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Summary of Changes to Code Rule 56

Division of Safety & Health-DOSH

Summary of Major Changes to Industrial Code Rule 56

Why were Code Rule 56 revisions necessary?

  • To bring it into compliance with current federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
  • To clarify many portions and include existing Applicable Variances within the revised Code Rule.
  • To streamline its organization to be more user friendly.  The revised Code Rule accurately reflects the consecutive steps of an asbestos project. 

Supplemental Documents

  • Guidance:
    • The revised Code Rule cannot address every situation.  The Department of Labor is currently developing a guidance document to supplement the regulation and to assist stakeholders in implementing the regulation. This guidance document will be available on the Department’s website.  (The final version of Code Rule 56 is available on the Department’s website). 
  • Site-Specific Variances will still be required for projects that deviate from Code Rule 56.
  • Applicable Variances (AVs) – Current Applicable Variances are incorporated into the revised Code Rule 56.    New Applicable Variances could be generated in the future, if the same type of site-specific variance is repeatedly granted.

ICR 56 Major Changes

Multi-employer Worksites

  • Asbestos Abatement Contractor responsible to inform all employers at worksite about nature of their work, as well as PACM, ACM and asbestos material (known and assumed) at the work site.
  • Asbestos Abatement Contractor responsible to inform all non-asbestos contractors regarding prohibition of disturbance to PACM, ACM, and asbestos material at worksite.
  • Asbestos Abatement Contractor responsible for notification to owner, all employers and occupants, located in areas adjacent to Asbestos Project work areas, for each occurrence of elevated air sample results, resulting work stoppage and barrier inspection/repairs completed due to elevated air sample results.
  • All non-asbestos contractors responsible for notification to owner or their auth. representative upon discovery of PACM or suspect miscellaneous ACM that has not previously been identified within required inspections/surveys.
  • Building/structure owner or their auth. representative responsible to inform all employers expected to be at worksite during the project, about the presence, location and quantity of PACM, ACM or asbestos material, within the portion of the building/structure impacted by the entire project.
  • All contractors performing a supervisory role on demolition, renovation, remodeling or repair projects, shall prohibit disturbance of PACM, ACM or asbestos material by non-asbestos contractors under their direct supervision and control, and shall require all asbestos contractors to be in compliance with the code rule.

Cleanup of Uncontrolled Asbestos Containing Material Disturbance

  • Defines who is responsible for cleanup.
  • Upon discovery, property owner must contract with licensed asbestos contractor for immediate isolation and cleanup of each discovered disturbance of asbestos containing material. The Owner shall vacate and generally isolate (cordon off and turn off impacted HVAC systems) the room/area/space from remainder of building/structure, until Asbestos Contractor arrives on site for completion of isolation procedures and immediate clean up of disturbance
  • The property owner may pursue legal options for repayment of cleanup costs from the responsible party, but the owner is ultimately responsible for completion of all necessary cleanup by a licensed asbestos contractor.


  • Asbestos Project Phasing chart has been added with identification of the various subphases of an asbestos project (Phase IA-IB & IIA-IID).
  • Other major definitions were added for consistency with federal regulation terminology.


  • Additional recordkeeping category added for non-abatement asbestos contractors.
  • Project Record requirements for documents to be available on-site during the active portion of an asbestos project.
  • Building owner responsible to maintain entire project record upon conclusion of asbestos project.
    • Copies of all project records for past asbestos projects to be turned over to new building/structure owner upon transfer of ownership.


  • Notification requirements clarified for non-continuous asbestos projects.

Project Air Sampling

  • Asbestos Abatement Contractor independent of air monitoring firm (must be contracted separately by owner).
  • Quantity of asbestos containing material in work area determines air sampling requirements for work area.
  • Air Sampling Technician required to be on-site for duration of sample collection.
  • Asbestos Project Air Sampling Requirements - Major Changes:
    • Air sample log requirements included.
    • Reduced turnaround time for air sample results.
    • Defined requirements and criteria for background air samples.
    • Pre-abatement air samples – replaced with work area preparation samples for large project friable asbestos containing materials.
    • Negative air exhaust – banking allowed (up to 5 exhaust tubes terminating at one common location – one sample required).
    • Clearance for Minor Work Areas– required for incidental disturbance and if part of small or large project.
    • Allow Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) instead of Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) for clearance.
      • TEM clearance – Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) protocols for clearance air sampling and analysis, unless TEM analysis of failed PCM air samples.
    • Clarify procedures to follow for recleaning and resampling of work areas with unsatisfactory clearance air sample results.

Asbestos Survey/Inspection

  • When is a survey required and by who?
    • Prior to Building/structure demolition, remodeling, renovation or repair for non-agricultural buildings/structures with construction commencement before 1974, unless condemned and structurally unsound.
    • Portion of Building/structure impacted by project shall be inspected/surveyed for asbestos containing material by an asbestos contractor with appropriately certified personnel.
  • Survey Exemptions and what they mean:
    • Not required for agricultural building.
    • Not required for structurally unsound structure, but controlled demolition shall be an asbestos project (as per Code Rule 56-11.5).
    • Not required for owner of one or two-family dwelling, when the owner contracts for but does not control the demolition, renovation, remodeling or repair work.
      • NOTE: Survey is still required by owner’s agent.
    • All contractors hired by the owner must still comply with OSHA and EPA, so even if no survey is required by Code Rule 56, all Presumed Asbestos Containing Materials and resilient flooring materials installed prior to 1981 are treated and handled as asbestos containing materials and are assumed to be asbestos containing materials until proven otherwise by appropriate laboratory analyses.
  • Bidding – Concurrent bidding requirements included.

