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WorkSafeBC and Asbestos: Asbestos and the Workplace

On the WorkSafeBC website, the following notice was posted:

“Notice of 2016 Asbestos Inspection: Our prevention officers will be conducting planned inspections of worksites from July 1 to December 31, 2016, to ensure all jobsites are properly informed and equipped to safely remove asbestos-containing materials and are in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.”

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
Part 6: Asbestos

Below is text from the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations pertaining to asbestos. It is worth reading the entire document as there is information on, amongst other things, identification, instruction and training and protecting work surfaces.The starting point is to identify what products in each workplace contain asbestos and the amount of asbestos that those products contain.

Regulations related to “Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment”

6.29 Respiratory protection

(1) The employer must supply, and ensure that workers within a designated work area wear, respirators which are adequate for the anticipated level of exposure.

(2) The employer must ensure that a single use respirator is not used for protection against asbestos.

[Amended by B.C. Reg. 312/2010, effective February 1, 2011.]

6.30 Protective clothing

(1) The employer must ensure that all persons within a designated work area wear protective clothing which is made of material resistant to penetration by asbestos fibres, fits snugly at the neck, wrists and ankles, and as necessary to protect against the risk, covers the head and feet as well as the body.

(2) The employer must replace or repair any torn or damaged protective clothing immediately.

(3) Before a worker removes protective clothing and equipment, the employer must ensure that the worker cleans this gear with a damp cloth or a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA-filtered exhaust.

(4) The employer must ensure that a worker removes protective clothing and equipment before leaving the designated work area.

(5) The employer must ensure that protective clothing contaminated with asbestos is, before reuse, cleaned with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA-filtered exhaust, and placed in a water-soluble plastic bag, which is sealed and labelled before being sent to an acceptable laundry facility (

Information about the Application of Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, including “Remedy Without Delay”:

Information about the Rights and Responsibilities of employers as per Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, including the “Correction of Unsafe Conditions”:

Interestingly, the WorkSafeBC webpage dedicated to the topic of asbestos does not mention asbestos in brake pads/linings or the threat of asbestos to auto service technicians; the focus is largely on the construction industry:


On December 15, 2016, the federal government announced that:

  • “Canada will move forward with a whole-of-government approach to fulfill its commitment to ban asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2018. The approach will be guided by science-based decision making and will be implemented in consultation with our partners. Canadians can be confident that the Government of Canada is making every effort to protect their health and safety, along with the health and safety of their families, co-workers and communities.”

  • “The Government of Canada will work with the health, labour, trade and commercial sectors, among others, to fulfill its commitment to ban asbestos by 2018. The regulatory process will be open and inclusive and will allow for consultations with multiple stakeholders—including provinces, territories, communities, industry, scientists and health professionals—in advance of the ban being implemented.”

The ban will impact stakeholders throughout the aftermarket supply chain. The short timeline between the announcement of the ban and the actual implementation of the ban will require the government to act fast in information gathering, stakeholder engagement, logistical planning and implementation. The need for speed is evident in Environment and Climate Change Canada’s notice in the Canada Gazette regarding mandatory reporting to collect information on the manufacture, import, export and use of asbestos and products containing asbestos for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 calendar years and socioeconomic information of relevant organizations.  The notice of mandatory reporting was released on December 19, 0216 with mandatory reports due on January 18, 2017.

Of importance to the aftermarket, the ban is:

  • “creating new regulations that ban the manufacture, use, import and export of asbestos under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the legislative framework that protects people from the risks associated with hazardous substances such as asbestos;

  • establishing new federal workplace health and safety rules that will drastically limit the risk of people coming into contact with asbestos on the job;

  • updating our international position regarding the listing of asbestos as a hazardous material based on Canada's domestic ban before next year's meeting of parties to the Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty involving more than 150 countries that support listing asbestos as a hazard; and

  • raising awareness of the health impacts of asbestos to help reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.”