Municipality Fined $50,000 for Exposing Workers to Asbestos
Eight workers employed by a municipality were working on a construction project, which involved the removal of existing equipment and installation of new equipment in a well house. The municipality knew that the well house contained asbestos-containing materials, but it didn’t tell the workers and their supervisors of the presence of such materials in the building before commencement of construction. During the work, workers who drilled holes into the interior concrete block walls of the building were exposed to asbestos when the vermiculite was disturbed and spilled out from the wall cavities. They weren’t wearing PPE as required when working around asbestos-containing material and didn’t treat the material in the well house as containing asbestos. The MOL and a hygiene consultant were contacted and proper clean-up of the spilled materials was done. The municipality pleaded guilty to failing to provide a worker with the required information about materials that contain asbestos and was fined $50,000 [Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Govt. News Release, Jan. 13, 2017].