Cases where workers have been exposed to asbestos or who were not properly outfitted or trained to handle asbestos removal jobs routinely make the headlines. Employers – and in some cases the employees too – are charged and prosecuted.
But – what happens if the work is being done on your home? What responsibilities do you have as a homeowner or property owner if asbestos is discovered in the course of renovations or other work?
If your home was built before the mid-1980’s, then it almost certainly contains asbestos or asbestos containing materials (i.e. asbestos mixed with other materials such as concrete or vinyl). Those materials are not considered to be dangerous as long as they are intact.
However, a number of things can contribute to their deterioration, creating dust or friable (inhalable) asbestos fibres which can cause deadly lung disease.
- Installation of home alarm or home theatre systems
- Flooding, freezing, a fire or other physical damage
- Natural deterioration over long periods of time
Ontario health and safety laws govern what happens in workplace conditions. They stipulate:
- Workers must be trained
- Workers must wear protective clothing and other gear
The law also says,
It does not apply to the owner of a private home that is occupied by the owner or the owner’s family, or to the owner of a residential building that contains no more than four units, one of which is occupied by the registered owner or family of the registered owner.
The regulation does apply to contractors, employers and workers engaged in private construction, repair or maintenance of such buildings. This regulation applies whether or not it is known or suspected that asbestos containing material will be encountered.
- For further information see the Guide to the Regulation Respecting Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations, at: www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/asbestos
Insurance & Liability
But – won’t your homeowners insurance cover that sort of liability? Not likely. Most insurance policies have an asbestos exclusion.
A 2010 legal case involved a landlord who had renovations done which disturbed asbestos dust. Two of the tenants launched lawsuits, one of which was for the health affects of asbestos exposure. The landlord attempted to involve their own insurance company to defend them against the charges but the company refused, citing an asbestos exclusion. The matter went to court and the landlord lost.
What does this mean?
- If there is a fire or flood and asbestos is found in the debris, it goes from a clean-up to an environmental remediation operation. Costs go up and your insurance is not likely cover them.
- If a contractor releases asbestos fibres while doing renovations or installations without knowing it was there beforehand, they can sue you for the potential health effects and your insurance will likely not cover the liability.
Get Professional Help
Don`t take the chance. If you suspect or know of the presence of asbestos in your home, our experienced technicians offer professional, certified asbestos removal or asbestos remediation services.
In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for an asbestos removal or asbestos remediation quote today.
Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.
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