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Designated Substance Survey (DSS Report)

Unveiling Hidden Hazards

In Ontario, workers are protected from eleven “designated substances” that are regulated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. If a Designated Substance Survey is not duly provided to the Ministry of Labour, a STOP work order can be initiated. Without a DSS, and without proper precautions to protect workers, there could be significant delays in such projects as construction, building, and renovation. Needless to say, this could translate into big investment losses.


The primary purpose of OHSA regulations (The Occupational Health and Safety Act) is to appropriately protect workers from any health or safety hazards while on the job. Part of OHSA requires “project management” to perform a formal assessment to determine whether there are any “designated substances” present on the worksite. Prior to beginning a project, management must prepare a list of “designated substances” that are present. Some are typically hazardous materials, while others are substances of concern.

DSS Report-Designated Substance Survey
  • Asbestos: Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
  • Benzene: Inhalation or skin contact with benzene can cause harmful effects on the blood, including anemia and leukemia.
  • Lead: lead exposure can cause kidney damage, reproductive problems, and high blood pressure.
  • Acrylonitrile: Inhalation or skin contact with acrylonitrile can cause respiratory issues, eye and skin irritation, and potentially damage the nervous system.
  • Mercury Coke Oven Emissions: Inhalation of mercury coke oven emissions can lead to respiratory problems, including lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
  • Silica: Prolonged inhalation of silica dust can cause lung diseases such as silicosis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Arsenic:  Arsenic exposure can lead to various health issues, including skin lesions, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, and an increased risk of certain cancers.
  • Isocyanates: Exposure to isocyanates can cause respiratory issues, including asthma, bronchitis, and other lung diseases. It can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.
  • Ethylene Oxide: Inhalation or skin contact with ethylene oxide can cause respiratory irritation, nausea, headache.
  • Vinyl Chloride: Inhalation of vinyl chloride can lead to respiratory problems, liver damage, and an increased risk of developing liver cancer.
  • PCBs:  generally within the scope of the survey though not part of the named substances.

The Benefits of A DSS Report

  • Determining which “designated substances” may be present onsite
  • Confirmation of findings through independent, certified lab reports
  • Assessing the scope of a contamination in order to take precautions
  • Eliminating the potential for management liability and compensation

All Season Inspection adheres to the defined inspection guidelines of OAHI – standards of practice that are highly respected throughout industry. As such, our inspectors are highly trained and qualified to perform DSS Reports.

City of Toronto Link to Designated Substances

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