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Asbestos-Specific Requirements

Definitions and Regulations

ACM definition: Section 6.1 of the OHS Regulation defines ACM as a manufactured article or other material that is determined to contain at least 0.5% asbestos, or any traceable asbestos in vermiculite insulation, using the WorkSafeBC-approved sampling methods outlined below.

Examples of ACM found on Airport Authority properties include:

  • Pipe insulation
  • Spray-applied insulations and fireproofing
  • Texture coating (particularly ceilings)
  • Asbestos cement board and pipe
  • Drywall filling compounds
  • Floor tiles and grouts
  • Linoleum
  • Patching compounds
  • Roofing felts
  • Paper jacketing
  • Mastics
  • Boilers
  • Paving materials (asphalt, concrete, etc.)

There is no known ACM in the International Terminal Building or Transborder area due to their dates of construction. However, suspect materials such as cement products, mastics, roofing materials, and gaskets may be present, and further assessment of these materials may be required. Asbestos sampling for confirmation purposes and waste disposal may also be required.

ACM may be present in all other terminal and outbuildings (including Vancouver Airport Property Management and Cargo Business Development properties), as well as underground throughout Sea Island.

Bulk Sampling Methods

WorkSafeBC-approved sampling methods include:

  • NIOSH 9000, NIOSH 9002, and EPA 600/R-93/116 for asbestos
  • EPA 600R-04/004 for vermiculite insulation

Lab Analysis Requirements

In addition to WorkSafeBC-approved methods, the Airport Authority requires all samples (occupational, ambient, and compliance samples) to be sent to labs that are CALA or AIHA participants, and/or NVLAP accredited.

WorkSafeBC Occupational Exposure Limit

OHS Regulation Part 5 G5.48-1, Exposure Limits – Tables, shows the current 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) for all forms of asbestos to be 0.1 f/cc.

WorkSafeBC Clearance Level

OHS Regulation Part 6.12, Monitoring, requires clearance sampling to be conducted in previously contaminated areas inside containment. Airborne asbestos levels must not exceed 0.02 f/mL.

Managing Asbestos

Upon receipt of the BRHEMP RFI, the BRHEMP administrator reviews the location, scope of work, and historical records to determine whether ACM or suspect ACM is present in the work area. At that time, one or more of the following actions is taken:

  • No sampling required: There is sufficient historical information on ACM within the work area. To ensure that ACM is not inadvertently disturbed during the work, information on any known ACM is included in the BRHEMP Conditional Report even if it is not within the scope of work.
  • Additional sampling required: If there is insufficient historical information on ACM within the work area, the contract owner is informed and required to engage an Airport Authority representative environmental consultant to perform additional sampling.
  • Abatement: Whenever management in place is no longer practicable (during renovation/demolition, or when materials are in poor condition and pose an exposure hazard), abatement is required. Task-based Exposure Control Plans and written Safe Work Procedures must be developed as necessary.

Risk Classification

Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos, issued by WorkSafeBC, defines low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk work activities as outlined below.

Low-Risk Work Activity

A work activity that involves working with or in proximity to asbestos-containing material, if the material is NOT being:

  • Cut, sanded, drilled, broken, ground down, or otherwise fragmented, or
  • Disturbed in such a way that asbestos fibres may be released

Activities Considered Low Risk

    • Disturbing materials that contain less than 0.5% asbestos, provided dust controls are in place
    • Repairs to drywall that has asbestos-containing drywall filler, as long as the filler is not disturbed
    • Installing a screw, nail, or hanger on drywall that contains painted asbestos-containing filler
    • Replacing a single asbestos-containing floor tile without breaking the tile
    • Moving asbestos-containing waste material that is contained within a cleaned, properly sealed bag and then double-bagged

Moderate-Risk Work Activity

A work activity (other than a high-risk work activity) that involves working with or in proximity to ACM that is being cut, sanded, drilled, broken, ground down, or otherwise fragmented or disturbed, where personal protective equipment (PPE) or engineering controls need to be used to prevent worker exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.

