The Sorrento Centre Anglican Church of Canada was fined $14,384 for allowing workers to be in an area where there was damaged and exposed asbestos without using adequate personal protective equipment or safe work procedures.
“The firm should first have ensured that all friable (easily crumbled) asbestos-containing materials were removed or enclosed so as to prevent the release of asbestos fibres,” reads a recently released WorkSafe B.C. report. “These designated high-risk violations may have exposed workers to asbestos, a known carcinogen.”
The church has filed a notice of appeal, but the Sorrento Centre representative dealing with the matter was out of the office and not available for comment Wednesday.
Asbestos was a popular building material between the 1950s and 1990s due to its heat resistant properties and resilience to chemical erosion — but it is now known that it causes a number of serious health problems.
It’s often described as a hidden killer because asbestos-related diseases take a long time to develop. Once diagnosed, it’s often too late for treatment.
According to WorkSafe B.C., asbestos-related diseases resulted in 77 deaths in 2014, up from 59 in 2013.
Visit WorkSafe B.C. for more information about asbestos, and how to prevent exposure to it.