Center for Asbestos Safety


Asbestos Workplace Safety Guide

Because asbestos has been established as a major workplace hazard, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established regulations covering practices for workers who deal with the material. The Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory authorities also have jurisdiction over asbestos matters.

Asbestos in job areas is regulated to protect the workers and to prevent unnecessary release of asbestos fibers to the environment where they could harm the public. Workplace regulations often include containment of physical space to prevent the release of asbestos and the filtering of air with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. Water is also used to control the formation of dust. Wet material does not form dust nearly as readily as dry asbestos does. Of course, excess water can cause a problem by running throughout the workplace and spreading the asbestos, thereby causing increased hazards when the water dries. Industrial hygienists have developed techniques using mist sprays to wet the asbestos-containing material (ACM) without producing excess amounts of liquid.

The general ideas are

These ideas are used in a variety of industries.

Brake repair



When construction work is done in asbestos areas, OSHA requires a "compentant person" be on site. This person knows construction techniques and has had formal training in the hazards of asbestos and the required safety techniques for working near it.

Note that the US government's Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)'s asbestos exposure limit is 20 times higher than OSHA’s; MSHA proposed a rule in November 2005, but has not yet finalized it; it says a final rule will be published in the near future.) See also our page on particulate air pollution.

Removal training requirements.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health publishes an online "pocket guide: to asbestos.

Center for Asbestos
Safety in the Workplace