Activities Considered Moderate Risk

    • Using hand tools to cut, shape, drill, grind, or remove non-friable manufactured products containing asbestos, such as asbestos cement pipe
    • Using power tools to cut, shape, drill, grind, or remove non-friable manufactured products containing asbestos, provided that each tool is equipped with a HEPA-filtered local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system (air monitoring results should be available that demonstrate the effectiveness of the LEV system in protecting workers from exposure to asbestos fibres)
    • Backing mounting screws out of asbestos cement products (such as transite board) and removing the boards or tiles intact
    • Buffing vinyl asbestos floor tiles with a coarse disc
    • Collecting asbestos samples for laboratory analysis
    • Removing any part of a false ceiling to gain access to a work area when materials containing friable asbestos are, or are likely to be, lying on the surface of the false ceiling
    • Removing drywall materials where joint-filling materials containing asbestos have been used
    • Removing asbestos tape or paper on ductwork
    • Removing vinyl-asbestos floor tile or other non-friable materials
    • Removing an entire piece of equipment or pipe with the ACM remaining effectively intact
    • Demolishing a block wall that has residual asbestos debris in its cavity
    • Removing asbestos-containing asphalt roofing material
    • Dismantling a treated enclosure upon completion of an asbestos removal project
    • Setting up and removing a glove-bag apparatus for the removal of pipe insulation
    • Using a prefabricated glove bag to remove asbestos insulation from piping systems
    • Using a HEPA vacuum to clean ceiling tiles/light fixtures with light to moderate contamination
    • Using a HEPA vacuum to clean asbestos-containing debris from an area before setting up containment
    • Cleaning out or replacing a pre-filter or HEPA filter in a HEPA vacuum

High-Risk Work Activity

A work activity that involves working with or in proximity to ACM if a high level of control is necessary to prevent worker exposure to airborne asbestos fibres.

Activities Considered High Risk

    • Removing, encapsulating, or enclosing materials containing friable asbestos during the repair, alteration, maintenance, demolition, or dismantling of any part of a building, structure, machine, or piece of equipment
    • Cleaning, maintaining, or removing air-handling equipment in buildings where sprayed fireproofing materials containing asbestos have been applied to the airways or ventilation ducts or have been used as spray-on insulation
    • Removing asbestos-containing textured materials from ceilings and/or walls
    • Repairing, altering, or dismantling any part of a boiler, furnace, kiln, or similar device in which insulating materials containing asbestos have been used or applied
    • Using power tools (without water or dust controls) to cut or drill through ACM
    • Removing asbestos-containing vermiculite insulation
    • Removing any ACM in circumstances where there would be a significant release of fibres

Airport Authority Minimum Control Expectations

The Airport Authority has minimum expectations that must be met when interacting with asbestos.

Low-Risk Work

    Employees are responsible to:

  • Clearly identify all ACM.
  • Ensure that all workers have been instructed in any work procedure restrictions needed to prevent disturbance of ACM.

Moderate-Risk Work

Employees should follow these general procedures:

