June 23, 2000

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Document Control Office (7407), Docket #OPPTS-62125A
Office of Pollution, Prevention, and Topics (OPPT)
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20460

ASBESTOS WORKER PROTECTION - PROPOSED RULE
40 CFR 763, DOCKET #OPPTS-62125A

Sir/Madam:

The purpose of this letter from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is to comment on the proposed EPA regulation for asbestos assessment/abatement for worker protection which was announced in the Federal Register on April 27, 2000, (OPPTS-62125A; FRL-6493-5, RIN2070-AC66). We present the following:

Introduction
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), is the oldest and largest society of safety professionals in the world. Founded in 1911, ASSE represents almost 33,000 dedicated safety professionals. Within the ASSE membership are Certified Safety Professionals (CSP), Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH), Professional Engineers (PE), ergonomists, academicians, fire protection engineers, system safety experts, health professionals, and an impressive collection of other disciplines, skills, and backgrounds including attorneys and medical practitioners. We pride ourselves on our dedication to excellence, expertise, and commitment to the protection of people, property, and environment on a world-wide basis.

ASSE serves as Secretariat of seven (7) American National Standards Institute Committees (ANSI) developing safety and health standards which are used by private sector organizations as well as state/Federal governmental agencies such as MSHA, OSHA, etc... ASSE members also sit on over forty (40) additional standards development committees and the Society sponsors educational sessions on standards development. The Society also has twelve (12) divisions consisting of: Construction, Consultants, Engineering, Environmental, Health Care, Industrial Hygiene, International, Management, Public Sector, Risk Management and Insurance, Mining, and Transportation. The ASSE members included in these divisions are leaders in their field with the knowledge and expertise needed to move safety and health forward on a global level. A Fact Sheet and a demo graphic breakdown of our membership is attached for future elaboration and as part of the record in this rule-making initiative, (Attachment #1).

ASSE Summary of the Proposed Rule

  • Extending coverage to state and local government employees is good public policy.
  • Excluding Certified Safety Professionals is poor public policy, while including CIHs and PEs is poor public policy.
  • Inclusion of industrial hygienists "en-masse" with total exclusion of safety professionals "en-masse" exacerbates an already poorly conceived public policy.
  • The National Registry of Safety Professionals and Other Registrants, provides a vehicle for EPA to use when evaluating safety professionals not possessing a recognized and accredited certification.
  • The history of state and national legislation and regulation provides virtually overwhelming support for ASSE's recommendations.
  • ASSE supports the tenets and spirit of the rule, but intends to vigorously pursue the issue of inclusion for CSPs and safety professionals.

ASSE Commentary on the Proposed Rule
ASSE strongly endorses the EPA policy of extending coverage to state and local government employees. We see this initiative as being good policy since all employees should be able to work in a safe and healthful workplace regardless of whether they work for the private or public sector. The Society has long been on record in recommending that public sector employees have the right to a safe and healthful workplace.

However, ASSE does have significant concern in regard to EPA giving recognition to Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH), and Professional Engineers (PEs), but not Certified Safety Professionals (CSP). Our comment is that EPA needs to cite in the final rule that CSPs are included, and their level of professionalism, knowledge, and expertise is equivalent to the CIH and PE. ASSE understands that EPA is recognizing the OSHA regulation as a baseline. The Society dedicated significant amounts of time and resources to address this issue in 1995 after the comment period had closed. OSHA eventually agreed to include CSPs in the "Quips" portion of the rule. During this period of time the Society also contacted every state-plan-state in the country to request that CSPs be included in their own state application of the rule. This also does not take into account that EPA itself recognizes the CSP in different venues including lead abatement. Until there is clarification of Pages 24809 and 24811,and inclusion of the CSP and safety professionals, ASSE will maintain that the proposal is poor public policy and act accordingly in those interests.

To correct this shortcoming in the rule, we suggest the following inclusions:

b. Hazard Communication, Page 24809, 4/27/00 Federal Register, Right Column, at the bottom of the Page:

If the material is not in a building regulated by the MAP, e.g., it is on an outdoor installation, either a MAP-accredited inspector, a Certified Safety Professional, or a Certified Industrial Hygienist may perform the sampling. Resilient floor covering installed prior to 1981 must also be presumed to contain asbestos unless an industrial hygienist, safety professional, or a MAP-accredited inspector determines through…

h. Methods of compliance for construction projects and associated custodial activities, Page 24811, 4/27/00 Federal Register, Right Column, Top of the Page:

If the Class I project involves more than 25 linear or 10 square feet of ACM, this determination must be made by a certified industrial hygienist, Certified Safety Professional, or a licensed professional engineer who is also qualified as a project designer, and the Director, National Program Chemicals Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, EPA, must be notified in advance.

