Excerpt from the government of Ontario ‘Newsroom’

Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd., a Harrowsmith business that conducts asbestos abatement, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $25,000 after workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site. A supervisor, Gregory Simpson, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure workers used protective clothing and equipment, and was fined $4,000.

On May 15, 2014, three workers were on the site of a single-family home at 150 Harvard Place in Amherstview. The work was an asbestos abatement project and the area where the abatement work was being conducted was enclosed. In the enclosed area, removal of certain asbestos containing materials had occurred and there was an asbestos dust hazard present.

That afternoon a Ministry of Labour inspector attended at the location to conduct an inspection.  During the inspection the inspector found one of the workers exiting the enclosed area of the project wearing street clothing. The inspector subsequently found another worker inside the enclosed area, securing bags filled with asbestos-containing material; that worker was also not wearing protective clothing. The third worker was also observed in the enclosed area performing clean-up work while not wearing protective clothing.

Asbestos can cause respiratory illness and cancers if inhaled or ingested. Asbestos-containing material is not generally considered harmful unless it is disturbed and released into the air. There is potential for harm when workers and others are exposed to even small amounts of asbestos.

Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd. pleaded guilty to contravening Section 15.14 of Ontario Regulation 278/05 (Designated Substance – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations). The regulation states that only persons wearing protective clothing and equipment should enter a work area where there is an asbestos dust hazard. The business was fined $25,000 by Justice of the Peace Deanne L. Chappell in Provincial Offences Court in Napanee on January 21, 2015.

Supervisor Gregory Simpson pleaded guilty to failing as a supervisor to ensure that a worker worked in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the regulation, was fined $4,000.

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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 15.14 of the Ontario regulation 278/05 (Designated Substance – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations) which states,

“Only persons wearing protective clothing and equipment shall enter a work area where there is an asbestos dust hazard.”

Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

Supervisor Gregory Simpson pleaded guilty for a contravention of section 27, subsection 1(a) which states,

“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

(a) Works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations.”

Gregory Simpson was fined $4,000.

I recently taught a course in ‘Asbestos Safety Awareness’ and was surprised to see this particular report because a company with the name Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd. must be trained by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities in Type III removal as reported in Ontario regulation 278/05 section 20 which states

The employer shall ensure that,

(a) Every worker involved in a Type 3 operation has successfully completed the Asbestos Abatement Worker Training Program approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; and

(b) Every supervisor of a worker involved in a Type 3 operation has successfully completed the Asbestos Abatement Supervisor Training Program approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.”

Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd. should have received a much larger fine only if to offset the costs of the possible long term damage done to the employees. Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer are the three diseases linked to asbestos exposure.

The Latency Period for Mesothelioma is usually around 15-40 years. Asbestosis usually does not show itself for many years as well.

The future costs should have been factored in when delivering out the punishment and it should be directly proportional to the health care costs both in the short term as well as the long term.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Respirator Fit Testing’, Asbestos Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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