  • Clearly mark the designated work area boundary by placing barricades, fences, or similar structures around the work area.
  • Place signs around the work area warning people not to enter the work area unless authorized to do so.
  • Wear the appropriate protective clothing:
    • Clothing material must resist penetration by asbestos fibres and must be impervious to penetration by asbestos fibres if workers are permitted to wear street clothing underneath.
    • Clothing must cover the body and fit snugly at the neck, wrists, and ankles.
    • Clothing must include a head covering and foot coverings (for example, laceless rubber boots or “booties”) that are acceptable for the specific worksite conditions.
    • Torn clothing must be immediately repaired or replaced.
  • Wear a respirator fitted with P100 (HEPA) filter(s).
  • Do not use dry sweeping or compressed air to clean up or remove dust or materials from work surfaces or clothing.
  • Use polyethylene (poly) drop sheets and, if necessary, seal windows, doorways, and other openings to prevent the spread of asbestos dust to other work areas.
  • Before starting any work that is likely to disturb ACM on the surfaces of anything in the work area, clean up any damaged materials by damp-wiping or using a HEPA vacuum.
  • Clearly describe how the work will take place, how the asbestos will be removed, what tools will be used, etc.
  • During the work, clean up dust and waste (wetted if possible) using a HEPA vacuum or by wet-sweeping or mopping. Do not use pressure spraying equipment of any type to remove ACM.
  • Immediately upon finishing the work, do the following with wet drop sheets and barriers:
    • Fold them to contain any remaining dust.
    • Bag or place them in a sealable container.
    • Dispose of them as asbestos waste.
  • Before leaving the work area, complete the following tasks:
    • Clean all protective equipment and clothing by damp-wiping or using a HEPA vacuum before taking the items outside the contaminated work area.
    • Leave any reusable protective clothing worn in the work area in the designated storage area or facility for cleaning. Place disposable protective clothing in a sealable container, and dispose of it as asbestos waste.
  • Place asbestos waste in a sealable container.
    • Label the container to identify the contents, hazards, and necessary precautions for handling the waste.
    • To prevent any interference with the work activity, do not allow containers of asbestos waste to accumulate in the work area.
    • Remove containers from the work area at the end of each work shift, if not more often.
    • Ensure that the containers remain under effective control if they are stored at the worksite before being disposed of.
  • Before removing asbestos waste containers from the work area, clean their external surfaces by wiping with a damp cloth or using a HEPA vacuum. Double-bagging is good practice and an industry standard.

High-Risk Work

Has the following requirements, as outlined in the OHS Regulation Part 6.16:

  • The employer (the Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor) must provide and maintain a containment and a decontamination facility, unless the containment is a glove bag.
  • The employer (the third-party environmental consultant) must inspect the containment and decontamination facility at least daily to ensure effectiveness is maintained.
  • The employer (the third-party environmental consultant) must ensure that the design of the decontamination facility includes all of the following:
    • Physical connection to the containment
    • Shower facility
    • Provision for the safe entry and exit of workers
  • If the high-risk work activity involves encapsulation of ACM, the employer (the third-party environmental consultant) must ensure that the encapsulant penetrates the material and effectively binds the asbestos fibres together, and has not disturbed the bonding of the material to the supporting surface.
  • When a high-risk work activity is completed and before dismantling the containment, the employer (the third-party environmental consultant) must do both of the following:
    • Visually inspect the area inside the containment to ensure that an effective cleanup has been completed.
    • Treat all exposed surfaces inside the containment with a sealant to bind any remaining asbestos fibres and prevent them from becoming airborne. For high-risk work, the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant performs QAQC on the abatement work and provides final approval prior to teardown.

Air Sampling Requirements: Moderate-Risk Work

The Airport Authority representative environmental consultant determines what air monitoring must be conducted for moderate-risk abatement. The requirements for occupational, ambient, and air clearance sampling are outlined below, as described in WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos.

Occupational Air Sampling

When moderate-risk occupational air sampling is required, the third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures outlined in WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos:

  • Collect occupational samples from the worker with the highest exposure risk (the worker closest to the ACM).
  • Attach the sampling cassette to the worker’s clothing so that the cassette is hanging down in the worker’s breathing zone.
  • Keep the worker under observation at all times during the sampling. This means that the technician must either enter and remain in the work area during the course of the sampling, or observe the worker from outside the barrier tape or containment. For more information, refer to OHS Guideline G6.12(2), Asbestos monitoring.
  • Sample for at least 20 minutes at a flow rate of about 2.5 L/min for a total volume of at least 48 L. Otherwise, filters may be overloaded with particulate.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the occupational samples.
  • Analyze filters and notify workers of the results within 24 hours.

