Asbestos Inspection & Testing

Exposure to asbestos can cause serious long-term health issues and even death. Asbestos was widely used in B.C. as a building material until the early 1990s, and it can be present in many areas of older buildings. If you suspect asbestos is present, do not touch or move it. Only qualified professionals can remove asbestos.

Check if my Contractor is Insured

Why do I need a clearance Report/letter?

When it comes to protecting yourself from liability, it is critical to know if a business or contractor you plan to hire is registered and in good standing.

If you hire a registered subcontractor who is not making required payments to WorkSafeBC, you could be liable for insurance premiums relating to the work or service they provided to you.

To protect your business from additional insurance premiums, always get a clearance letter before and after you receive services from a subcontractor. A clearance letter confirms a business is registered and paying its premiums. In order to be absolved of any potential liability related to your subcontractor’s unpaid premiums, you must have a clearance letter from WorkSafeBC, addressed to you, confirming that your subcontractor was "active and in good standing" for the entire period of your contract.

How workers are exposed
Anyone who repairs, renovates, or demolishes older buildings in B.C. is at risk of inhaling asbestos fibres. Found in dozens of items in older buildings, asbestos breaks down into small fibres as it ages or when it is disturbed. Touching or moving it releases the fibres into the air, where they can linger for hours.

Workers with the highest risk of breathing the fibres include:

  • Demolition and renovation contractors
  • Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians
  • Building owners, home inspectors, insurance adjusters, and real estate agents


The risks
Breathing in asbestos fibres damages your lungs, causing serious health problems.

These include:
  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma (a cancer)
  • Pleural thickening (a lung disease)

People exposed to asbestos won't develop illnesses right away. It takes years for your health to suffer. Research shows that smokers who inhale asbestos fibres greatly increase their risk of lung cancer.

Never assume a building material is free of asbestos. You can't tell just by looking at it. If you suspect asbestos is present, stop work immediately and have a qualified asbestos professional complete an asbestos survey.

If asbestos is found, the law requires employers to hire a qualified abatement contractor to remove it. A qualified person must also certify that the worksite air is safe, following the completion of the asbestos removal work. A notice of project must be submitted to WorkSafeBC for all asbestos work. 

How to reduce the risks
To reduce the potential for injury or disease, you need to control the risks and hazards in your workplace.

The most effective way to manage the risk of exposure to asbestos is to eliminate the source of exposure. If that's not possible, there are other risk controls to use. When choosing risk controls, start by asking yourself the questions in the following steps, listed in order of effectiveness. See our resources for more information.

1. Elimination or substitution
Eliminating the asbestos hazard by substituting a safer material, where possible, is the most effective control. For example:
  • Can you replace asbestos containing products such as brakes, clutches, or gaskets with non-asbestos substitutes?

2. Engineering controls
Making physical modifications to facilities, equipment, and processes can reduce exposure. Some questions to consider:
  • Can asbestos containing materials be encapsulated or enclosed
  • How can asbestos removal work areas be enclosed and the air filtered to prevent the escape of asbestos fibres?
  • How will worker exposure to asbestos be monitored?
  • How will asbestos waste be properly contained and disposed of?

3. Administrative controls
Changing work practices and work policies, awareness tools, and training can limit the risk of asbestos exposure. Some questions to consider:
  • Have you developed a written exposure control plan for asbestos?
  • How can warning signs be effectively posted to warn unprotected workers?
  • Where can written safe work procedures be posted?
  • How will you train workers regarding the hazards of asbestos and how to protect themselves?

4.Personal protective equipment
This is the least effective control. It must always be used in addition to at least one other control. Personal protective equipment must always be used when working with asbestos. Some questions to consider:
  • Do workers have the required personal protective equipment, including respirators and protective clothing?
  • Have respirators been checked and fit tested to make sure they will work properly?

Asbestos in Demolition and Renovation

Does the house you're working on contain asbestos?
See some common places where asbestos can be found in a home.

An Asbestos Inspection is critical for anyone

  • Considering buying a home built during the 1980s or earlier
  • Homeowners who are considering maintenance or renovations on a property built 1980s or earlier
  • Property Investors buying property to renovate and resell or to tenant
  • Commercial Property Owners and Managers
  • Body Corporate or Strata Title Managers
  • Anybody with control or management of a Workplace

An Asbestos Inspection includes a full visual assessment to identify areas of the building which potentially contain Asbestos. The condition of the Asbestos is documented in a written report with photos and when Asbestos Testing is carried out, a complete lab analysis report is also included.

Recommendations for further risk management and maintenance and management requirements are also available. As we have no relationship with Asbestos Removal companies, we have no vested interest in either overstating the quantity of suspect or Asbestos Containing Materials or in exaggerating the poor condition of the material, constraining your management options to removal when there may be suitable alternatives.

In many situations the presence of asbestos containing material can only be confirmed with an Asbestos Test. This requires that one or a number of small samples is safely removed to an accredited Laboratory for testing and analysis.

We can provide safe and reliable Asbestos Tests and Sampling Analysis in conjunction with accredited laboratory partners. In addition air monitoring by licensed technicians is also available.

It is critical that anyone considering even minor maintenance and renovations which may include drilling, scraping, demolishing or disposing of building materials that you have an Inspection organized quickly and efficiently by our qualified Asbestos Inspectors.

An Asbestos Test can potentially ensure that you do not expose yourself, your family and even contractors to a dangerous hazard.

Since Asbestos should be handled carefully, only trust trained professionals to take care of your asbestos identification and asbestos testing requirements.

Get the reassurance that your home is free from illness causing asbestos. Call Assure Property Solutions Inc for an Asbestos inspection today!

Resources:

Asbestos awareness for homeowners
https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/hazards-exposures/asbestos/think-asbestos

What is Asbestos
You've probably heard of asbestos, but how much do you really know about it? Where is it found and what does it do to your body?

Naturally Occurring Asbestos and Exposure Risks

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