Hazardous Building Materials

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Found in virtually every building environment, hazardous materials such as lead, silica, mercury and asbestos are common components of building materials. These hazardous building materials are dangerous to you and your staff when they become degraded, disturbed or airborne during maintenance, construction, renovation or demolition. Prior to engaging in any of these activities, it’s your responsibility to identify hazardous materials and plan for their management/abatement.
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REGULATIONS: Section 30 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Eleven (11) Designated Substances Regulations.

WHO: Building owners, building managers, construction managers.

OBLIGATIONS: Required to determine whether any Designated Substances are present at a project site and provide this information to prospective constructors, contractors and subcontractors as part of the bidding process.

Section 30 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires project owners to determine whether any Designated Substances are present at the project site so that proper precautions can be taken by the constructor to ensure the health and safety of their workers.

Designated substances are a group of 11 contaminants – acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica and vinyl chloride – that are particularly hazardous and can cause significant occupational illness.

Important Services
- Hazardous building materials surveys
- Recommendations on abatement
- Design of hazardous building materials management programs
- Help in selecting an experienced and qualified abatement contractor
- Design of contract specifications, tendering, contractor walkthroughs and tender evaluation
- Inspection and air monitoring during abatement Education & training

Hazardous Building Materials

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Hazardous building materials are found in virtually every building environment, including hospitals, schools, industrial, commercial and residential buildings. For the most part, these materials are not hazardous to building occupants unless they become degraded or are disturbed and become airborne during construction, renovation or demolition activities. In order to ensure the health and safety of construction workers with respect to hazardous building materials, Section 30 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires a building owner to determine whether any designated substances are present at a project site prior to construction activities and enclose this information to prospective constructors, contractors and subcontractors as part of the bidding process. An owner who fails to comply with Section 30 is liable to the constructor and every contractor and subcontractor who suffers any loss or damage due to non-compliance.

What are Designated Substances?
Designated substances are a group of eleven individual contaminants that are known to be particularly hazardous and can cause significant occupational illness. The eleven designated substances include acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica and vinyl chloride. In Ontario, Regulation 490/09 was developed to address each of these particular contaminants and requires employers to take all necessary measures to ensure that workers are not overexposed.

Asbestos is the only designated substance that has a regulation applicable directly to construction projects (Ontario Regulation 278/05). However, the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has also published guidelines for lead and silica on construction projects to ensure that these materials are properly controlled during construction and renovation activities to protect the worker, building occupants and the general public from unnecessary exposure. A variety of other potentially hazardous materials (such as PCBs, CFCs, stored chemicals, mould and guano) may also be present within your facility that requires proper control and/or disposal procedures during construction or renovation activities.

Asbestos-Containing Materials
Asbestos–containing materials were used widely throughout Canada in building construction for its thermal properties, electrical resistance and its ability to withstand chemical breakdown. Often referred to as the “magic mineral”, exposure to asbestos can lead to adverse health effects such as asbestosis and lung cancer when inhaled over a long period of time.

Ontario Regulation 278/05 “Designated Substance - Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations” is the governing regulation in Ontario for building owners, building managers, construction managers, general contractors, engineers and maintenance personnel who are required to manage or may come in contact with asbestos as part of their work activities. This regulation has been updated significantly from the previous regulation governing management of asbestos-containing building materials.

Some of the new requirements of this regulation include the following:

- Identification of all non-friable asbestos materials in surveys.
- Removal of >1 m2 of drywall with asbestos-containing joint compound as a Type 2 operation.
- Supplied air respiratory protection for removal of sprayed amosite or crocidolite asbestos.
- Clearance air testing using aggressive air monitoring techniques for most Type 3 operations.
- Completion of an Asbestos Abatement Worker Training Program approved by the Ministry of
- Training, Colleges and Universities for all workers and supervisors involved in Type 3 operations.

Safetech Environmental Limited (SEL) has a particular expertise in the identification, management, abatement and control of asbestos–containing materials and other hazardous building materials. We can assist you with ensuring that your facility is in compliance with O.Reg. 278/05 and that all hazardous materials present are properly identified and managed.

Our range of Hazardous Materials services includes:

- Hazardous Materials Surveys with Recommendations for Abatement
- Asbestos Surveys using the Asbestos Trakker Version 2.4
- Design of Hazardous Materials Management Programs
- Design of Contract Specifications, Tendering, Walkthroughs, and Tender Evaluation
- Inspection During Abatement, Air Monitoring and Laboratory Services

For more information on SEL’s Hazardous Materials consulting services, please give us a call at 1.877.GO.TO.SEL..

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