UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA A SAFE PLACE TO WORK AND STUDY?
Yes. The University of Manitoba recognizes its responsibility to provide
a safe and healthy workplace and is taking all measures necessary to ensure
that staff and students are not exposed to asbestos fibres.
testing by Workplace Safety and Health (March 16, 2002) and by Pinchin
Environmental Ltd. (March 13, 2002) in the Fletcher Argue, Tier, Isbister
and Elizabeth Dafoe Library Buildings indicated that there is no health
risk from asbestos to day-to-day activities in those buildings. Air testing
will continue throughout all University of Manitoba buildings on both
the Bannatyne and Fort Garry campuses to ensure the safest possible environment.
rooms, one in Fletcher Argue and the other in Tier, where tests showed
some asbestos in dust that had been removed with a "scraping"
method are currently being scheduled for cleaning. Other mechanical rooms
will be tested as soon as possible. Mechanical rooms contain machinery
and have access restricted to authorized University
trades personnel only.
PEOPLE EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS?
People are exposed to asbestos by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Asbestos
Containing Materials (ACM) which can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced
to powder by hand pressure are known as friable asbestos. When friable
Asbestos Containing Materials are damaged or disturbed they can release
fibres into the air and people who may come in contact with them are at
risk of inhaling fibres. As long as Asbestos Containing Materials remain
undisturbed and asbestos fibres are not released into the
air, there is no hazard to people coming in contact with the materials.
THIS ISSUE COME TO PEOPLE'S ATTENTION AT THIS TIME?
Concerns have been raised recently about possible exposure to asbestos
on campus, one concern dealing with the Stores Building, which has been
addressed by the University, and another with a possible exposure at least
thirty years ago. The University, in cooperation with the Workplace Safety
and Health Division of Manitoba Labour, has investigated the concerns
and is taking action to address the issues. Our most immediate focus has
been to ensure that current staff and students are protected from any
UNIVERSITIES AND SIMILAR INSTITUTIONS HAVE TO DEAL WITH ASBESTOS CONTAINING
Most buildings that are more than 20 years old contain asbestos in one
form or another. This includes government and municipal buildings, schools,
financial institutions, etc. Most universities in North America are faced
with the same concerns about asbestos as our University, unless they are
very new. The University of Manitoba's asbestos control
program is similar to that of other institutions.
WE KNOW WHERE ASBESTOS CONTAINING MATERIALS ARE LOCATED AT THE UNIVERSITY?
It must be assumed that almost all buildings on campus contain Asbestos
Containing Materials in one form or another. Comprehensive building audits
have been completed for 26 of the buildings on the Fort Garry and Bannatyne
campuses and the plan is to complete the audit process by June 30, 2002.
TESTS ARE PERFORMED AT THE UNIVERSITY FOR ASBESTOS CONTAINING MATERIALS?
conducts bulk sample analysis of any material that is suspected of being
an Asbestos Containing Material. This is usually done when there is the
potential disturbance of a suspected Asbestos Containing Material, for
example, when renovation or maintenance work is planned.
2.The University normally conducts air monitoring when there is suspected
disturbance of Asbestos Containing Materials and concern for exposure
asbestos fibres in air. Such testing will continue in the future.
3.When asbestos is removed by an asbestos abatement contractor, testing
is again undertaken by an external consultant to ensure that the removal
has been completely successful.
4.For the full assurance of a safe work and study environment, the University
of Manitoba is committed to conducting air monitoring in all University
of Manitoba buildings on both campuses by June 30, 2002.
PLANS ARE IN PLACE NOW TO ENSURE THAT STAFF AND STUDENTS ARE NOT EXPOSED
TO FRIABLE ASBESTOS IN THE FUTURE?
accessible high traffic areas are being examined to ensure that all Asbestos
Containing Materials are in proper condition and not subject to damage
2.The University is conducting air monitoring of all buildings on campus
with a target completion date of June 30, 2002 to determine if there is
any indication of asbestos in air.
3.The University will complete an overall preliminary inventory of all
buildings on campus with a target date of June 30, 2002. This inventory
will identify which buildings present the higher risk of exposure to friable
asbestos for further, more comprehensive auditing.
4.The University is in the process of consolidating all the elements already
in place into a documented and comprehensive Asbestos Management Program.
The development of the Asbestos Management Program will include the participation
of the campus community.
WHO WORK IN BUILDINGS THAT CONTAIN ASBESTOS CONTAINING MATERIALS MORE
AT RISK OF DEVELOPING ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASE THAN THOSE WHO DO NOT?
The medical and epidemiological literature indicates that people who do
not work with asbestos, only work in buildings where asbestos is present
as a building material, are not at any risk for asbestos-related disease
greater than the general public.
BE TESTED FOR ASBESTOS EXPOSURE?
In consultation with Dr. Allen Kraut, an Occupational Health Specialist
with the Manitoba Federation of Labour, the University is in the process
of developing a surveillance program for its staff. A proper research
study of individuals at possible risk at certain time periods will be
developed by individuals with the appropriate epidemiologic expertise.
There is no specific test to measure asbestos in the body. Medical surveillance
programs have been developed to determine whether workers show any effects
of asbestos exposure. These programs involve taking a work history and
a chest radiograph and lung function test. The University of Manitoba
is committed to accommodating anyone who feels they should be included
in the medical surveillance program.
WHY WAS THE STORES BUILDING EVACUATED AND CLEANED UP?
This was done as a precautionary measure because there were indications
that there may have been a deterioration of the enclosure system for the
asbestos in the ceiling directly above the work area that was installed
in 1990. The dust samples taken prior to the cleanup indicated low levels
of asbestos in dust.
from monitoring of fibres in the air were below the threshold for taking
any required remedial action.
IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TAKING DUST SAMPLES AND CONDUCTING AIR MONITORING
A dust sample is only useful as an indicator of the possible presence
of asbestos in a building. By itself, it says nothing about the risk for
inhalation exposure. There are no recognized occupational standards for
asbestos in dust.
indicates if asbestos fibres are in the air and in concentrations high
enough to be of concern. Air monitoring conducted by the University and
external consultants has indicated levels well below the occupational
exposure limit established by Provincial authorities.
HOW IS ASBESTOS HANDLED WHEN RENOVATIONS AND MAINTENANCE WORK IS DONE
ON CAMPUS BUILDINGS?
When major building modifications, additions, etc. are planned, comprehensive
asbestos audits are undertaken prior to the work to determine the location
of Asbestos Containing Materials. If Asbestos Containing Materials are
found, they are normally completely removed by an asbestos abatement contractor
under controlled conditions prior to any
has developed safe work practices and procedures for maintenance and repair
work undertaken by University maintenance staff. The University has adopted
the Workplace Safety and Health Guideline "Guidelines for Working
With Asbestos" and all work procedures must conform to this standard.
SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT ASBESTOS?
Should you have concerns regarding any potential exposure to asbestos,
please discuss this with your supervisor or department head. The Environmental
Health and Safety Office (EHSO) may be contacted at 474-6633 at any time
for assistance and advice on this issue.
I KEEP INFORMED OF WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE ASBESTOS ISSUE?
The University plans to provide regular updates on the status of activities
with the asbestos program.