Aug 19, 2020

Designated Substances Surveys

Article by: Victoria Rochon, P.Eng., MBA

What is a Designated Substances Survey and When is it needed?

A Designated Substances Survey is required prior to the disturbance of any building materials at a site beyond what is necessary for the emergency response. This means that a Designated Substances Survey is required for all property insurance claims that require building material removal, renovation or repair. This includes fire losses, structural losses, water losses, and other property damage.

Designated Substances are defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act – ONTARIO REGULATION 490/09 DESIGNATED SUBSTANCES (O.Reg. 490/09). Eleven (11) Designated Substances are included in this regulation: Acrylonitrile, Arsenic, Asbestos, Benzene, Coke Oven Emissions, Ethylene Oxide, Isocyanates, Lead, Mercury, Silica, and Vinyl Chloride. Since some Designated Substances listed are present only in industrial or manufacturing facilities or are typically not found in detectable levels, not all substances require testing. The Designated Substances commonly encountered during property damage claims that require specific testing are Asbestos and Lead. 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was extensively used in construction materials prior to 1985 due to its fire retardant properties. Potential sources of asbestos include, but are not limited to: plaster, drywall joint compound, textured coatings, ceiling tiles, vinyl floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring, mastics, vermiculite insulation, pipe wrap, exterior wall insulation, window caulking, etc. The removal of asbestos-containing materials must be completed in accordance with specific asbestos abatement protocols, as outlined in Ontario Regulation 278/05. 

Lead is a naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. It is used in the production of batteries, metal products, X-ray devices, paints/coatings, etc. Paints and surface coatings considered to have a level of lead content that classifies the substance as “lead-containing” or “lead-based” must be removed in accordance with specific lead abatement protocols. These protocols are in place to prevent workers from being exposed to lead dust, which can cause lead toxicity targeted at the nervous system. 

Not obtaining a Designated Substances Survey will not only result in large fines from the Ministry of Labour, but will risk the health and safety of workers. 

Contact Roar Engineering to conduct a Designated Substances Survey to identify hazardous materials and provide you with the protocols required to safely remove Designated Substances.

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