Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
An employer who allowed a worker to remove asbestos materials without ensuring the worker was trained and had appropriate equipment has pleaded guilty in court and fined a total of $25,000.
In November and December 2012, Kevin Kauffman of Toronto was involved in the process of obtaining approvals for the redevelopment of a property located at 522/524 Johnson Street in Kingston. The exterior of the semi-detached multi-unit dwelling was clad in tiles containing asbestos and more tiles were stored in the basement; the building required asbestos abatement and disposal. He hired a worker to remove the siding and tiles. The worker lived on-site while performing the work.
Although he contacted a Ministry of Labour office and was advised of the requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of the regulations relating to asbestos, the defendant failed to follow through on the necessary equipment and precautions.
The regulations state that employers must provide every worker entering the work area with an approved respirator, and ensure that workers are trained in the hazards of asbestos exposure, including proper work practices and the use, cleaning and disposal of respirators and protective clothing. The worker did not receive any form of asbestos training and was given a rubber mask and paper dust masks.
The defendant pleaded guilty in a Kingston court to failing as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by law were carried out. He was fined a total of $25,000.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Jack Chiang. In addition to the fine, 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Kevin Kaufman was found guilty of violating the entire Ontario regulation 278/05, ‘Designated Substance – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations.
Kevin Kaufman was also found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 1(c) of the OHSA which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
I am wondering how long the employer or, better yet, the government of Ontario, monitors the health of the affected worker. Asbestosis may take 20+ years to manifest itself (latency period) so the employer should be on the hook for his/her future health problems attributed to asbestos contamination.
This is unacceptable in any province. I wonder if Mr. Kaufman put himself at risk. I bet not. I do not think he had any intention of compliance. The fine was not an indication of the possible healthcare costs to the worker.
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’, ‘Asbestos Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.