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14. Medical Surveillance

  • Issued: November 2007
  • Content last reviewed: May 2011

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Asbestos-related diseases develop slowly over time and symptoms are not usually noticed by affected workers until the disease is at an advanced stage. To permit earlier detection of such diseases, the Regulation prescribes medical examinations for workers who work in Type 2 or Type 3 operations. Under this program, employers are required to report the number of hours each employee works on Type 2 or Type 3 operation to the Provincial Physician of the Ministry of Labour. The Provincial Physician keeps track of each worker's accumulated exposure and may recommend that workers undergo the prescribed medical examinations. Workers who are listed in the register may voluntarily undergo the prescribed medical examinations recommended by the Provincial Physician.

What is the purpose of the Asbestos Work Report?

The Asbestos Work Report, Form 1 (Appendix 3), is designed to assist employers in the reporting of each worker's asbestos exposure. Copies of the form are available from Ministry of Labour offices. The form requires the following information:

  • the worker's name, address, date of birth and social insurance number;
  • the employer's name and address;
  • the name and address of the worker's physician; and
  • the number of hours of exposure in each Type 2 or Type 3 operations.

A completed Asbestos Work Report form is to be submitted to the Provincial Physician once in each 12 month period for each worker and when the employment of a worker is terminated. A copy of the form must also be given to the worker.

What is the purpose of the Asbestos Workers Register?

The Provincial Physician uses the data included in the Asbestos Work Report forms that are submitted by employers to establish an Asbestos Workers Register. The register allows the Provincial Physician to identify workers who, because of their potential accumulated exposure to asbestos, should receive a medical examination. When a worker has accumulated 2,000 hours of exposure, the equivalent of one full year's employment, the worker is notified.

Subsection 21(1) requires the employer "of a worker working in a Type 2 or a Type 3 operation" to complete an asbestos work report. Does this section apply only to workers actively involved in the operation, or would supervisors, architects, consultants and other parties not directly involved in the work be considered "workers"?

This analysis would be made on a case-by-case basis and would be contingent on the facts of the specific case.

"Worker" is defined in the Act as "a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation but does not include an inmate of a correctional institution."

Supervisors, architects and consultants, may be considered workers depending upon the facts of a specific case.

Should the asbestos work report be used to capture accidental asbestos exposures that may occur during an accidental discovery?

No. The Ministry's position is that an asbestos work report is used to capture hours of exposure for workers involved in a Type 2 or Type 3 operation. Unexpected or accidental exposures should be documented on the Worker's Exposure Incident Form (form 3958A) which is available on the WSIB website.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.