Work Area Preparation

  • Asbestos Abatement Contractor Daily Project Log – summary has been added of required entries by Asbestos Abatement Contractor’s Supervisor.
  • Decontamination Units:
    • Eliminate airlock at work area.
    • Define Clean room minimum size.
    • Include remote personal decontamination system enclosure, as well as when and how they may be used (some special projects, non-friables and tent with glovebag).
    • Remote waste decontamination system enclosure eliminated.
    • Small project personal decontamination system enclosure revised to 3-chambers.
  • Electric shutdown/isolation - shutdown exemption procedures included.
  • Engineering Controls:
    • Modify negative air requirements.
      • Eliminate piggy-back and restrict exhaust duct tubing to a maximum of 25 feet in length from neg. air unit.
      • Reduce 50 foot exhaust requirement to 15 foot, or if exhaust directly to exterior, then seal openings within 15 feet of exhaust location.
      • Exemption added for some special projects.
    • Requirement for use of Manometer on OSHA Class I Large and Small asbestos projects.
    • Exhaust Termination Location protected/surrounded by construction fencing.
  • Barriers and Exemptions:
    • Floor, Wall & Ceiling plastic sheeting – eliminate sheeting on removal surfaces.
    • Negative pressure Tents:
      • Allowed for any quantity non-friables.
      • Allowed for any quantity friable thermal system insulations (TSI) w/glovebag abatement.
      • Allowed for minor and small quantity gross removal of friable asbestos containing material, with attached decontamination system enclosure for small quantity tent work areas.
    • Fire-retardant Spray Plastic:
      • In lieu of 2 layers floor, wall and ceiling plastic sheeting.
      • Applied by trained personnel.
    • Special Projects Exemptions – See Subpart 11.
    • Removal of ceilings and components to access asbestos containing material – similar to former AV-86.


  • Pre-abatement settling period reduced to 4 hours and eliminated for exterior work where negative air ventilation is not required.
  • Sequential Abatement of multiple types of asbestos containing materials within a single regulated abatement work area is allowed as follows:
    • Top-down abatement and most friable to least friable
    • For example, ceiling friables, TSI, wall plasters and other friables, then class II non-friables other than flooring, ending with class II non-friable flooring.
    • One complete cleaning at conclusion of each abatement type, clearance at conclusion of all abatement and cleanings
  • When is Dry Removal allowed – never according to the code…guidance issue…obtain written EPA approval first then submit for site-specific variance with EPA approval

Final Cleaning Procedures

  • Process and settling periods:
    • Still 3 cleans, but exemption from multiple cleans when no sheet poly required or tent enclosure is used.
    • 2 Cleans required for pre-demo asbestos projects with 1 layer of sheet poly.
    • Reduction in some of the settling/drying periods.
  • Visual Inspections required following final cleaning and settling/drying period.
    • Small and Large size work area visual inspections are to be performed by project monitor hired by building owner independent of asbestos abatement contractor.  Visual inspection as per ASTM E1368 to confirm that the scope of abatement is complete and no visible debris, residue or pools of liquid remain.
    • Supervisor responsible for completeness inspection prior to project monitor inspection.

Clearance Procedures

  • Exemption for exterior asbestos projects without negative pressure enclosures: 
    • A satisfactory visual inspection shall serve as the clearance for these asbestos projects – exception included for one-two family owner-occupied residential building/structures, when owner accepts asbestos abatement contractor supervisor’s visual inspection.
  • Once appropriate clearance has been obtained for an asbestos project, remaining work area preparation shall be removed, concluding with the decontamination system enclosures.

Waste Removal from site

  • All waste to be removed from work site within ten calendar days after successful completion of Phase IIC clearance procedures for all work areas (or turned over to owner for owner’s disposal).
  • All waste removed from site shall be documented, accounted for and disposed of in compliance with EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).

Special Projects

  • In-Plant Operation changes and what they mean:
    • Same as before, but now allowed asbestos containing material to include any quantity non-friable organically bound (NOB) asbestos containing material, currently in a non-friable intact condition, by outside asbestos abatement contractors.
    • Note – Only labs currently accredited by the New York State Department of Health Environmental Laboratory Approved Program (ELAP) are allowed to make the NOB asbestos containing material determination from bulk samples of non-friable suspect miscellaneous ACM.
  • Emergency projects-must call for approval to proceed with project. Site-specific variance may be necessary.
    • Incidental Disturbance Asbestos Project – (less than 10 sq. ft. or 25 lin. ft. incidentally disturbed ACM) corrective action procedures included.
  • Minor Projects
    • decontamination room or area required.
    • includes minor size work area and isolated O & M event.
  • Pre-demolition projects – less stringent requirements from normal Code Rule 56 projects:
    • Non-porous salvage items may be removed prior to abatement – no disturbance of friable or non-friable asbestos containing material allowed during salvage operations.
    • Porous walls and floors – one layer of plastic sheeting required instead of two layers.  Non-porous walls, floors and ceilings don’t require plastic sheeting.
  • Controlled Demolition with asbestos containing material in place - similar to AV-106 conditions.
  • Exterior Non-friable roofing, siding, caulking, glazing compound, transite, tars, sealers, coatings and other NOB asbestos containing materials – similar to AV-84, AV-89, AV-119 and typical exterior caulking/glazing site-specific variance.
  • Non-friable flooring and mastic – similar to AV-120.
    • Note – Beadblaster or other abrasive abatement methods require asbestos project abatement as per full requirements of Code Rule 56 including attached decon and 6 air changes per hour
  • Abandoned pipe/duct/conduit wrap and cut – similar to AV-87, only with less limitations.

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