Revisions to the WorkSafeBC legislation will help keep workers and building occupants safe

(MISSISSAUGA, December 22, 2023) – FIRST ONSITE Property Restoration, Canada’s leading property restoration company, today announced its readiness for changes to British Columbia’s asbestos regulations. First Onsite’s practices are in line with WorkSafeBC’s revised manual entitled “Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos” which reflects changes in Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and its associated guidelines.

Asbestos in buildings
Asbestos can be found in many common building materials. There are no significant health risks when these products are left undisturbed in good condition or isolated. However, in the event of disturbance these materials can become airborne and inhaled deep into the lungs which can have harmful long term health effects.

New asbestos training, certification, licensing, and identification requirements
WorkSafeBC is implementing mandatory training and licensing for asbestos abatement work to help keep workers safe from the danger of asbestos. As of January 1, 2024, asbestos abatement contractors must be licensed to operate in British Columbia, and anyone performing asbestos abatement work must complete mandatory safety training and obtain certificates. — From WorkSafeBC website.

There are also guideline revisions about how to safely identify asbestos, which are summarized in “10 Steps to Complying with Asbestos Abatement Requirements”. For many years, as industry leaders in safety, First Onsite has been educating and guiding our industry partners on the regulations surrounding hazardous materials identification.

“First Onsite eagerly welcomes the changes to safeguard B.C. workers from health issues associated with asbestos exposure” said Erik Hecht, Regional Vice President of B.C., FIRST ONSITE Property Restoration. “We know that asbestos is a leading cause of workplace fatalities and we have always taken a very serious and comprehensive approach to training our employees on all aspects of asbestos identification and management in order to protect the health of our employees and anyone who is occupying the buildings that we perform work in. The new licensed training requirements will protect workers in our industry.”

First Onsite’s involvement: providing an industry voice
First Onsite worked closely with WorkSafeBC, training providers, and industry safety leaders throughout the development of this new legislation to ensure that the company provided an industry voice in the many stakeholder consultation sessions.

“Our teams have a lot of experience in different aspects of asbestos management, and it was important for our company to contribute our industry perspective to the consultation sessions with WorkSafeBC”, says Erik Hecht.

For years, even prior to the new requirements being introduced, First Onsite has been providing practical training to all project managers, supervisors, and workers in asbestos and all other hazardous materials. The company had already invested in employee training in surveying, handling, and managing asbestos prior to the new certified training requirements.

“Because of our history and heavy investment into comprehensive asbestos training, our managers, supervisors and workers are competent in their knowledge of the legislation and the procedures for managing hazardous materials. We always done the right thing and we are ready for this new era.”

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