A $710,488.79 fine has been imposed on GFL Environmental Inc. when a worker in Kimberley was exposed to asbestos contamination without personal protective equipment (PPE).
According to WorkSafeBC (WSBC) officials, the worker was not provided with proper equipment or training.
The violation was discovered when the agency was sent to inspect the site of a fire-damaged building in Kimberley that was assumed to be cross-contaminated with asbestos-containing materials.
WSBC officials said GFL Environmental was hired to demolish the building and remove debris, and WSBC was sent in to inspect the site after the building was taken down.
At the scene, the inspectors saw a GFL Environmental worker using an excavator inside the containment area, loading debris into a bin.
This worker was not wearing PPE to protect against asbestos exposure while in the excavator and when exiting the machine, still within the contamination zone.
“The firm failed to ensure the worker within the designated work area wore appropriate protective clothing, and that its workers at risk of exposure to asbestos were instructed in the use of PPE and work procedures to be followed,” said WSBC officials. “The firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety. These were all high-risk violations.”
As a result, the GFL Environmental was slapped with the maximum allowable fine this year on August 2.