What are the legal obligations that your company must comply with regarding asbestos?

Asbestos is a thermal, acoustic and electrical insulator used since ancient times. However, it has been recognized for several years by the WHO as a very carcinogenic product. If you are an employer, it is therefore important to comply with your various premises with the new regulations in force, especially in the event of a disaster.

What are the legal obligations that your company must comply with regarding asbestos? We invite you to discover them in this article.

When should an employer test for asbestos?

According to the requirements of the regulations (RSST S-2.1, r. 13) relating to health and safety at work, several obligations are now incumbent on business leaders. Several scenarios exist for this.

Taking into account the age of the workplace

  • All buildings built before 15 February 1990 must be inspected for flocking containing asbestos;
  • Any building constructed before May 20, 1999 must be examined for insulating materials containing asbestos.

Also, until proven otherwise, the law considers that your building is always exposed to the risk of asbestos.

In addition, if the construction of your building was carried out after May 20, 1999, this measure does not apply to you. The same if you have evidence that the flocking and insulation formerly present in your building has been properly replaced.

Taking into account the type of material used for your construction

Apart from the measures mentioned above concerning the age of buildings, there are also other rules. These mainly concern materials likely to contain asbestos (MSCA for short).

Indeed, the testing of these materials is not necessarily mandatory, unless they are the subject of work likely to generate dust. In the latter case, on the other hand,the asbestos inspection becomes mandatory, and if it is positive, appropriate measures will have to be taken. The employer must either remove them or coat them.

What are the employer’s obligations regarding asbestos in the event of a disaster?

As an employer, when a disaster occurs in your premises possibly containing asbestos, it is imperative to secure the premises. An asbestos removal procedure must be carried out to clean up the building and avoid contamination of your employees. In accord with the rules of the art, such an operation must be carried out immediately within 24 hours of the disaster.

How should the employer communicate about asbestos to workers?

Whether in a totally formal setting, or in the event of a disaster, the employer is required to communicate well with its workers around asbestos situations.

Indeed, every employer must have a register relating to the materials, flocking and thermal insulation that have been examined or inspected and make this document available to workers. The regulation imposes total transparency on all its information to be communicated to employees.

In the event of a disaster, the employer must define a strict framework for the work. It must also inform and sensitize all those working on the site and potentially exposed to the risk of contamination. This will allow these workers to adopt safe work practices.

Who of the employer or owner of the premises should take care of the inspection?

This is a real controversial issue. And to comply with what the regulation says, this responsibility in most cases falls to the employer. However, in the event that the premises concerned are not under the authority of the employer, it is now up to the owner to ensure this inspection.

As an employer, is it possible to do the inspection yourself?

Even if the law does not formally prohibit you, it is still inconceivable as an employer to embark on an asbestos inspection. Unless you have seasoned skills in this area, it would be a waste of time.

Indeed, inspection operations involve the taking of samples, which is a very delicate operation. In addition, it will be necessary to do specific analyzes in a laboratory approved by the Quebec jurisdiction. It is therefore useless, even dangerous for a business leader to embark on such an adventure on his own.

Why use a qualified examiner?

You will surely have understood it. It is recommended that you entrust all your asbestos inspections to equipped and qualified professionals. At Exterminateur Rive-Nord, we support you in your pest extermination projects. Whether for a decontamination of asbestos, mold, or even fungi in your homes, let our specialists lend you a hand thanks to our effective and very famous air test.