Rationale for Inclusion
Meeting the certification/professional qualification needs of the ASSE is the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) which administers a nationally accepted and internationally recognized professional certification, the Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Applicants must satisfy stringent formal education, work experience, and continuing educational requirements for maintenance of the designation. Individuals are also required to complete two (2) comprehensive "day long" examinations, adhere to a written code of ethics, and continue maintenance of their certification through other educational means. BCSP credentials are currently the only safety certifications accredited by both the National Commission on Certifying Agencies (NCAA) and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), (Attachment #2).

We would like to point out that there are approximately over 9,800 CSPs in the United States. In our Society there are almost 10,000 members who are "professional members" of whom many are CSPs. Many of the CSPs in the United States have worked with asbestos assessment/abatement on a practical level. These CSPs work regularly with asbestos assessment/abatement in the areas of industrial hygiene, biological monitoring, construction, hazardous materials handling, storage, and disposal.

In order to qualify to take the CSP exam an individual must possess a baccalaureate degree in safety or the other "hard" sciences from an accredited university, four years of professional safety experience acceptable to the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, and passing scores on each of the two (2) written exams. What is important to note is that many of the individuals in question upon graduation from a university with a degree in occupational safety and health had the choice of deciding whether to test for the designation of CSP, PE, or CIH. Thus, many CSPs received baccalaureate degrees in industrial hygiene or engineering, however, they chose to pursue the CSP designation rather than the CIH or PE. In many instances the level of skills are equivalent while the designation is different.

For most universities offering occupational safety and health programs, students are required to have course work in the fields of industrial hygiene and engineering. For example, at Northern Illinois University, students earning a graduate degree with an emphasis in safety take classes in safety and engineering. However, they also take Technology 433 (Monitoring Workplace Environments), Technology 440 (Toxicology), and Technology 531 (Industrial Hygiene). The point of this illustration is to indicate that the other designations do not have a greater amount of education in the area of asbestos assessment/abatement. If anything CSPs appear to have a heightened understanding of the work practices and engineering controls related to asbestos assessment/abatement services due to their additional training in project management and engineering controls. All of this information illustrates that students receive training in the fields of safety, industrial hygiene, and engineering, and that CSPs, PEs, and CIHs are quite on-point concerning technological control of environmental hazards.

As you are aware, federal and state agencies have made asbestos abatement a priority. The asbestos abatement industry is already overburdened. There is a growing need for competent professionals to act proactively to abate such hazards. Our concern is not only for the safety profession but also for the economic impact on the private and public sectors if CSPs were to be excluded from further regulations. Excluding a large number of professionals shuts out qualified abatement professionals from competing in the market place, thus, escalating abatement costs and lengthening time for abatement, and thus, greater exposure to a hazardous material for workers.

There are literally hundreds of examples of the CSP being specifically cited in legislation and regulation. However, as additional evidence of the ASSE view supporting inclusion of the CSPs, we offer the following twenty (20) examples supporting our case for CSP inclusion, (We can provide these examples in writing upon EPA request, but it is several hundred pages in length):

  1. The State of Florida recognizes CSPs as being qualified asbestos consultants.

  2. The OSHA Asbestos Standard recognizes that CSPs should not be excluded from the certification of "Asbestos Alternative Control Methods", as CSPs are recognized in the Question and Answer Section of the OSHA Asbestos Compliance Manual.

  3. After notification by ASSE, OSHA state-plan-states agreed that the CSP should not be excluded from performing asbestos assessment/abatement.

  4. The Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules, 295.31 to 295.71: In this regulation you will see that both CSPs and CIHs are recognized by the State of Texas as professionals qualified to be eligible for licensing.

  5. EPA recognizes the CSP in its lead abatement rule, Federal Register 8/20/96, Page 45788, Left Column, Middle of the Page.

  6. The State of Maryland recognizes CSPs as being qualified consultants for lead assessment/abatement services.

  7. Texas Workers Compensation Regulation (TX #16126) which relates to the qualifications required to provide accident prevention services.

  8. Kansas Senate Bill #307, both CSPs and CIHs receive specific recognition as professionals who are qualified to provide accident prevention services.

  9. OSHA recognition of the CSP as shown by the specific recognition of the designation in OSHA's Specific Hazard Waste Site and Emergency Response Standard, (29CFR 1910.120.app-c, and 29CFR 1926.65-app-c).

  10. OSHA recognition of the CSP as shown by the specific recognition of the designation in OSHA's Permit Required For Confined Spaces - Procedures For Atmospheric testing, (29CFR1910.146.app.b.).

  11. The Federal Office of Personnel Management recognizes CSPs in the position standards.

  12. The Chicago Metropolitan Sanitary District requires a CSP to supervise safety of jobs and work sites.

  13. The New York City Fire Department recognizes CSPs as being qualified to inspect laboratory hoods.

  14. MILTSD 822B recognizes CSPs as being qualified to be system safety supervisors.

  15. The State of Colorado Highway Department now officially recognizes CSPs through its regulations covering cleanup contracts.

  16. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognizes the CSP in a variety of regulations.

