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

TDCSS to end on-campus daycare service

NWCC committed to finding licenced provider to fill space

Terrace teen honoured at Commonwealth writing competition

Ariadna Sullivan among 12,000 entrants vying for top awards

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

Rent continues to rise in Prince Rupert, drops in Terrace

A report from Canadian Mortage and Housing Corporation shows the average rent has risen by $132

Cops targeting risky behaviour, auto crime

Holiday campagaigns aim to keep roads safe, valuables protected

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

Most Read