Assess and Manage Asbestos Related Risks in the Workplace

October 3, 2017 – Hamilton, ON – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has launched an e-course to help individuals recognize, assess, and manage asbestos-related risks in the workplace. While the use of asbestos in newly-installed products has diminished greatly in Canada in recent decades, many older applications remain in homes, buildings, and products.

The e-course, Asbestos in the Workplace, will provide employers, health and safety advisors, committee members, building owners, and property managers with an understanding of the hazards associated with asbestos, and how to manage and take action against them.

Participants can expect to learn how to find sources of asbestos in the workplace, how to identify situations that could pose a risk of asbestos exposure, how asbestos hazards are assessed, and how to access legislation and other resource materials to help manage asbestos in the workplace.

The e-course, Asbestos in the Workplace, is available from the CCOHS website:


“People contact our Safety InfoLine and regularly ask about asbestos in buildings. Workers who are exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing serious diseases years after they are exposed. It is our hope that the guidance in this course will help promote safe work and prevent further asbestos related illnesses.

- Gareth Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Quick Facts

  • Asbestos is no longer mined in Canada.
  • Because it has heat-resistant and insulating properties, asbestos was used in a wide range of manufactured products. Before 1990, asbestos was mainly used for insulating buildings and homes and for fireproofing. Asbestos was used by industry, construction, and commercial sectors in many products.
  • When asbestos is dry, it can be crumbled, pulverized or powdered, releasing small fibres and clumps of fibres into the air as dust. Inhaling asbestos during manufacturing, or use, or from demolition of old construction materials is the main health concern.
  • The health effects from asbestos exposure are well documented, including asbestosis and changes in the lining of the lungs (pleural abnormalities). All forms of asbestos have been shown to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
  • The average time from exposure to developing health effects related to asbestos exposure (latency period) can be very long - 20 to even 40 years or longer.
  • There is minimal or no risk if the materials containing asbestos in a building are: tightly bound in the original product (and in good condition), sealed behind walls and floorboards, isolated in the attic, and left undisturbed.   
  • CCOHS courses are unique in that they are developed by subject specialists in the field, and reviewed by representatives from labour, employers, and government to ensure the content and approach are unbiased and credible.

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