  17. The Department of the Navy recognizes the CSP in its lead abatement regulations.

  18. International recognition of the CSP, as evidenced by our activities in Mexico, the Middle East, and Europe.

  19. The CSP was cited by Congress in either legislation, legislative report language, or testimony as being one of the United State's outstanding safety credentials, (S.1237, S.1423, H.R.1834, etc…)

  20. Legislation has either been enacted or introduced which specifically recognizes the safety profession and provides professional recognition to the profession in the following states:
ENACTED IN PROGRESS INTRODUCED
Connecticut Arizona Alaska
Florida California Massachusetts
Minnesota Colorado New Jersey
Nevada Georgia New York
Ohio Maryland Pennsylvania
Oregon Mississippi Texas
  North Carolina  
  Oklahoma  
  South Carolina  
  Virginia  
  Washington  

Safety Professional Inclusion - Rationale
In Section b., Hazard Communication, Page 24809, 4/27/00 Federal Register, Right Column, at the bottom of the Page, EPA specifically recognizes industrial hygienists, but not safety professionals. We strongly recommend that safety professionals be included along with industrial hygienists in this section of the rule. The text currently reads:

…must also be presumed to contain asbestos unless an industrial hygienist, or a MAP-accredited inspector determines through…
EPA recognizes all industrial hygienists en-masse, without any consideration being given to an industrial hygienist's overall education, experience, or certification status. The rule should also specifically recognize safety professionals at the same level as industrial hygienists. We have included our most current demographic study of safety professionals, and it is obvious after a review that industrial hygienists and safety professionals are fundamentally equivalent in regard to training, background, education, and certification status. Perhaps EPA should consider reviewing the level of professional safety and industrial hygiene competence required to perform these functions. If EPA does choose to review the issue of competence, we point out that ASSE is the secretariat for the American National Standard, Z590 Criteria for Establishing Levels of Competence in the Safety Profession. We suggest that the Agency consider using the standard as a model for evaluating professional development programs for safety and health professionals working with asbestos related issues.

We also point out that ASSE serves as Registrar of the National Registry of Safety Professionals and Other Registrants, (Attachment #3). During the past several years, federal and state legislators, private sector business leaders, professional safety organizations, and administrators of regulatory agencies throughout the nation have debated safety and health issues. The central issue primarily focuses upon and galvanizes around those who deliver or provide such services, the safety professional. These discussions have focused primarily on those who deliver or provide such services, and have invariably addressed their competencies, credentials, education, experience, and continuous professional development.

The objective of The National Registry of Safety Professionals and Other Registrants is to set safety professionals and other registrants apart from others working in the field. This distinction is accomplished by identifying differentiating characteristics and qualifications using stringent criteria. While the Candidate Handbook is directed exclusively to safety professionals, the National Registry of Safety Professionals and Other Registrants is open to others practicing safety in the field, who may be identified or otherwise classified as safety practitioners, and safety technologists or technicians. The information in the Registry, which can be sorted in various ways, offers practical benefits to various public and private officials and organizations. For example:

  • Public and private sector policymakers and private sector entities can obtain a numerical listing of registered safety professionals and other registrants at both state and national levels.
  • To support comments on legislative issues, the Registrar can provide specific data about safety professionals, safety practitioners, and safety technologists or technicians who might be affected by different initiatives at the state and national level.
  • As we move to a global economy, the need for the services of qualified safety professionals and other registrants will transcend political boundaries.
  • There are significant internal and external drivers for such a program, (e.g., governmental regulation, professional recognition issues), and the Registry provides an efficient and effective means of addressing these issues.

We suggest that it would be good policy for EPA to consider recognizing safety professionals registered with the National Registry as being competent to perform the asbestos related functions associated in the rule with industrial hygienists. We think such recognition would enhance safety professional competence and could serve as a model for sound future public policy.

Conclusion
ASSE truly believes that EPA excluded CSPs and safety professionals due to a simple oversight, and the entire situation could be quickly remedied with the clarifications recommended by the Society. The foregoing illustrates that inclusion of CSPs in the asbestos abatement regulation makes sense from an economic, professional, public and worker protection, and political point of view. ASSE looks forward to working with EPA on this issue, and our hope is that we can resolve this concern in a manner helpful to EPA and the safety professionals and CSPs of the United States. We feel that a clarification will benefit EPA, safety professionals, CSPs, and most importantly the American workforce who we are dedicated to protect.

Sincerely,

Frank H. Perry, CSP, P.E.
Society President, 1999-2000

Copy to: ASSE Board of Directors ASSE Council on Professional Affairs ASSE Council on Practices and Standards ASSE Governmental Affairs Committee Charles Jeffress, Assistant Secretary of Labor - OSHA

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ASSE Fact Sheet
ASSE Careers Brochure
ASSE Compensation Survey & Demographic Breakdown
ASSE Scope & Function Brochure
BCSP Information Package (CESB/NCCA)
National Registry Handbook

     

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