It is Asbestos Awareness Week in Saskatchewan
By Anthony Capkun
April 1, 2013 – The Government of Saskatchewan has proclaimed April 1-7 as Asbestos Awareness Week to raise awareness about asbestos-related diseases and the risks of asbestos exposure. According to the World Health Organization, says the government, about 107,000 workers around the world die each year of an asbestos-related disease.
“It’s important that workers know about asbestos and how to safely handle it so they can prevent exposure,” said Don Morgan, labour relations and workplace safety minister. “Older buildings may contain asbestos, so taking further action—like the creation of a mandatory registry—is important for protecting Saskatchewan workers.”
In November 2012, the province launched an asbestos information webpage, created a voluntary asbestos registry and posted a new information guide, “Guidelines for Managing Asbestos in Buildings”.
The provincial government is now proceeding with amendments to The Public Health Act, 1994 to make asbestos reporting mandatory in public building. This is in support of Bill 604, a private member’s bill brought forward as a result of the efforts of Howard Willems, who advocated for the public reporting of asbestos, then died from a rare form of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibres.
“We want to make sure that relevant information about asbestos in public buildings is easily accessible and available to residents,” said Dustin Duncan, health minister.