WorkSafeBC launches online registry of licensed asbestos abatement contractors
Health & Safety Asbestos WorkSafeBC
WorkSafeBC has launched an online registry of licensed asbestos abatement employers from across British Columbia.
Starting Jan. 1, 2024, asbestos abatement employers must be licensed to operate in B.C. This means homeowners, business owners, and contractors must ensure their asbestos abatement contractor holds a valid licence before allowing them to carry out work.
The Asbestos Abatement Licence (AAL) Registry lists employers that have met specific criteria, demonstrating their commitment to ensuring their workers are certified and adhere to safety standards, the agency said.
In B.C., asbestos is prevalent in residential and commercial buildings, posing serious health and safety risks when disturbed, it said. Asbestos is a mineral that was used in more than 3,000 building materials from the 1950s to 1990s. Newer homes and buildings can also have asbestos if they were built with older materials.
When asbestos is disturbed through renovation or demolition work, exposure can lead to severe health issues, including lung diseases and cancer.
Between 2002 and 2022, asbestos exposure was the leading cause of work-related deaths in the province, resulting in 1,168 fatalities.
Hiring licensed asbestos abatement professionals and certified workers is a crucial step in safeguarding the well-being of everyone involved in renovation or demolition projects, WorkSafeBC said.
“Homeowners, business owners, and contractors benefit from knowing that licensed contractors are invested in executing the work safely, as their licence is contingent on this,” it said. “Once a licence is issued, WorkSafeBC will conduct regular reviews and inspections of licensees to ensure compliance with occupational health and safety legislation and regulations.”
Obligations for businesses and homeowners
The new regulations include an obligation for building owners and prime contractors to ensure that an asbestos abatement contractor holds a valid licence before carrying out the work.
Failure to hire licensed professionals not only jeopardizes the health and safety of workers and residents but can also add significant expenses for proper cleanup and abatement, as well as potential consequences from WorkSafeBC, including stop-work orders.
The AAL Registry is updated daily and reflects the most current information available to WorkSafeBC.
Inclusion in the registry does not constitute an endorsement or referral from WorkSafeBC.
About licensing and certification
Asbestos licensing and certification requirements were made through amendments to the Workers Compensation Act in spring 2022. The changes mean that, as of Jan. 1, 2024, employers performing asbestos abatement work must be licensed to operate in B.C. and anyone performing this work must be trained and certified. The legislative amendments also gave WorkSafeBC the authority to develop and administer the licensing and certification regime.