Safe management of asbestos : only two weeks left to undertake mandatory inspections
MONTREAL, May 21, 2015 - Employers in Quebec have until June 6, 2015 to inspect materials likely to contain, or containing, asbestos in the buildings they occupy and to create a reporting registry.
The measures are requirements of the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety as well as the Safety Code for the construction industry, which were amended two years ago.
The regulation applies to all buildings, where asbestos can be present in a wide range of materials, products and equipments, from vinyl flooring to suspended ceiling tiles and certain adhesives. It is important to note gypsum wallboard and cement seals or finishes manufactured after 1980 are considered to be asbestos-free.
Inspections must be carried out in buildings built before February 15, 1990 to locate asbestos-laden flocking and in buildings built before May 20, 1999 to identify tainted heat insulators that may also pose a problem.
Employers have to check the state of conservation of the materials, keep an updated registry for employees that details inspections and remedial work, as well as take appropriate measures to secure the asbestos if needed.
Flocking and heat insulators are presumed to contain the substance unless there is evidence proving otherwise, such as safety fact sheets or analyzed samples. A material contains asbestos when the concentration is in excess of 0.1%. A subsequent inspection of sprayed asbestos and thermal insulation is required every 2 years and before the start of any work affecting the materials that may contain asbestos.
Given that employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of their employees, they are accountable for adequately managing the risks linked to asbestos in the workplace.