Ontario Municipality Fined For Workers’ Asbestos Exposure

The Ministry of Labour has laid charges against a municipality in Western Ontario after workers were unknowingly exposed to asbestos. The Region of Waterloo pleaded guilty to the charge of “failing to provide a worker with the required information about materials that are asbestos-containing.”

The court assessed a fine of $50,000 for incidents that happened in October 2015, when eight workers were assigned to a construction project at a water pumping station. The work entailed both removing and installing electrical equipment, which meant tearing down concrete block walls from the inside of the building.

The key issue: the Region had commissioned a study the year before that found the presence of asbestos containing material. They failed to tell the workers about it.

Vermiculite
The asbestos exposure came in the form of vermiculite – a type of insulation – which seeped out once the wall cavities had been exposed. Not knowing that the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos, the workers were not wearing any personal protective equipment or PPE, and the material was not properly disposed of.

That means not just the workers, but others may have theoretically been exposed to asbestos as well.

Vermiculite by itself is an innocuous pebble-like substance. It is often used in planting materials, among other things, because of the fact that it swells up when it is heated, turning into small worm-like structures. As insulation, it seems like an ideal material that could be blown into wall cavities, and then swell to fill all the space.

The problem was that most of the vermiculite used in insulation in North America came from a mine in Libby, Montana – a mine that was found to be contaminated with asbestos.

Old Buildings And Renovations
Asbestos containing materials are considered safe as long as they are intact. Renovations, installation of alarm or even home theater systems – anything that opens up the walls – can create dust, which can enter the lungs.

You don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your health. The health risks of asbestos exposure are very real and not to be taken lightly.

That’s where we come in.

Call Before You Renovate
If your home was built before the mid-1980s, it is likely to contain asbestos in one form or another. You can trust the experienced asbestos removal experts and asbestos remediation experts at GreenStream Environmental to take care of the issue for you. In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.

GreenStream Environmental Inc. specializes in the Inspection, Remediation, and Safe Removal of Asbestos and Mould, both hazardous and non-hazardous.
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