Health and Safety

Employee safety and health is of paramount importance at Continental Insulation. We have a comprehensive Health & Safety Program to ensure every worker is afforded the utmost in personal protection.

To view the contents of our Health and Safety document, click here.

For the complete package, please contact us.

We also employ the following on-going and regular safety updates and programs:

  • Daily/Weekly in-house safety talks
  • Job Hazard Reviews
  • Site-specific orientation for all industrial and commercial work sites

Continental Insulation employs a full-time Certified Health & Safety Representative

Asbestos Workers

Asbestos removal continues to experience increasing government regulation and standards. As of November 1, 2007, all workers involved in Type III removal operations must have certification from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Certification is granted after each individual worker passes a standardized Ministry competency test.

Continental Insulation provides a 3-day course on all aspects of asbestos from health effects, hazards and proper and safe removal procedures. Once a worker completes the course, they attend a scheduled MTCU test session. Only workers who have passed the test and received certification will work in Type III removals.

Union Affiliations:

Continental Insulation's insulation and asbestos workforce is International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 95

Associations

Continental Insulation is a member of:

  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Ontario Safety Groups 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006
  • Master Insulators Association (MIA)
  • Sudbury Construction Association

Training & Accreditation

Continental Insulation services numerous industrial, commercial and institutional clients. Each has a unique requirement for safety orientation and training. Most of our employees and/or supervisors will have the following certifications/orientations:

  • NORCAT general orientation
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Material Information System)
  • ZES � Zero Energy State Training � Lock & Tag
  • Mobile Equipment and Manlift Training
  • Confined Space Training
  • Basics of Fall Protection
  • Emergency First Aid
  • Continental Insulation Health and Safety Program, Policy & Procedures

Certifications

Continental Insulation holds the following trade certifications:

  • CUFCA/BASF certified installer of polyurethane spray foam insulation
  • MOE certificate to transport asbestos

Understanding Asbestos

Just the mention of asbestos causes fear and uncertainty in just about everyone these days. As government standards and regulations continue to become increasingly stringent, public concern rises similarly. The truth is, asbestos has been around for a long time and, chances are, it will be present in almost every commercial and industrial building built before 1975. It will also be found in a lot of houses, especially older homes.

It's important to understand that asbestos is a fibre. It's not a chemical. It is only dangerous if inhaled and can only be inhaled if it is disturbed and made airborne. Asbestos will affect everyone differently. Though the actual physical effects are very different, there are many parallels to smoking. Both are proven to be dangerous and potentially fatal to humans but there is no straight line correlation between exposure and health deterioration. In other words, there is no threshold for exposure, making it difficult to quantify the risk. As such, the Occupational Health and Safety Act has taken a stance that every precaution to eliminate ANY exposure needs to be implemented.

Asbestos Facts

A significant portion of Continental Insulation's activity involves asbestos consulting and remediation/removal. Asbestos was used in a wide variety of construction materials and applications until it was banned in Canada in the early/mid 1970's. Virtually every building constructed prior to the ban contains asbestos in some form. Some typical areas where asbestos is found in buildings:

  • Boiler Units and Piping
  • Floor Tiles
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Drywall Joint Compound
  • Exterior Shingles
  • Fibre Board
  • Exterior Siding
  • Attic Vermiculite Insulation (residential)

We are often asked why asbestos is so pervasive when it is so dangerous to humans. Part of the answer comes from the word �asbestos� itself which means �unquenchable� (Greek). Asbestos is a variety of hydrated silicate � basically a form of mineral occurring naturally in metamorphic rock formations. It is mined, milled and reduced to a fibrous form which can be used in many materials. Asbestos has a number of key properties that made it attractive:

  • It doesn't burn
  • It doesn't corrode
  • It has good thermal, acoustical and electrical insulating properties
  • It is a very flexible fibre and easy to use in a variety of products
  • It is very strong

It was deemed the 'miracle fibre' as it is truly indestructible.

Health Hazards

The indestructible nature of asbestos is exactly what creates a risk for humans. When any invasive particles are inhaled and reach the lungs, the body's defenses attempt to trap and digest those particles. Asbestos cannot be digested and cannot be broken down. As such, the asbestos fibres simply remain in the lung indefinitely. The body recognizes this and will continue to attack the fibres, forming scar tissue over time. Asbestosis is a condition where the ability of the lung to operate is compromised by this scar tissue. A number of forms of cancer have also been linked to asbestos exposure. Symptoms of asbestos related illness manifest themselves over a very long period of time. The time between exposure to asbestos and incidence of related disease can be as long as 30 years. Every individual will be affected differently.

While the dangers of asbestos exposure should not be understated, it is important to understand that asbestos becomes a health risk to humans through inhalation or ingestion. Asbestos is not toxic nor does it leach gas or any other effluent. If asbestos is contained/encapsulated in such a way that risk of release of fibres into the air is eliminated, the hazard is also eliminated.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is asbestos? Why is it dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate found in certain rock formations. It is mined, milled and ground into a powder like product. In that form, it is actually a microscopic fibre. It is flexible and virtually indestructible. It becomes dangerous to humans when inhaled as the body cannot break the fibres down. They embed in the lung tissue and can lead to a number of health problems.

If asbestos is so dangerous to humans, why is it so common in houses and other buildings?

Asbestos doesn't burn, doesn't react with acids, doesn't corrode and is an excellent insulator. As such, it was a tremendous additive to virtually any building material. In the mid 70', it was also discovered to cause human health problems and was banned in Canada.

Are they still using asbestos in building/construction products?

There is an operating asbestos mine in Quebec that exports their product to countries where asbestos is not banned. Their contention is that, properly handled, asbestos is not a health risk. In Canada and the US, asbestos has not been used since the mid 1970's. However, there remains an incredible volume of the material currently installed in thousands of buildings in dozens of different forms.

Where is asbestos typically found?

Some typical applications where asbestos may be found:

Residential:

  • Boiler piping and boiler cement
  • Duct anti-sweat wrap
  • Vermiculite attic insulation

Commercial

  • Boiler piping and Boiler cement
  • Floor Tile
  • Ceiling Tile
  • Drywall Cement
  • Parging Cement
  • Sprayed Fireproofing
How do I know if I have asbestos in my house?

The first step is to have a qualified contractor or consultant visually inspect the areas of concern. In many cases, a visual inspection can provide sufficient basis for action. If there is doubt, the consultant can sample the suspected material and have it evaluated by a lab for asbestos content.

What is the procedure for removing asbestos? How much does it cost?

Asbestos removal is governed by the Ontario Ministry of Labour Regulation 278/05. This legislation specifies in great detail what procedures are required for a wide variety of asbestos removals. Essentially, the spirit of the legislation is to eliminate risk of fibre escape during and post-removal. As such, the standard of care for contractors is very high. Cost will vary on the nature, volume and location of the asbestos containing material.

If I'm careful, could I remove the asbestos myself?

Homeowners are not subjected to Regulation 278/05 and are legally free to do what they like within their own living space. Contractor workers receive significant training prior to working on removal projects. They are protected by adequate masks, suits and other equipment. Contractors are also trained and licensed to transport and dispose of asbestos.

Do-It-Yourself Asbestos removal is not recommended.

Products

For more information, here are some links to products we use: