Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Development and Implementation of an Asbestos Management Program
Year Submitted 2004
Name of Institution University of Manitoba
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Grant McCaughey<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Director, Environmental Health & Safety Office
Telephone: 204 474-9290
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

A special Asbestos Management Program Review Committee was established to assist in the development of the program. It included representatives of the Environmental Health and Safety Office, Physical Plant, Information Services & Technology, and all the bargaining units on campus (including the CAW, UM Faculty Association, The Association Of Employees Supporting Education Services and CUPE). The AMP was also reviewed by the University Workplace Health and Safety Advisory Committee, which includes representation of ail bargaining units and the student association. There has been a sense of overall ownership of the program because of the extensive consultation conducted on the development of the AMP and the opportunity for input from all the stakeholders. This has helped to create a sense of partnership in addressing the issue of asbestos on campus and has created an improved climate for labour and management to work together to achieve positive results.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

The underlying concept of the AMP was to make it 'transparent' and provide information that is readily available to all who may have an interest in the issue. Students, staff and the public are able to visit the University web site and access the information. The principles contained in the model can be applied to other risks that Universities may be faced with, such as mould, indoor air quality, chemical exposures, and the like. The Asbestos Management Program may be used in who le or part by other institutions with permission of the University of Manitoba. Ail material is available electronically at http://www.1xmanitoba.ca/campus/healm3nd_safety/asbestos/amp/index.shtml.

Quality Impact

The immediate expectation was to calm the community by demonstrating the University's management of the issues. The expected outcomes were to have a process in place for managing asbestos that would prevent any exposure to staff, faculty or students to asbestos fibres through the establishment of an identification process, safe work procedures and an inspection and monitoring system. The system established would need to be effective and efficient. There had been work stoppages and costly expenses in correcting problems and the program would require a process that was complete and comprehensive. The University wanted to ensure that recruitment and retention of students and staff was not affected by the concerns about asbestos. The AMP has been in place for just over a year and has resulted in a controlled and carefully monitored process to deal with the identification and remediation of asbestos containing materials on campus. Staff and Faculty are much more confident in how asbestos is being handled. Recruitment and retention of students and staff remains unaffected by this issue.

The AMP has allowed the University to identify and prioritize remediation activities, based on a structured classification system ensuring that scarce resources are appropriately allocated.

Productivity Impact

It is difficult to determine the cost reductions in absolute terms, because of the latency effects of exposure to asbestos fibres and resulting health effects. It is also very difficult to determine the gains made with respect to staff, faculty and students peace of rnind knowing that the University has a system in place to address the hazards and to ensure the safety of the campus community, Prior to the establishment of the AMP, one building on campus was shut down and remediation conducted over a number of months requiring relocation of staff and extensive repair and upgrading of the building at an estimated cost of $250,000. We do know that the cost of benefits to a single staff member with asbestos related disease could be in the neighborhood of $1M, if there are dependents involved and pension benefits to be paid out. Recently, the Workers Compensation Board accepted responsibility for a claim, with a potential payout of $800,000 in pension benefits to the surviving spouse. The University feels that the program has resulted in efficiency gains, improved morale and a more effective and targeted maintenance program. The University will continue to monitor the cost effectiveness of this initiative.


This project was in response to an urgent need to address concerns raised by faculty and trades staff related to the potential to exposure to asbestos on campus during regular maintenance, renovation and construction activities. The concerns had a wide impact and required a Consolidated effort to reach ail members of the campus community. Because of the heightened awareness of the health issues and the media coverage, there was a need to demonstrate that the University was able to manage the issue and that there was no need to panic about the safety of the campus environment, This submission differs from other recent submissions in that the program affects almost everyone that attends or works on campus and has universal application to other safety and health hazards, The program addresses a problem common to other universities in a comprehensive and systematic way.