A waste-management company has been hit with the highest fine ever imposed by WorkSafeBC, after staff were caught not using proper PPE at the site of a fire-damaged building in Kimberley.
WorkSafeBC recently imposed the $710,488.79 administrative penalty against GFL Environmental Inc. after staff inspected a work site in Kimberley on Aug. 2. GFL Environmental had been hired to demolish a fire-damaged commercial building and remove debris from the site.
“WorkSafeBC inspected the site after the building had been demolished and observed one of the firm’s workers inside the containment area, loading debris into disposal bins with an excavator,” WorkSafe said in a recent press release.
“The worker was not wearing personal protective equipment to protect against exposure to Asbestos Containing Materials and exited the excavator, still within the containment area, without PPE.”
WorkSafe says these were “high-risk violations.”
“The firm failed to ensure the worker within the designated work area wore appropriate protective clothing, and that its workers at risk of exposure to asbestos were instructed in the use of PPE and work procedures to be followed,” WorkSafe says.
“The firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety.
Of the 161 work-related deaths in B.C, in 2021, asbestos exposure was a contributing factor in 53 of them.
“Workers continue to die from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer resulting from exposures that occurred decades ago,” WorkSafe says.