April 27, 2018

As a result of a study by Health Canada on TTC air quality published in April 2017, the Occupational Hygiene and Environment Section initiated its own Subway Air Quality Study in the summer of 2017. Although this is a one-year study, we are committed to keeping you informed on the process and eventual results.

We are pleased to report that preliminary results from the third party consultants confirm that levels of many air-borne contaminants common to the subway system are below occupational exposure limits as set out by provincial law.

The preliminary report finds that subway air quality does not pose a risk to the health of employees who do not have pre-existing serious respiratory conditions and that use of masks or other respiratory protection is not required.
 
The interim report provides all study details to date for non-maintenance employees (Subway Operators, Special Constables, Fare Enforcement Officers, Track Patrollers, End Terminal Cleaners, Subway Janitors and Traffic Checkers).

TTC employees have been integral to making sure we are doing what’s best for the health and safety of everyone. We are confident in the findings in this first interim report and will continue to share updates as we receive them.

The purpose of the study is to:

  • Provide current information on the air quality in the underground portions of the subway during revenue service;
  • Determine employee exposures to airborne contaminants and verify compliance with Ontario Regulation 833 – Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents, made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of current controls;
  • Make recommendations regarding both compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and opportunities for general improvement.  

The first round of air sampling focused on the jobs that generally spend the greatest amount of time in the subway during revenue service.

The full interim report is available here and a copy will be posted in all common areas for employees to review. Job-specific maintenance position reports are available to employees.

Limited conclusions and recommendations are provided at this time as the study is not yet completed and all the pertinent data is not yet available.
 
Further sampling will be conducted throughout 2018, followed by final reports. We are committed to keeping you informed.

Toronto Public Health is conducting a review with respect to non-employee exposure.

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