Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | September 12, 2023
RICHMOND, B.C. – WorkSafeBC is now accepting licence applications from asbestos abatement employers.
As of Jan. 1, 2024, employers performing asbestos abatement work must be licensed to operate in B.C. and anyone performing this work must be trained and certified.
“It’s heartbreaking that asbestos-related exposure continues to be the number one killer of workers in B.C. Our government is committed to doing what is needed to keep people safe from the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure. Licensing asbestos abatement employers will ensure that only qualified and compliant companies can carry on this work. The new requirement is the first-of-its-kind in Canada and will go a long way to protecting the health and safety of workers and the public for generations,” B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains said in a statement.
Any employer conducting the following types of asbestos abatement work will need a licence for:
- Identifying material that is or may be asbestos-containing material (ACM)
- Collecting samples of material that is or may be ACM
- Assessing the risk posed by material that is or may be ACM
- Assessing the risk posed by working with or near material that is or may be ACM
- Removing, repairing, transporting, or disposing of, material that is or may be ACM
- Planning or supervising any of the above activities
Once a licence is issued the licensee is added to a public registry posted on WorkSafeBC.com so other businesses, contractors, workers and homeowners can identify firms licensed to perform asbestos abatement work in B.C., a release said.
Asbestos abatement employers must also ensure their workers are trained and certified by Jan. 1, 2024.
Any individual performing asbestos abatement work must complete mandatory safety training and obtain a certificate from WorkSafeBC, the release said. The certificate will demonstrate that training has been completed, and they have the knowledge and skills to perform tasks safely. The level of certification required depends on the type of asbestos work being done.
“Certification and licensing go hand in hand to create a safer work environment for everyone. Licensing ensures that only qualified contractors operate in the field and the certification requirements demonstrate that individuals have the knowledge to safely handle asbestos abatement tasks,” explained WorkSafeBC head of prevention services Todd McDonald.
Online information sessions for workers about training and certification will be held on Sept. 13 and Oct. 5. Details are available on worksafebc.com.