Did you know that asbestos related disease remains one of the leading causes of preventable work-related deaths? Asbestos exposure in workplaces can be significantly reduced through adequate education and training.

In 2018, WorkSafeBC implemented the asbestos initiative for commercial spaces which aims to increase knowledge surrounding asbestos-related hazards. Additionally, this initiative aims to reduce the exposure risk for people who work within close proximity to asbestos-containing materials.

A qualified person can identify asbestos containing materials present within a workplace by conducting a hazardous materials survey. If asbestos is identified to be present, the employer must have an asbestos inventory completed by the qualified person. A copy of this inventory must be kept current and easily accessible within the workplace. An inventory should include sampling specifications such as the sampling locations, description of material, type and percentage of asbestos identified, and the method used for analysis. It should also include any materials that must be assumed to be asbestos containing due to the impracticality or inaccessibility when sampling.

Once asbestos containing materials have been identified in a workplace, an employer must identify these materials through labels, signage, or other effective means. A risk assessment should be conducted by a qualified person that addresses the condition, friability, accessibility, likelihood of damage, and potential of fibre release for each material identified to contain asbestos. An exposure control place should also be put in place to educate workers who may be at risk of exposure through workplace activities.

If you would like more information regarding inventories, risk assessments, or exposure control plans for asbestos containing materials, please contact us at [email protected].