New Obligations Regarding the Management of Asbestos in the Workplace

The Regulation to Amend the Regulation Respecting Occupational Health and Safety and the Safety Code for the Construction Industry1 recently adopted by the Québec government seeks to ensure that employers comply with the new standards of security regarding safe management of asbestos.

Since June 6, 2013, the new provisions essentially target the safe management of asbestos in facilities as well as materials and products which might potentially contain asbestos.

On these grounds, employers now have essentially the following obligations:

  • To locate flocking and heat insulating material in facilities contingent on their construction date and to check, every two years, flocking and heat insulation material containing asbestos.
  • Before undertaking work liable to generate dust, the employer must check for the presence of asbestos in the materials and products likely to contain some.
  • To ensure that corrective measures are taken to repair or remove interior finish that may emit dust because of its state and to control the emission of asbestos dust in flocking and heat insulating material.
  • To train and inform the workers before undertaking work liable to produce asbestos dust emissions.
  • Employers must keep and update a register which contains information with regards to flocking and heat insulating material and allow disclosure of the information.

As per An Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety, the employer’s obligations are also extended to those who retain the services of a worker for the purposes of his establishment. Moreover, a worker is defined as a person, including a student in the cases determined by regulation, who, under a contract of employment or a contract of apprenticeship, even without remuneration, carries out work for an employer, except a person employed as manager, superintendent, foreman or as the agent of the employer in his relations with his workers or a director or officer of a legal person.

Employers are awarded a delay of two years of the coming into force of this Regulation to conduct inspection and locate the flocking and the heat insulating material.

1 O.C. 476-2013, (2013) GOQ11, 1255