While the United States deals with the looming threat of changes to its asbestos laws, our neighbors to the north in British Columbia provide a cautionary tale about the risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. A single asbestos abatement company, BCS Contracting Ltd., has recently been fined $628,034 in fines as a result of violating asbestos regulations, bring the company’s total administrative penalties to over $1 million. While actions like these have resulted in work stoppages and financial woes, the more important impact has come with the deaths caused by exposure to asbestos: in the year 2017, there were 70 work-related deaths attributed to asbestos exposure, with 31 of them specifically affecting those in the construction industry.
The growing number of asbestos-related deaths occurring in British Columbia are coming despite the fact that asbestos has not been extensively used in the province for years. The mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths are a result of workers continuing to be exposed to the carcinogenic material while assigned to projects involving demolition, repair or renovation of buildings that had originally used it when they were built. This obviously raises the question of how much risk those who live in those buildings may also be vulnerable to.
The organization that has taken on asbestos violations in an attempt to protect workers and others from mesothelioma is WorkSafe BC, or as it is more formally known, the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. Its mandate is the prevention of occupational injury and disease, and violations of British Columbia’s safety regulations involving the handling of asbestos have been on the rise. With reference to BCS Contracting, WorkSafe has ordered that all work with the potential of disturbing asbestos be stopped until the company provides appropriate training and education to workers, and provides a written plan to WorkSafe about its plans going forward.
The importance of what WorkSafe is trying to accomplish is clearly understood by mesothelioma victims in the United States. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this rare condition and you need information on your rights or options, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.