Three firms has to pay five-figure sum in fines
WorkSafeBC has penalized more British Columbia employers over asbestos-related occupational health and safety violations.
Onni Contracting Ltd. has been tasked to pay $38,991.91 for violations it committed at the commercial complex undergoing renovation in Victoria.
WorkSafeBC inspected the site and observed that subcontracted firms had removed drywall, a potential asbestos-containing material (ACM). No hazardous materials survey had been conducted, and no measures had been in place to protect workers from hazardous materials.
A survey conducted later confirmed that drywall joint compound was an ACM.
“The firm failed to ensure a qualified person identified hazardous materials before renovation work began, and failed to take the necessary precautions to protect workers before beginning work that would disturb ACMs. In addition, as prime contractor the firm failed to ensure health and safety activities were coordinated at the workplace. These were all high-risk violations,” according to WorkSafeBC.
Coastal Wall Systems Ltd. was also charged $15,000 for violations it committed at two worksites in Abbotsford where it was conducting pre-demolition asbestos abatement.
WorkSafeBC issued stop-work orders at both sites after observing multiple deficiencies with the firm's practices for handling ACMs. According to the agency, the firm failed to take the necessary precautions to protect workers before beginning abatement work, failed to safely contain or remove all hazardous materials and failed to have a qualified person ensure and confirm in writing that hazardous materials were safely contained or removed.
The firm also failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety.
“These were all repeated and high-risk violations,” said WorkSafeBC.
Coastal Wall Systems also failed to adequately maintain and ventilate a containment and decontamination facility, failed to take measures to prevent the spread of ACMs, failed to conduct regular sampling for airborne asbestos fibres and failed to test the effectiveness of its HEPA filters. All of these were all high-risk violations.
Finally, the firm knowingly provided a WorkSafeBC officer with false information, according to the agency.
Lastly, Kisito Ndenecho/Cloverman Environmental Contracting was fined $2,500 for violations it committed while conducting asbestos abatement at a pre-1990 house slated for demolition in Surrey.
WorkSafeBC inspected the site while abatement work was underway. The agency found that there was no three-stage decontamination facility and no negative air unit in place, and that there were breaches in the building containment.
WorkSafeBC also observed that workers were with dust from drywall, an identified asbestos-containing material (ACM), on their clothing and skin.
“No exposure control plan or respirator fit-tests were available, and two of the workers were not clean-shaven, which would have interfered with the fit of their respirators. WorkSafeBC issued a stop-work order,” according to WorkSafeBC.
The agency noted that the firm failed to take the necessary precautions to protect workers before beginning work that would disturb ACMs, and failed to safely contain or remove all hazardous materials. Both were high-risk violations.