WorkSafeBC finds employers exposing workers to asbestos-containing materials
WorkSafeBC has issued fines for three employers who have committed occupational health and safety violations concerning asbestos.
Leader Hazmat Ltd. has been charged $5,000 for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure.
This firm was conducting asbestos abatement at a pre-1990 house slated for demolition when WorkSafeBC inspected the site. The organization found that waste bags of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) that were not the required thickness and that were not labelled as ACM waste.
Soffit and roof vents had also not been sealed, and there was no negative air pressure into the decontamination facility to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres. WorkSafeBC issued a stop-work order.
“The firm failed to take the necessary precautions to protect workers before allowing work that would disturb ACMs. The firm also failed to adequately contain hazardous materials. These were both repeated and high-risk violations,” it said.
A consensus-based standard is a crucial next step to establishing a more consistent and protective approach to asbestos management and remediation across Canada, according to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
All-Phase Contracting Ltd. was also charged $5,000 related to its pre-demolition asbestos abatement at a duplex.
WorkSafeBC observed uncontained debris from drywall and vinyl tile, both identified as asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), in multiple locations on the property. Also, porous materials in the building's basement were later confirmed to be cross-contaminated with ACMs. WorkSafeBC issued a stop-work order.
“The firm failed to safely contain or remove all hazardous materials, a repeated and high-risk violation,” it said.
AMK Environmental (2017) Ltd. must also pay $5,000.00 for asbestos-related violations it committed while conducting abatement at a house.
WorkSafeBC inspected the site and issued a stop-work order after finding multiple deficiencies related to the firm's practices for handling asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
AMK Environmental failed to develop and implement an exposure control plan where workers were exposed to harmful levels of asbestos, and failed to implement an effective program for the use of personal protective equipment, according to WorkSafeBC.
The firm also failed to ensure workers required to wear respirators were clean-shaven, and failed to ventilate the containment to ensure inward airflow.
Also, the firm failed to safely contain or remove hazardous materials, and failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety, both repeated violations.
“These were all high-risk violations,” according to WorkSafeBC.