WorkSafeBC ramps up asbestos regulation efforts

22 Aug 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News

jKZC0 7U 400x400 100x100 WorkSafeBC ramps up asbestos regulation effortsWorkSafeBC, the occupational health and safety regulatory agency in , announced this month it has issued more asbestos-related work-stop orders and fines than in all of 2016. The news comes as the agency has ramped up efforts to keep construction and demolition workers safe from asbestos exposure.

In the 10 years from 2007 to 2016, 605 workers in died from asbestos-related diseases; it’s the No. 1 cause of death for the area’s construction industry. Asbestos was once used in a variety of construction and industrial processes. It is now a known human carcinogen, and Canada has announced plans to ban asbestos by 2018. In , the regulatory consequences of not properly identifying and safely handling it include stop-work orders and fines, resulting in lost hours, blown deadlines and canceled projects, according to a release from the agency.

“WorkSafeBC is ramping up its direction to asbestos-abatement, demolition, and general contractors to stop exposing construction workers to asbestos and to meet their legal obligation to manage asbestos safely and responsibly,” the release stated.

Asbestos is a health threat when it is drilled, sanded, sawed or broken, and fibers are released into the air, where they can be inhaled or ingested and become permanently lodged in the body. The areas surrounding the lodged fibers then become inflamed and undergo cellular changes that lead to the development of cancer. Though rare, mesothelioma usually proves deadly within a few years of diagnosis.

According to Al Johnson, vice-president, Prevention Services, both people’s health and professional reputations are on the line when asbestos is involved.

 

Comments are closed.