Asbestos Regulations in British Columbia and New York State

It is widely known throughout the international asbestos abatement industry that New York State is a leader. They are at the forefront of what many deem as strict regulations to protect the health and safety of workers and the general public. This article will highlight some of the differences between WorkSafe BC asbestos regulations and New York State Department of Labour.

New York State has a long history with asbestos over many years of development and industrial operations laying the groundwork for responsibility. A large population with densely occupied geographic areas help to stress such a world class regulatory framework. All workers or contractors who disturb ACM (asbestos containing material) must be certified and licensed according to New York State law. In British Columbia, asbestos consultants and abatement contractors are responsible for managing certification through a third party qualified person but no worker specific licensing is required, helping to keep abatement costs lower. New York State takes this a level further dividing the asbestos industry in to nine categories of worker certification and all courses must be approved by the Department of Labour, all workers must be licensed with fees ranging from $50-$150 USD annually.

One commonality between both jurisdictions is the exemption of homeowners from asbestos regulations who attempt removal themselves. Although both regulatory bodies state because of the health risks associated with exposure to asbestos it is recommended that a qualified asbestos removal company complete the abatement portion. Protect your health and safety and that of your employees, tenants, and/or loved ones by factoring in abatement costs well ahead of building: purchases, renovation, or demolition activities.

When the abatement project planning phase begins, site specific documentation is created and must be submitted to WorkSafe BC in the form of a NOP (Notice of Project) forty-eight hours before any on site disturbance takes place. New York State Department of Labour has a notification system with a detailed form outlining quantities and phase scope of work for each friable and non-friable ACM, complimented by a ten day waiting period before any commencement of work. There is no fee to submit a NOP to WorkSafe BC which is drastically different when compared to the New York State Department of Labour fees, based on quantities for removal ranging from no fee for very small projects up to $2000 USD for mid-sized projects though some exemptions exist. Variance fees can also apply to our friends Stateside of $350 USD if changes to a notification must be made, one highlight of all the notification fees is the cutting edge online New York State all asbestos project listing available at:
https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/DOSH_ASBESTOS.shtm

Another key difference for New York State is air clearance sampling which is required for all projects whereas, in British Columbia air clearance sampling for moderate risk work depends upon the nature of the facility where work takes place and the type of asbestos work performed however, high risk work mandates third party air clearance. New York State regulates air clearance providers by only allowing selection from a list of licensed companies in the notification of project form furthermore, field analysis of air samples is not permitted and all samples must be taken to accredited laboratories. In BC we provide the name of the environmental consulting firm selected by the abatement company in the NOPA submission form. Large fines can be a consequence of misrepresentation that a consulting company collecting air samples is qualified in both geographic areas.