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HMIS 2.0 Website - (New) Online Asbestos Management System for Pembina Trails


Asbestos is the generic term used to describe a family of naturally occurring mineral fibers found in rock formations. Because of its strength, durability and fire resistance, asbestos was used in the past in construction and other industries, and was added to a variety of products, including insulation and ceiling tiles. 

Because asbestos was often mixed with other substances, it is very difficult to visually identify. The only way to know for certain if asbestos is present is to submit it for testing to a properly accredited asbestos laboratory. 

Chrysotile (white asbestos) is the most commonly used asbestos and may be found as an insulating material on many of the division's boilers, tanks and piping. Amosite (brown asbestos) has been used in sprayed coatings, heat insulation products and in asbestos cement products where greater structural strength is required. Crocidolite (blue asbestos) was commonly used prior to 1973 in sprayed coatings on structural steel work for fire protection and for heat or noise insulation. Other types of asbestos seldom used in school buildings are: Actinolite, Anthophylite, Tremolite.  


Today, few products contain asbestos, and those that do are regulated and must be properly labelled. However, prior to 1985 many types of building materials and products used in the construction contained asbestos and may be at risk of releasing fibers in to the air. These include:

  • Asbestos cement roofing, roofing felt, shingles and siding.
  • Vermiculite attic insulation.
  • Vinyl asbestos, asphalt and rubber floor tiles, including the backing and adhesives used to install floor tile.
  • Acoustical ceiling tiles that contain asbestos.
  • Steam pipes, furnace ducts, hot water tanks and boilers insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape.
  • Cement sheet, millboard and paper used to insulate furnaces and wood burning stoves.
  • Soundproofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings.
  • Patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings.
  • Textured paints. 
  • Door gaskets in furnaces, wood and coal stoves. 
  • Artificial ashes and embers used in gas fireplaces. 
  • Older ironing board covers, stovetop pads and fireproof gloves. 
  • Older models of some hairdryers.
  • Vehicle brake pads, linings, clutch facings and gaskets.

Pembina Trails is mainly concerned with friable asbestos-containing materials. Potentially friable materials were primarily used for mechanical insulation, fireproofing and decorative finishing. Generally, these materials are found in mechanical rooms, crawlspaces, on boilers, hot water tanks and piping. To a lesser extent, potentially friable materials may be found on steel structures and finished ceilings or walls. 


As part of a continuing effort to provide a safe environment for students, staff and the community, the school division has implemented a program for management of asbestos materials within its buildings in accordance with Part 37 of the Workplace Safety & Health Regulations. 

The Pembina Trails Asbestos Management Program was developed to ensure staff are aware of the hazards associated with asbestos; inform staff of the location and type of asbestos found within their facility; ensure appropriate response procedures are in place to deal with any asbestos related problems; and implement regular inspection and maintenance of all asbestos containing materials within division facilities. 

The cooperation and assistance of all division personnel is essential to the success of this Asbestos Management Program. If you have any questions, either of a routine or emergency nature, please contact the divisional Safety and Health Officer. 

The Asbestos Management Program is broken down into five main parts: 

  1. Written Asbestos Management Program - Asbestos Evaluation/Identification and Inventory
  2. Training & Safe Work Procedures
  3. Surveillance/Annual Re-Evaluation/Repair & Removal of Damaged Asbestos
  4. Long-Term Plan - Pro-Active Removal 


The following circumstances may lead to damaged asbestos which is considered a hazardous condition requiring classification and handling decision by qualified division staff:

  • Water leak from piping with asbestos insulation.
  • Emergency repair of boiler or vessel insulated with asbestos-containing material.
  • Discovery of dislodged asbestos pipe wrap.
  • Discovery of dislodged spray-applied asbestos insulation or fireproofing. 

It is possible that divisional staff may encounter a spill of asbestos or suspect asbestos materials (debris) from time-to-time. In such cases, it is important that the exposure to the worker(s) and to all other building occupants be minimized by isolating the material (debris) in question until it can be determined if it contains asbestos and the appropriate clean-up is completed. 

In the event of such an incident the following steps must be taken:

  1. Do not clean up, cover, move or contact asbestos-containing or suspect material.  Cease all work in the area. Do not remove tools or other items from the area and do not resume work that risks disturbing the suspect material. Workers are to leave the area immediately and contact the Safety Officer and supervisor. 
  2. Workers shall notify the building caretaker of the incident. 
  3. The caretaker shall isolate the area by locking doors if this can be done without blocking emergency exits or fire routes and shut down the ventilation to the area. 
  4. Post signage in the area: Asbestos spill - DO NOT ENTER.
  5. Small spills will be cleaned up by the Safety Officer. Depending on the type of material spilled, air monitoring may be required to ensure airborne fiber levels are within acceptable limits to re-occupy the space. All asbestos waste must be disposed of according to the Asbestos Waste Disposal instructions.
  6. Larger spills will need to be removed by an asbestos abatement contractor. 
  7. Only after clearance (sampling, documentation and air clearance by the contractor) from the Safety Officer shall the ventilation system be turned back on. 
  8. Outside of regular working hours, notify your immediate supervisor and the divisional Safety Officer. 

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