the rules and regulations and we are all held accountable to follow them strictly. The yearly refreshers are good at not only reacquainting us with the codes, but any changes or additions which have occurred.

In NYS any company that intends to handle asbestos in any manner must have a NYS Asbestos Contractors license. All workers must have a NYS Certification for the work they will perform (Supervisor, worker-handler, air sampler etc.) with training provided only through NYS Dept. of Health. Contractors in this area of work have a big responsibility to make sure they follow all the regulations to maintain job site integrity, worker and public health. There are no short cuts and it is up to the site supervisor on an asbestos abatement project to be sure it is being done right!

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