Ambient Air Sampling

Ambient air samples should be collected daily when there are unprotected individuals in the immediate vicinity of the work area. The third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures outlined in WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos:

  • Set the flow rate at 2.5 L/min or less. Otherwise, filters may become overloaded with particulate. Sample for at least 4 hours.
  • Place the sampling cassettes about 1.5 m (4–5 ft) from the ground and at least 30 cm (1 ft) from any walls. The cassettes should be pointed downward at about 45 degrees.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the samples.
  • Analyze filters and notify workers of the results within 24 hours.

Air Clearance Sampling

If air clearance sampling is deemed necessary by the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant, the third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures outlined in WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos:

  • Collect samples before the enclosure is dismantled or barrier tape is removed, and while negative air units (if used) are still operating.
  • Collect at least one sample for every 270 m3 (9,600 ft3) of work area. If the work area is 270 m3 or less, collect at least two samples.
  • To use flow rates greater than 8–10 L/min, use cassettes that have been approved by the manufacturer for use at higher flow rates.
  • Calibrate the pumps using a high-flow primary calibrator, or a secondary calibrator that has been calibrated using a primary calibrator within the past year.
  • Collect at least 2,000 L of air.
  • Place the filter cassettes about 1.5 m (4–5 ft) from the ground and at least 30 cm (1 ft) from any walls. The cassettes should be pointed downward at about 45 degrees.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the samples.
  • If filters are damaged (for example, due to a high pump flow rate), repeat the sampling.
  • Ensure that the concentration of asbestos fibres in the work area after all the asbestos waste has been removed and the area has been decontaminated does not exceed 0.02 fibres per ml.

Air Sampling Requirements: High-Risk Work

For high-risk asbestos work, air samples must be taken to determine asbestos fibre concentration, both during the work and before the containment is removed. The requirements for occupational, ambient, and air clearance sampling are outlined below, as described in WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos.

Occupational Air Sampling

The third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures as outlined by WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos for occupational air sampling:

  • Collect occupational samples from the worker with the highest exposure risk (the worker closest to the ACM).
  • Attach the sampling cassette to the worker’s clothing so that the cassette is hanging down in the worker’s breathing zone.
  • Keep the worker under observation at all times during the sampling. This means that the technician must either enter and remain in the work area during the course of the sampling, or observe the worker from outside the containment. For more information, refer to OHS Guideline G6.12(2), Asbestos monitoring.
  • Sample for at least 20 minutes at a flow rate of about 2.5 L/min for a total volume of at least 48 L.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the occupational samples.
  • Analyze filters and notify workers of the results within 24 hours.

Ambient Air Sampling

Ambient air samples must be collected daily when there are unprotected individuals in the immediate vicinity of the work area. The third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures as outlined by WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos:

  • Set the flow rate at 2.5 L/min or less. Otherwise, filters may become overloaded with particulate. Sample for at least 4 hours.
  • Place the sampling cassettes about 1.5 m (4–5 ft) from the ground and at least 30 cm (1 ft) from any walls. The cassettes should be pointed downward at about 45 degrees.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the samples.
  • Analyze filters and notify workers of the results within 24 hours.

Clean Room Air Sampling

During removal and cleanup operations, air samples must be collected for every shift. Sampling must cover at least half of the total duration of the work shift and at least one decontamination sequence at the end of the work shift. The third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures as outlined by WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos:

  • Set the flow rate at 2.5 L/min or less. Otherwise, filters may become overloaded with particulate.
  • Place the sampling cassettes about 1.5 m (4–5 ft) from the ground and at least 30 cm (1 ft) from the clean room walls. The cassettes should be pointed downward at about 45 degrees.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the samples.
  • Analyze filters and notify workers of the results within 24 hours.

