How might the City of Austin better reinforce safety requirements for demolitions?

by rachel.crist, 17 Aug 2018
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The Demolition Permits Audit Report published in August 2017 highlights concerns about demolition safety risks that are not being fully considered, such as asbestos or lead. Below is a summary of the federal and state safety regulations regarding demolitions. What role should the City of Austin play in reinforcing these requirements? 

Federal Regulations

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) details the laws and regulations pertaining to asbestos and lead-based paint. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration section, work practices, sampling, removal, and worker protections are some of the topics highlighted. However, the federal law does not detail the type of projects that must comply with asbestos or lead surveys. The EPA delegates enforcement to the state; it is each state’s responsibility to meet regulations and also to demonstrate compliance with EPA requirements. 

Source: www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos-laws-and-regulations

State Regulations

Under the Texas Administrative Code established by the Texas Department of State Health Service, single-family dwellings (private residences and apartment buildings with no more than four dwelling units) are excluded from providing an asbestos survey before demolition or remodeling (§295.31). An asbestos survey is required for commercial properties.

A person is prohibited from performing any asbestos-related activity unless that person has the appropriate valid license, registration, accreditation, or approved exemption (E. Prohibition)

Source: Texas Department of State Health Services Asbestos Program, Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules; Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 295, Subchapter C


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