NAPANEE, ON – Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd., a Harrowsmith business that conducts asbestos abatement, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $25,000 after workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site. A supervisor, Gregory Simpson, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure workers used protective clothing and equipment, and was fined $4,000.
On May 15, 2014, three workers were on the site of a single-family home at 150 Harvard Place in Amherstview. The work was an asbestos abatement project and the area where the abatement work was being conducted was enclosed. In the enclosed area, removal of certain asbestos containing materials had occurred and there was an asbestos dust hazard present.
That afternoon a Ministry of Labour inspector attended at the location to conduct an inspection. During the inspection the inspector found one of the workers exiting the enclosed area of the project wearing street clothing. The inspector subsequently found another worker inside the enclosed area, securing bags filled with asbestos-containing material; that worker was also not wearing protective clothing. The third worker was also observed in the enclosed area performing clean-up work while not wearing protective clothing.
Asbestos can cause respiratory illness and cancers if inhaled or ingested. Asbestos-containing material is not generally considered harmful unless it is disturbed and released into the air. There is potential for harm when workers and others are exposed to even small amounts of asbestos.
Recovery Abatement & Insulation Ltd. pleaded guilty to contravening Section 15.14 of Ontario Regulation 278/05 (Designated Substance – Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations). The regulation states that only persons wearing protective clothing and equipment should enter a work area where there is an asbestos dust hazard. The business was fined $25,000 by Justice of the Peace Deanne L. Chappell in Provincial Offences Court in Napanee on January 21, 2015.
Supervisor Gregory Simpson pleaded guilty to failing as a supervisor to ensure that a worker worked in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the regulation, was fined $4,000.
In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.