Air Clearance Sampling

Samples must be collected before the containment is dismantled and while the negative air units are still operating. Aggressive clearance sampling is recommended in situations where the asbestos has been very difficult to remove or “lock down” (such as where asbestos debris has been washed into cracks and crevices) or following an improper or incomplete abatement job.

The third-party environmental consultant must follow procedures as outlined by WorkSafeBC’s Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos:

  • Collect at least one sample for every 270 m3 (9,600 ft3) of work area. If the work area is 270 m3 or less, collect at least two samples.
  • To use flow rates greater than 8-10 L/min, use cassettes that have been approved by the manufacturer for use at higher flow rates and calibrate the pumps using a high-flow primary calibrator.
  • Calibrate the pumps using a high-flow primary calibrator, or a secondary calibrator that has been calibrated using a primary calibrator within the past year.
  • Collect at least 2,000 L of air.
  • Place the filter cassettes about 1.5 m (4–5 ft) from the ground and at least 30 cm (1 ft) from containment walls. The cassettes should be pointed downward at about 45 degrees.
  • Submit field blanks to the laboratory along with the samples.
  • Analyze filters and notify workers of the results within 24 hours.
  • If filters are damaged (for example, due to a high pump flow rate), repeat the sampling.
  • Ensure that the concentration of asbestos fibres in the work area after all the asbestos waste has been removed and the area has been decontaminated does not exceed 0.02 fibres per ml.

Following air clearance, workers must use moderate-risk work procedures when demolishing the containment.

Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Low Risk

Required Parties Key Responsibilities Sampling Requirements Required Documentation
Airport Authority representative environmental consultant
  • Review the contractor’s Exposure Control Plans and Safe Work Procedures as necessary.
  • Conduct QAQC sampling as necessary.
  • Not applicable
Prime Contractor
  • Clearly identify all ACM in the worksite.
  • Ensure that all workers have been instructed in any work procedure restrictions needed to prevent disturbance of ACM.
  • Go over the BRHEMP Conditional Report and all other subsequent sampling reports provided for the project with all workers. All workers must sign the BRHEMP Conditional Report before work commences.
  • Retain third-party environmental consultant as necessary.
  • Submit Safe Work Procedures and Exposure Control Plans to Airport Authority representative environmental consultant for review as necessary.
  • Submit waste manifest to Airport Authority representative environmental consultant as necessary.
  • Not applicable
  • Signed BRHEMP Conditional Report at the worksite.
Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor
  • Not applicable*
  • Not applicable
  • Waste manifest (Copy 2 and 6) as necessary
Third-party environmental consultant
  • Not applicable*
  • Not applicable
  • Not applicable

*Involvement of a third-party environmental consultant and an Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor is at the discretion of the Prime Contractor.

Moderate Risk

Required Parties Key Responsibilities Sampling Requirements Required Documentation
Airport Authority representative environmental consultant
  • Create a Scope of Work for Abatement document.
  • Review the Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor’s Exposure Control Plans and Safe Work Procedures as necessary.
  • Perform QAQC on the abatement work.
  • Notify stakeholders and provide corrective actions.
  • Conduct QAQC sampling as necessary.
  • Scope of Work for Abatement document*
  • Weekly Summary Reports for contract owner.
Prime Contractor
  • Hire one of the five pre-qualified abatement contractors.
  • Sign off on abatement contractor’s Final Closure Document to confirm completion of Scope of Work.
  • Go over the BRHEMP Conditional Report and all other subsequent sampling reports provided for the project with all workers. All workers must sign the BRHEMP Conditional Report before work commences.
  • Retain third-party environmental consultant as necessary.
  • Not applicable
  • Not applicable
Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor
  • Provide the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant with the Abatement Work Plan before work starts.
  • Provide Exposure Control Plans and Safe Work Procedures to the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant.
  • Perform all work according to Airport Authority representative environmental consultant and regulatory requirements.
  • Create Final Closure Document indicating materials have been removed. Upon completion of abatement, sign document, provide prime contractor with document to sign, and provide Airport Authority representative environmental consultant with document.
  • Provide the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant with all documentation as requested.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste at an approved facility and provide Airport Authority Health & Safety (and Airport Authority representative environmental consultant upon request), with Copy 2 & 6 of the Waste Manifest.
  • Not applicable
  • Waste manifest (Copy 2 and 6)
  • Signed Final Closure Document (signed by prime contractor and abatement contractor)
Third-party environmental consultant
  • Involvement of a third-party environmental consultant and their responsibilities is at the discretion of the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant and will be outlined before work commences.
  • Submit sampling results and inspection reports when required.
  • Not applicable
  • Not applicable

