Blog Post #178 – Richmond North Property Corp. Fined $37,500 for Asbestos Violation

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Richmond North Property Corp. pleaded guilty and was fined $37,500 on December 14, 2009, for asbestos violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

During the summer of 2007, the company was renovating a building it owned on Richmond St. N. in London. On August 16, 2007, the Ministry of Labour found that asbestos was present at the project. An investigation revealed the company had failed to advise its workers of the asbestos. Workers also did not know where the asbestos-containing material was or whether the asbestos was friable. If a substance is friable, it is easily broken down, making it possible to inhale.

Richmond North Property Corp. pleaded guilty to failing to:

– advise workers of asbestos-containing material;
– provide workers with the location of asbestos-containing material; and
– advise workers whether asbestos-containing material was friable or non-friable.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Stewart Taylor. In addition to the fine, the court also 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:

Richmond North Property Corporation was found guilty of violating section 5 (2) of the Ontario regulation 278/05, ‘Asbestos’ on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations’ which states,

“The constructor or employer shall advise a worker and provide him or her with the following information:

1. The location of all material described in clause 1(a)
2. For each location, whether the material is friable or non-friable
3. In the case of sprayed-on friable material, for each location,
I. If the material is known to be asbestos-containing material, the type of asbestos, if known, or
II. In any other case, a statement that the material will be treated as though it contained a type of asbestos other than ‘chrysotile’.

Any time a designated substance is found on a job sight, there are many safeguards that MUST be put in place prior to the workforce entering the area.

This year we have repealed the following:

1) 835/90 — Acrylonitrile
2) 836/90 — Arsenic
3) 837/90 — Asbestos
4) 839/90 — Benzene
5) 840/90 — Coke Oven Emissions
6) 841/90 — Ethylene Oxide
7) 842/90 — Isocyanates
8) 843/90 — Lead
9) 844/90 — Mercury
10) 845/90 — Silica
11) 846/90 — Vinyl Chloride

I have listed the 11 designated substances of which asbestos has two different regulations. 278/05 has NOT been repealed and stays in force.

Ontario regulation 491/09 came into force July 1, 2010 and amends regulation 833, Control for Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents, by introducing new definitions and requirements for PPE in the absences of “Engineering Controls.” Furthermore, the amendment revises the exposure limits or information listings for 23 substances, adds exposure limits for two new substances (butenes and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and withdraws specific exposure limits for 11 substances.

In today’s civilized world, there are many regulations covering a large amount of health and safety concerns. It is always the responsibility of the employer to seek out the regulations, to initiate proper controls so that the workers are never at risk.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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