Companies ordered to pay five-figure sum
Two British Columbia companies have been recently charged for asbestos-related violations in the workplace.
Tede Construction Ltd. was fined $5,000 for violations it committed while conducting asbestos abatement at a house.
One worker was removing cement siding, an identified asbestos-containing material (ACM), from an exterior wall. The worker was not protected by a respirator, according to WorkSafeBC.
Another worker was filling a garbage can with ACMs and unloading it into an open, uncontained disposal bin.
Also, the release of asbestos dust was not being controlled with water suppression.
WorkSafeBC issued a stop-work order.
The firm was charged for failing to take the necessary precautions to protect workers before allowing work that would disturb ACMs, and failing to wet ACMs before and during work.
“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,” according to WorkSafeBC.
All-Phase Contracting Ltd. was also charged $5,000 for violations it committed while conducting asbestos abatement at a pre-1990 house slated for demolition.
The company had issued a clearance letter stating that all ACMs had been removed. However, a WorkSafeBC inspection found multiple instances of confirmed ACMs remaining on the property, including chimney flashing and uncontained drywall in a waste pile.
WorkSafeBC issued a stop-work order, and a subsequent risk assessment confirmed the presence of ACMs remaining in the house and that the entire house had been cross-contaminated with asbestos.
The firm failed to safely contain or remove all hazardous materials, a repeated and high-risk violation, according to the agency.
Previously, WorkSafeBC also issued fines for three employers who committed occupational health and safety violations concerning asbestos. Other employers charged for asbestos-related violations also include HLC Holdings Inc., Sunrick Development Ltd. and Angus Environmental.
CAREX Canada estimates 152,000 Canadians are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces each year.
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).
And while the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has been good at adjudicating claims relating to asbestos exposures, the response has not been the same in the case of other exposures, one advocate previously commented.