Pembroke Regional Hospital Inc. Fined $60,000 After Asbestos Violations
Pembroke, ON - Pembroke Regional Hospital Inc. was fined a total of $60,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were not adequately protected against asbestos exposure.
On October 26, 2011, maintenance workers at the hospital drilled holes into a wall that was assumed to have asbestos in its drywall joint compound. The drill was not equipped with a HEPA filter, and while the workers were wearing masks, no other precautions were taken to protect them and other workers in the area from asbestos exposure. Also, the workers were not told they would be working in an area containing asbestos and they were not trained on the hazards of asbestos, the personal hygiene to be observed around the substance, or the care and disposal of protective equipment to be worn when doing the work.
Upon investigation, the Ministry of Labour also found that the supervisor who assigned the task did not have the required knowledge, training, or experience to identify work that could expose workers to asbestos or ensure the required safety measures and procedures were followed.
In a separate incident at the hospital between March 1 and April 15, 2012, workers drilled into a ceiling and removed ceiling tiles where friable material could have been laying. The workers were not given notice that the area they worked in could have asbestos-containing material and they took no precautions to protect themselves or other workers in the area.
Pembroke Regional Hospital Inc. pleaded guilty, as an owner, to failing to ensure that:
- workers were provided with information about the presence of asbestos
- workers were properly trained to work in an area containing asbestos material
Pembroke Regional Hospital Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure that:
- a competent supervisor was appointed, with respect to the workplace
- appropriate measures and procedures were used to protect workers from possible contact with asbestos-containing materials.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Logue. 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.
Court Information at a Glance
141 Lake Street, Courtroom 1.
Judge: Justice of the Peace Logue
Date of Sentencing: February 25, 2013
Defendant: Pembroke Regional Hospital Inc.
Matter: Occupational Health and Safety
Conviction: Ontario Regulation 278/05
Crown Counsel: Katherine Ballweg