A Designated Substance Survey (DSS) is a requirement when renovating or demolishing a building. Designated substances found in building materials may harm those performing work in the building as well as those in the immediate area of where proper precautions are not employed.
There are eleven substances which have been “designated” in the Province of Ontario. They are acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica and vinyl chloride.
Four of these designated substances are commonly found in building materials used in the construction of homes, offices and commercial buildings.
- Asbestos – Found in many buildings materials;
- Lead – Found in paint coatings, solder, bell & spigot pipe fittings, etc.;
- Mercury – Found in thermometers, pressure gauges, electrical switches, relays, etc. ; and
- Silica – Found in concrete, masonry, stone, refractory, etc.
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that a list of all designated substances at a project site be provided to all bidders at the tendering stage. A Designated Substance Survey (DSS) identifies the designated substances present, their locations and concentrations.
This information allows contractors involved in demolition or renovation activities to take appropriate steps to control exposure of workers and the general public to the designated substances that are present.