Vancouver Sun Article
WorkSafeBC wants jail for asbestos contractor
METRO VANCOUVER – A Lower Mainland asbestos removal and demolition contractor is facing a possible jail term after being charged by WorkSafeBC with allegedly putting employees’ lives at risk by letting them work unwittingly on homes that contained asbestos.
Earlier this month, the Workers’ Compensation Board asked the B.C. Supreme Court to jail Arthur Moore of AM Environmental for 120 days for contempt of court in an action which began in July last year.
At that time, the board received an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court ordering Moore to cease his activities in the asbestos abatement business.
The injunction was sought following an investigation of Moore’s activities by WorkSafeBC inspectors that allegedly revealed he was forging laboratory certificates showing homes waiting demolition were clear of asbestos contamination.
However, a number of the homes were shown to contain asbestos when samples were submitted to laboratory tests, according to court documents.
Although the injunction was issued Aug. 26, 2010 WorkSafeBC claims that Moore ignored the order and continued to work on as many as other 16 demolitions between Sept 2, and Oct. 12, 2010.
On March 14, a WCB lawyer asked that Moore be found guilty of contempt of court and jailed.
WorkSafeBC official Donna Freeman said Friday the agency was waiting to hear the court’s decision. “It was a reserved judgment,” she said.
According to a number of documents filed by the WCB, Moore’s demolition business “provides environmental assessments and reports, hazardous materials survey and testing and asbestos abatement services and testing.”
The WCB regulates exposure to asbestos in the workplace but Moore “has been in consistent breach of the Act and Regulation and has repeatedly put workers at risk of exposure to asbestos,” it said.
“Between the years 2000 and 2009, 1,553 workers died as a result of injury or industrial diseases … 465 or 30 per cent of the total were related to asbestos exposure,” said the WCB.
The WCB’s injunction application listed eight incidents from Feb. 11 to May 26, 2010, that were investigated by WCB inspectors involving demolished homes in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and Delta.
The first investigation involved a home at 3005 West 12th Ave. in Vancouver, where a report stated that Moore had done an inspection of the property and submitted 21 random samples to Powertech Labs.
Moore’s report concluded that there was no evident “asbestos in the plaster and the vinyl flooring …. and it is safe to demolish this dwelling.”
“The report was forwarded to Powertech Labs who advised it had not been issued by them and was a forgery,” said the WCB application.
On March 7, an inspection of a home awaiting demolition at 7716 116A in North Delta found a hazardous material inspection report compiled by Moore dated Dec. 7, 2009, which noted that 16 random samples had been taken and examined by Powertech Labs.
Again, the laboratory said it had no record of receiving or analyzing the samples.
Samples from the home were taken and analyzed and three were found to contain asbestos requiring the home to be demolished “using high-risk asbestos abatement procedures,” including personal protective equipment, full face air purifying protection, and a three-stage decontamination facility and shower for workers.
“If the property had been demolished pursuant to the respondent’s fraudulent report, workers would have been exposed to asbestos,” said the WCB.
“The respondent continues to operate his business and advertise his services as a consultant in violation of the Act and Regulation and continues to put workers at risk of industrial disease and death,” it said.