This program applies to all buildings and structures owned by Concordia University, to all employees and students of the University and to external organisations including contractors hired by the University who may come into contact with or disturb asbestos containing material in University buildings.
For more detailed information, questions or concerns please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 514-848-2424 ext. 4877 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material found in rock and soil. Due to its fire-resistant qualities it was commonly used as a popular building material prior to the 1990’s but is no longer used today due to it’s known health implications.
What are the health risks?
Asbestos fibres pose a health risk when they become airborne and are inhaled into the lungs. Once in the lungs, they cause a biochemical reaction in certain individuals, which may result in illness. The risk of developoing an illness increases, with the amount of fibres inhaled and in most cases illnesses have been associated with heavy exposure over many years.
Three illnesses have been linked with exposure to asbestos:
• Asbestosis: A scaring of the lungs
• Lung cancer: Smoking can significantly increase this risk
• Mesothelioma: a cancer of the lining of the chest cavity
Am I at risk?
The presence of asbestos in a building does not necessarily constitute a health risk. Fibres only become hazardous when they are airborne. Fibres that are ingested or come in contact with skin are not harmful.
According to Health Canada, there are no significant health risks if materials containing asbestos are tightly bound in products and are in good condition, and are left undisturbed.
What should be done before undertaking work?
For everyone’s safety, anyone who has not undergone asbestos training as required by the Asbestos Management Program should refrain from:
• Shifting or moving ceiling tiles
• Drilling, hammering or scraping walls
• Pulling wires or fishing wires behind walls or above ceiling tiles
Please contact Facilities Management at extension 2400 for assistance.
Asbestos removal is a top priority when spaces undergo major renovations.
Concordia has strict procedures in place for the proper management of asbestos. Construction zones that require asbestos abatement are professionally handled, sealed shut and personal protective equipment and special training is required when working on these sites.
During renovations you may see the following signage on doors entering into construction zones. This signage is require by law at worksites where asbestos abatement is taking place.
Concordia has developed specific signage in areas where building materials (ex. ceiling tiles, walls) should not be disturbed due to the presence of asbestos in or behind these materials. The signage serves as a reminder to building occupants, facilities management personnel and external contractors to not disturb asbestos containing material. The signage is found mainly in the Hall and VA buildings.
All persons undertaking work with asbestos or asbestos containing material, or work that is liable to release asbestos dust must be appropriately trained and informed of the risks and safe working practices outlined in Quebec’s Construction Safety Code (S-2.1, r.4)
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees who have not been trained do not disturb or come in contact with asbestos.
As per Quebec’s Regulation Respecting Occupational Health and Safety, Concordia is required to maintain a register that contains the following information:
the location of flocking and heat insulating material;
the presence and type of asbestos or the absence of asbestos, in flocking and heat insulating material, materials and products, and the verifiable documentary information or sampling reports carried out indicating the types of asbestos or showing the absence of asbestos;
the dates and results of the inspections of flocking and heat insulating material containing asbestos and the dates and results of any other verification of materials and products;
the nature and the date of the work carried out on asbestos containing materials.
The university’s asbestos inventory meets the requirements set forth by the regulations. The asbestos inventory is maintained by EHS.
If you have any questions regarding the presence of asbestos containing materials in your work area, please contact EHS at ext. 4877 or at email@example.com.