Asbestos Management

Simon Fraser University was built in the 1960's when asbestos was a commonly used building material. In the 1970’s, extensive research revealed that inhaled friable asbestos fibres caused asbestosis or mesothelioma in workers. The fibres imbed into the lining of the lung, causing scar tissue to form and eventually causing lung cancer.

It was because of this finding that Canadian regulatory agencies banned the use of asbestos and required employers to implement asbestos regulations. 

Since the ban SFU has worked to remove this material from the campus and ensure any remaining materials are managed correctly.  As part of its due diligence, the university conducted an extensive Asbestos Inventory Survey and had all asbestos containing material (ACM) identified, assessed and classified. A room-by-room hazard analysis was performed to determine the presence and risk, if any, of asbestos on campus. Although no immediate hazard existed, asbestos containing areas with a high potential for future disturbance have been removed.

Asbestos Exposure Control Plan

As part of the asbestos management at SFU an Exposure Control Plan (ECP) has been developed to ensure:

  • Proper protocols are followed
  • Workers are not exposed
  • Any affected parties working within the space are not exposed
  • All ACM is disposed of as required by WorkSafe BC, in Part 6.28 of the OH&S Regulation

Protocols for Asbestos Containing Materials

We undertake annual surveys to check on the asbestos condition.  Damaged ACM is prioritized for immediate removal. Renovations in areas where ACM is present must have all asbestos abated prior to initiating renovations. All work involving asbestos is done in accordance with regulatory requirements by trained SFU workers or certified asbestos abatement contractors.

Emergency Situations

If anyone discovers asbestos containing material (ACM) that has been disturbed, they must:

  • Immediately leave the area and notify their supervisor
  • Immediately notify the EHRS department and Facilities Services of the disturbance
  • Restrict access to the area until the appropriate personnel respond

Through consultation, the EHRS office and Facilities Services will determine the immediate action to be taken.

Renovations/Removal of Projects

To prevent accidental disturbance of ACM, EHRS must be contacted before carrying out work to ensure that an area does not contain asbestos.

If work is required to be conducted in an area where there may be a potential disturbance of asbestos the project coordinator must: 

  • Ensure work has been authorized by EHRS
  • Notify affected building occupants
  • Follow proper protocols as required by WSBC

Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors must ensure that all personnel under their direction have taken appropriate training in asbestos identification and have been made aware of the possible presence of asbestos.

Asbestos Containing Materials on Campus

Asbestos containing materials (ACM) on campus are primarily found in:

  • Cement-textured coatings on ceilings and as overspray above ceilings.
  • Fumehood linings and ductwork.
  • Floor tiles.
  • Cores of fire doors.
  • Building and underground piping systems.
  • Insulation on pipes, pipe elbows and boilers.
  • Asbestos board backing radiators.

WARNING: Drywall and asbestos floor tiles are not labelled.

2016 Internal Audit Report

In May 2017, an internal audit report was released regarding an asbestos incident in Strand Hall in 2016. The report below documents the incident, review process and recommendations resulting from the audit. 

Asbestos Links

ACM Identification at SFU:

Asbestos texture coatings and asbestos insulation areas are identified with either a red or black stylized "A" with a circular border, spaced at 15-foot intervals. Potentially, ACM areas missed by the survey may not show the symbol. When working in the vicinity of asbestos, workers must follow safe work procedures to ensure that ACM is not disturbed.

Asbestos on campus in its present condition poses no health threat to anyone as long as it is not disturbed (ie. drilled into, cut or sanded)

Asbestos contact numbers:



Facilities Service Desk: (778) 782-3582
Environmental Health & Research Safety   
(778) 782-4978 or (778) 782-3867