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Northwest Territories Government fined $115,000 over improper asbestos assessment

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In a previous blog we wrote about a ski resort in the US that was fined for not safely removing building materials containing asbestos and now a museum in Yellowknife has done something similar. We know the dangers that asbestos fibers can have on human health and would like to emphasize the importance of safely disposing of hazardous materials.

In 2011, a fire damaged the kitchen area and boiler room of a Yellowknife museum. Contractors tested for hazardous materials and found asbestos present in some of the building materials and removed it safely. The same museum hired contractors to replace a chimney later that year. Public works tested for hazardous materials and reported none found. When contractors began working on replacing the chimney, they questioned the original finding. One worker that was on site went as far as sending an email asking officials if they were 100% sure that there was no presence of asbestos on the chimney. It wasn’t until after the project was started that there was confirmation of asbestos contained in the chimney. The workers who thought the project was free of asbestos were not wearing proper protective gear or equipment that are used in asbestos abatement.

The Northwest Territories government was fined over $100,000 but that pales in comparison to the effects asbestos exposure can have on the contractors. Asbestos fibers absorbed by the body can cause multiple negative health effects, including respiratory illnesses. The fine fibers need to be handled with safety equipment and protective gear to prevent them from being breathed-in by workers or anyone that is present on the site.

The incident of asbestos exposure to workers in Yellowknife is another reminder of the importance to hire professionals to test for and safely dispose of hazardous materials like asbestos in renovation and demolition projects. For more information on asbestos abatement or demolition projects contact 24/7 Restoration in Calgary today at (403) 247-4365.

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