WorkSafeBC is ramping up efforts to enforce compliance with safety measures, as deaths from asbestos exposure continues to rise.

WorkSafeBC calls on construction industry to protect its workers

Asbestos-related deaths and diseases climbing as contractors fail to keep workers safe

Asbestos is the top killer of construction workers in B.C., yet companies continue to ignore safety measures that could protect their workers.

So, WorkSafeBC is ramping up its efforts to clamp down on contractors.

Something has to get through to employers, they say. They’ve been working hard to hand out consequences to companies that don’t follow the rules.

Already this year, they’ve issued more asbestos-related stop-work orders and fines than in all of 2016.

While the effects of asbestos aren’t seen in workers for years, those stop-work orders hit companies in the pocketbook, resulting in lost hours, missed construction deadlines, and even cancelled projects.

The end goal is to stop exposing construction and demolition workers to the deadly substance asbestos. It can be potentially found in more than 3,000 building materials in homes built before 1990. While it’s generally considered to be safe if left undisturbed, it is released into the air when the materials are drilled, sawed, sanded or broken up during renos or demos.

Workers can breathe in asbestos fibres if they are not protected.

If workers breathe in enough asbestos, their lungs can be permanently damaged or result in death.

There is a long latency period (10 to 40 years on average) between the time a worker breathes in asbestos fibres and when a disease can develop. WorkSafeBC says that in the 10 years from 2007 to 2016, 605 B.C. workers have died from asbestos-related diseases.

According to Al Johnson, vice-president of prevention services, some building contractors are not only risking their workers’ health but risking the future of their businesses. If word gets out that a contractor has cut corners and doesn’t take asbestos seriously, it can do significant harm to their professional reputation.

They’ve sent out a direct mailer to 14,500 construction contractors, to drive home the message. They’ve also created a video for employees and employers to spread awareness of the risks, called Asbestos: Why Risk It?

It tells construction employers: “Identify asbestos properly, remove it safely and follow safe work procedures. Do your job, do it right, and protect everyone from the dangers of asbestos.”

They’ve also created a video to explain what asbestos is and where it can lurking in older homes.

WorkSafeBC publishes an entire toolkit for employers regarding asbestos abatement, at their website www.worksafebc.com/asbestos. They have been sounding the alarm on asbestos for the past few years now, following a marked surge in asbestos-related diseases and deaths in older workers.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tsunami scare spurs emergency prep

Parksville Qualicum Beach team has plans in place for potential emergency

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Parksville Curling Club makes prime-time

B.C.’s top men’s teams coming to Island for provincial championships

Mediators appointed to help address issues in IHealth review

Review too little, too late for Qualicum Bay patient

VIDEO: Ever wondered what haggis tastes like?

Views in the NEWS at a Robbie Burns Day celebration

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Most Read