Asbestos was a popular material used widely in construction in commercial buildings and homes. If asbestos fibres are enclosed or tightly bound in a product, for example in asbestos siding or asbestos floor tiles, there are no significant health risks. Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are present in the air that people breathe. If asbestos becomes friable (it can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure) it is dangerous to humans.
Roofing materials, insulation, tiles and other materials used in construction process may have asbestos that is a potentially life-threatening material. If inhaled accidentally, it can lead to serious health complications. Therefore, the material has to be removed carefully by a trained professional.
Minimizing Workers’ Risk
Construction and maintenance workers should avoid creating asbestos dust from scraping, brushing, rubbing or cutting damaged insulation. Insulation damage should be reported to the appropriate authority, such as the construction company’s Occupational Health and Safety Manager. If you work in this area, determine whether asbestos is present before beginning work and take appropriate precautionary measures. If you’re not sure, hire a professional like RC White to do an assessment.
Government of Canada’s Role
Health Canada has encouraged provincial occupational health authorities to adopt stringent workplace exposure limits for asbestos. The sale of pure asbestos and certain high risk consumer products that are composed of or contain asbestos fibres is strictly regulated under the Hazardous Products Act. In addition, the emissions of asbestos into the environment from mining and milling operations are subject to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
Not all contractors are properly trained or licensed to recognize and remove asbestos.
If you want asbestos abatement done properly contact trained professionals like R.C. White Ltd.
RC White Ltd. is a member of EACO – the Environmental Abatement Council of Ontario.
Sources of Info
For more information on workplace safety, visit the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System – Official National Site – http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/index-eng.php/index.htm
For specific information on safety precautions and acceptable respirator masks when working with asbestos, go to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) Respirator Selection.