B.C. seeks input on proposed asbestos licensing rules
British Columbians are invited to provide feedback on proposed health and safety requirements for contractors, employers and workers who undertake asbestos abatement work.
Asbestos-related diseases are the leading cause of workplace deaths in B.C. and workers and others continue to be exposed to this extremely hazardous substance.
To improve workplace health and safety, the provincial government is proposing new standards under the Workers Compensation Act that would require:
* asbestos abatement contractors to be licensed by WorkSafeBC to operate in B.C.; and
* employers, workers and contractors who perform asbestos abatement work be certified through a mandatory safety training process that would be authorized by WorkSafeBC.
The proposed amendments would help strengthen the existing regulatory requirements for asbestos abatement work. All abatement contractors would need to be licensed to operate in B.C. and their workers would have to complete training in the safe handling of asbestos. All contractors in good standing would be listed on a publicly accessible registry so that building owners can ensure they are hiring a qualified company with trained workers, a Ministry of Labour media release explained.
The proposed amendments would also strengthen WorkSafeBC’s enforcement tools and grant the authority to deny, cancel or suspend licences of non-compliant contractors, the ministry said.
Government would like to hear from a broad range of British Columbians, including workers, employers, contractors, building and homeowners, and the general public.
The consultation opened Tuesday, Jan. 11, and runs to Friday, Feb. 11.