Belleville supervisor fined for asbestos-related OHS offence

A Belleville, Ont., supervisor was fined $8,000 on November 9, 2010 for violating asbestos regulations imposed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

On November 17, 2009, Mary O'Neill was acting as a supervisor for 1636487 Ontario Limited, carrying on business as O'Neill Excavating 2005. That day, O'Neill and one worker were removing the asbestos insulation surrounding a boiler at a rental property on Albert St., in Belleville. A tenant in the adjoining unit, concerned the asbestos was not being removed properly, notified the Hastings and Prince Edward County Health Unit. The Ministry of Labour was then notified.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that proper protective clothing was not worn in the work area, and the work area was not properly sealed off to prevent the spread of asbestos.

O'Neill pleaded guilty to:

    * Failing to ensure that only persons wearing proper protective clothing enter a work area where there is an asbestos dust hazard
    * Failing to use the proper methods required to seal off the work area to prevent the spread of airborne asbestos fibres.

O'Neill was fined $4,000 for each count.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Deanne Chapelle. In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.