Designated Substance Surveys

Under Ontario Regulation 490/09, the employer is required to conduct an assessment for each designated substance in the workplace. These 11 substances of concern include asbestos, arsenic, mercury, silica, lead, vinyl chloride, ethylene oxide, benzene, acrylonitrile, isocyanates and coke oven emissions.

Ontario Regulation 490/09 - Designated Substances, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), was enacted to protect workers from the 11 regulated designated substances which can be encountered on a work site.  Did you know that in Southwestern Ontario, the Ministry of Labour has issued STOP work orders to several projects because a Designated Substance Survey (DSS) was not provided to the constructor?

Without the DSS completed, the correct precautions to protect workers performing the demolition/renovation were not in place, which resulted in the following delays:

  • Strip mall renovation, project delayed two months
  • New auto dealership, project delayed two weeks
  • Commercial building renovation, project delayed three months
  • Car wash renovation, project delayed one month

Protect Your Workers, Protect Your Schedule and Protect Your Investment!

The main purpose of the Occupational Health & Safety Act is to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job. Under Section 30 of the Act, it is the responsibility of the project “owner” to perform an assessment to determine whether any designated substances are present at the project site and to prepare a list of substances that are present, before beginning a project.

Common Substances of Concern

The following are the typical designated substances found on most work sites:

Asbestos – building and pipe insulation, fabricated materials such as gaskets and floor tiles, wall panels (transite) and joint compounds

Lead – found in piping and paints

Silica – building materials such as bricks, blocks and mortar

Mercury – lighting ballast, switches and thermostats

What Is the Impact if a Designated Substance Survey Isn't Completed?

To ensure the following detrimental repercussions don't affect your project, you must have a DSS completed prior to beginning any work:

  • Project delays = increased costs

  • Worker injury or illness = increased compensation costs and claims

  • On-the-spot offence notices, e.g. fines and/or tickets - increased costs

  • Lost productivity due to absenteeism

How Can LEHDER Assist?

LEHDER is able to assist clients with issues in regards to OHSA Section 30 requirements, including:

  • Conduct a DSS to determine if any regulated substances, such as asbestos, lead, silica or mercury are present at the construction site.
  • Conduct a Hazardous Building Materials Assessment.
  • Assess if any PCBs, mould, man-made vitreous fiber (MMVF) or other hazards of interest are present.

    Helpful Web Links

    A Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act

    Ontario Regulation 278/05 - Designated Substance - Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations

    Ontario Regulation 490/09 - Designated Substances


    For further information on Designated Substance Surveys, please contact:

    Marnie Freer

    Penny McInnis