See the full asbestos abatement contractor checklist from WorkSafeBC
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that was used in many building products. It is commonly found in sheet vinyl flooring, vinyl floor tile, cement siding (transite board), perimeter drain, drywall joint compound, textured walls and ceilings, plaster, roof shingles, pipe insulation, etc. Serious chronic health problems or even death to an asbestos-related disease may occur to those exposed to asbestos
If homeowners and their families do not take proper precautions for work around asbestos, workers may develop serious chronic health problems or even die of an asbestos related disease. These same health affects apply to everyone.
In 1984 asbestos was banned from products in Canada such as building materials for residential and commercial structures. It was expected that asbestos products ran out by the late-1980s and so the cut-off was set at December 31st, 1990 to account for unused stockpiles. Unused asbestos-containing products are still found, for example, in old storage rooms, such as boxes of unused floor tiles or unmixed drywall mud.
Asbestos was used in more than 3000 building products in Canada alone, such as:
It is also found naturally in vermiculite insulation situated between attic joists, inside wall cavities and cinder block in both residential and commercial properties.
Asbestos minerals tend to separate into microscopic particles that become airborne and are easily inhaled. People exposed to asbestos in the workplace have developed several types of life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer.
Like any hazard, length, intensity and frequency of exposure are major factors in the risk of asbestos-related respiratory illness. WorkSafeBC has set out very specific regulations regarding exposure potential for workers who may be exposed to asbestos.
For a property owner, it is best not to disturb materials that may release asbestos fibers into the air, such as cutting into drywall, scraping popcorn ceilings, removing sheet vinyl or vinyl floor tile, removing ductwork, chimneys, tile, etc. If the attic or walls of a structure contain vermiculite insulation, leave it alone. Avoid disturbing the material. Do not sweep it or vacuum it up. Do not store belongings, or allow anyone to perform work in the attic, such as installing pot lights.
Hire a professional to assess the presence of asbestos in a building, and do not attempt to remove it without the assistance of a professional.
To prevent health problems, WorkSafeBC has developed requirements detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations that Hazardous Material Abatement Contractors must adhere to when conducting removal and disposal of Asbestos Containing Materials.
Check out the WorkSafeBC site for more information!