The government regulates handling of hazardous materials like asbestos, and rightly so. It’s a public health concern and cutting corners can lead to illness, injury and even death.
It’s a fairly clear cut issue when your business – like ours – directly involves asbestos removal, asbestos remediation or other obvious environmental hazard. But, did you know that the owner of any type of business can find themselves on the hook for environmental cleanup, including asbestos removal – whether you actually caused the problem or not? Past and present owners along with those actually responsible for the property management at any given time may be held liable under the law.
Your general liability coverage may or may not include pollution or environmental liability – check to be sure. Insurance coverage can range from an outright exclusion of any pollution liability to partial coverage for accidents and sudden events to full environmental impairment liability coverage.
Industry experts warn businesses that they can never assume there is no exposure to environmental liability. Here is more advice from the experts at RIMS Canada Council, a committee of Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc.
- If your business or organization owns or manages property, you may be liable for environmental contamination that was caused by previous users.
- Previous industrial or other use, a railroad running through the property and asbestos containing building materials can all cause historical environmental damage.
- Insurance companies sell specific coverage for “environmental impairment liability” – and you can get historical coverage to deal with this situation.
- Environmental damage may include the land as well as the building.
- Contamination from an adjacent property can even come into play and has in some legal cases.
If your building was built before the mid-1980’s, it almost certainly contains asbestos in one form or another. Widely hailed as a “miracle” construction material, it can show up mixed with other materials and appear anywhere in a building, including:
- Roofing materials, including tiles and caulking;
- Window caulking, indoor and out;
- Ceiling tiles, especially acoustic tiles;
- Mixed with vinyl in floor tiles;
- Wall panels mixed with gypsum;
- As the texture in textured paints or a popcorn ceiling;
- Wall and attic insulation in vermiculite;
- Pipe insulation, boiler insulation;
- Ground fill materials may also be contaminated;
- And many more.
When materials are intact, asbestos is not considered a risk. However, it can be damaged and then released into the air as a health hazard by things like floods, fires and other physical damage to the building as well as planned maintenance and renovations.
Safe – Not Sorry
The safest route is complete asbestos removal or asbestos remediation. It’s too serious to take chances. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or on your property, call the experts at GreenStream.
In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a 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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