An exposure control plan explains the work procedures and other controls that will be will be used to reduce workers’ risk of asbestos exposure. The plan must detail steps to eliminate risk or to control and reduce risk by either:
- Substituting with safer materials, where feasible or
- Using engineering controls, administrative controls, or Person Protective Equipment
Employers must also ensure that qualified persons perform a formal risk assessment to determine which workers may be exposed to workplace contaminants (i.e. asbestos, silica, lead, mercury etc.) and the extent of any exposure.The risk assessment applies not only to the asbestos itself but also to the methods used to remove or handle it. The exposure control plan must be implemented when:
- exposure monitoring under section indicates that a worker is or may be exposed to an air contaminant in excess of 50% of its exposure limit
- measurement is not possible at 50% of the applicable exposure limit, or
- otherwise required by this WorkSafe BC Regulation.
Many workplace situations require a risk assessment to be competed by a “Qualified Person” as defined in WorkSafe BC legislation.
A risk assessment is a comprehensive document, developed to select appropriate workplace controls, that evaluates the probability and degree of possible illness, injury, or death in a hazardous situation.
Risk assessment is really the likelihood of being exposed to asbestos, lead, silica, mercury, mould or other workplace contaminants in the workplace during demolition, renovation, and or construction activities.
For example in the case of asbestos there is a much greater risk of exposure to asbestos fibers when handling friable asbestos materials than when handling hard, well bonded asbestos materials such as vinyl-asbestos floor tile or asbestos cement products.
Exposure Control Plan Elements
The exposure control plan must incorporate the following elements:
- A statement of purpose and responsibilities;
- Risk identification, assessment and control;
- Education and training;
- Written work procedures, when required;
- Hygiene facilities and decontamination procedures, when required;
- Health monitoring, when required;
- Documentation, when required.
Strict adherence to the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle as well as exposure limits and appropriate respiratory and skin protection are essential elements of an exposure control plan. The exposure control plan must be reviewed at least annually and updated as necessary by the employer, in consultation with the joint committee or the worker health and safety representative, as applicable.
Safe Work Procedures
Written safe work procedures describe how to carry out specific tasks safely and efficiently. In general, safe work procedures are written for:
- Hazardous tasks
- Complicated tasks, so that important steps don’t get missed
- Frequently performed tasks
- Less routine tasks, to remind workers of the hazards and how to control the risks
Written safe work procedures must specify any required PPE, when it must be used, and where it can be found.
Post the procedures where they will be available to workers.
These procedures must be submitted to WorkSafeBC along with an NOP prior to the start of an asbestos, silica, lead, and abatement project.