School district fined for unsafe work

The Coast Mountains School District has been slapped with a $52,000 fine from WorkSafeBC - the Workers’ Compensation Board - for unsafe practices in the workplace.

The Coast Mountains School District has been slapped with a $52,000 fine from WorkSafeBC – the Workers’ Compensation Board – for unsafe practices in the workplace.

According to WorkSafeBC, employees working for the district removed asbestos-containing building materials from a school without following the proper procedures to prevent exposure to hazardous asbestos dust.

The school was Terrace’s Clarence Michiel, which is a part of the Suwilaawks Community School.

Megan Johnston, communications officer for WorkSafeBC, said agency officers attended the work site in Aug. 2009.

“The workers had removed asbestos containing building materials from the work site,” she said. “They were not aware that the work site contained asbestos.”

School district secretary treasurer Alanna Cameron said the circumstances are still under review.

“We have until May 30 to provide additional information,” Cameron said. “Rather than accept the accusation we felt that we had further information that would perhaps lead them to a different conclusion.”

Johnston said an asbestos assessment has been done at this work site at this school.

“It was known that the building contained asbestos,” she said.

The school district has already submitted further information on the incident and will be possibly sending more.

“They have a team of people from different perspectives that review and then we will get a final reading,” Cameron said.

She did not want to comment more on the incident until a resolution has been reached, at which time the school district will disclose full details.

The amount of $52,000 is not necessarily reflective of the violation, rather the amount is based on the employer’s payroll, Johnston said.

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