*Depending on the size and complexity of the project, this could be a full Specification for Hazardous Materials Abatement document or a smaller document outlining scope and expectations.

High Risk

Required Parties Key Responsibilities Sampling Requirements Required Documentation
Airport Authority representative environmental consultant
  • Create a Scope of Work for Abatement document.
  • Review the Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor’s Exposure Control Plans and Safe Work Procedures as necessary.
  • Confirm approval of containment setup.
  • Perform QAQC on the abatement work.
  • Notify stakeholders and provide corrective actions if conditions of abatement are unacceptable.
  • Inspect and provide approval of abatement prior to glue-out.
  • Conduct QAQC sampling as necessary.
  • Create Weekly Summary Reports for contract owner.
  • Inspection reports as necessary.
Prime Contractor
  • Hire one of the five pre-qualified abatement contractors.
  • Sign off on abatement contractor’s Final Closure Document to confirm completion of Scope of Work.
  • Go over the BRHEMP Conditional Report and all other subsequent sampling reports provided for the project with all workers. All workers must sign the BRHEMP Conditional Report before work commences.
  • Retain a third-party environmental consultant.
  • Not applicable
  • Not applicable
Airport Authority pre-qualified abatement contractor
  • Provide the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant with the Abatement Work Plan before work starts.
  • Must provide and maintain a containment and a decontamination facility, unless the containment is a glove bag.
  • Perform all work according to Airport Authority representative environmental consultant and regulatory requirements.
  • Obtain approval from the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant before moving to a new stage.
  • Treat all exposed surfaces inside the containment with a sealant to bind any remaining asbestos fibres and prevent them from becoming airborne.
  • Where applicable, ensure that the encapsulant penetrates the material and effectively binds the asbestos fibres together, and has not disturbed the bonding of the material to the supporting surface.
  • Before glue-out, coordinate with Airport Authority representative environmental consultant to obtain final visual clearance.
  • Create Final Closure Document indicating materials have been removed. Upon completion of abatement, sign the document, provide prime contractor with document to sign, and provide Airport Authority representative environmental consultant with document.
  • Provide the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant with all documentation as requested.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste at an approved facility and provide Airport Authority Health & Safety (and Airport Authority representative environmental consultant upon request), with Copy 2 & 6 of the Waste Manifest.
  • Not applicable
  • Final closure document
  • Waste manifest (Copy 2 and 6)
Third-party environmental consultant
  • Inspect the containment and decontamination facility daily to ensure effectiveness is maintained.
  • Ensure that the design of the decontamination facility includes: a physical connection to the containment, a shower facility, and provision for the safe entry and exit of workers.
  • Conduct all compliance monitoring.
  • Create and send all required monitoring and inspection reports to the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant.
  • Visually inspect and approve the area inside the containment to ensure that an effective cleanup has been completed.
  • Conduct compliance monitoring.
  • Monitoring reports
  • Daily inspection reports
  • Final inspection report indicating materials have been removed
  • All reports must be sent to the Airport Authority representative environmental consultant within 24 hours.

For questions related to this content, please contact YVR Contractor Safety by email at contractor_safety@YVR.ca or by phone at 604-276-7797.

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