Asbestos Abatement Licensing and Training
On this page…
Who: The public, workers, and labour partners
What: Proposed workplace requirements for asbestos abatement licensing
Why: To seek feedback on the new workplace protections
The Province continues to advance workplace health and safety and would like to hear from British Columbians about a proposal to establish new workplace requirements related to asbestos.
Asbestos-related diseases are the leading cause of workplace deaths in BC, accounting for 33% of all occupational disease and traumatic workplace fatalities from 2000 to 2020 – a total of 1,279 deaths out of 3,879 workplace fatalities.
Workers and others continue to be exposed to this extremely hazardous substance due to high levels of non-compliance with existing health and safety rules amongst some employers and contractors who undertake asbestos abatement work, and a lack of adequate safety training for asbestos abatement workers.
Problems include not testing for the presence of asbestos-containing materials prior to undertaking a renovation; inadequate procedures and controls; inadequate training and supervision; asbestos removal being undertaken by workers who lack proper personal protective equipment; and the release of asbestos fibers into the air during a demolition project.
What is asbestos abatement?
Asbestos abatement involves work that identifies, takes samples for testing, removes, transports and disposes of asbestos containing material. Asbestos abatement must be performed properly before a building is renovated or demolished so that the site is safe and free from asbestos fibers for workers and others.
When combined with WorkSafeBC’s existing regulations and education and enforcement programs, the proposed licensing and certified training requirements support a regulatory framework that is better aligned to the highly hazardous nature of asbestos abatement work. The proposed requirements also help ensure that this work is performed safely and in accordance with the law.
The provincial government has made amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that establish requirements that asbestos abatement contractors must be licensed to operate in British Columbia, and that workers who perform this work must complete mandatory safety training and obtain certificates.
Read the February 16, 2022 news release.
Read the June 9, 2023 information bulletin.
To learn more about asbestos training and licensing, visit WorkSafeBC.
Read the Asbestos Report 2018.