OHS Canada Magazine

Global Asbestos Awareness Week puts spotlight on workplace dangers

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April 2, 2024
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety

(Stanislav/Adobe Stock)

This week (April 1 to 7) is Global Asbestos Awareness Week, and the Saskatchewan government is using it as an opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos in the workplace.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was regularly used in buildings until the late 1990s. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibres are released into the air. When they are breathed in, they can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for many years. Over time, these fibres can accumulate and lead to serious health problems.

“Saskatchewan has taken many steps to ensure that workers are protected from the dangers of asbestos,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don McMorris said. “The online Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings was created to ensure that information about the presence of asbestos is easily accessible. This is just one of many educational tools available to protect workers from asbestos-related harm.”

The Public Health Act, 1994 requires the provincial government, Crown corporations, health regions and all facilities used as public schools to provide and post information about the presence of asbestos in those buildings.

Currently, Saskatchewan is the only provincial jurisdiction to have an online asbestos registry available to the public, it said.


To date, over 5,200 facilities have been registered in the searchable online tool.

In the 2024-25 provincial budget, $230,000 in new funding is provided to replace the current asbestos registry. This will ensure that the registry continues to protect workers when doing repairs or renovations to public buildings identified as containing asbestos.

Before the late 1990s, asbestos was used in over 3,000 different manufactured products. The only way to find out if a material contains asbestos is to have a sample tested at a qualified laboratory.


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