Deaths while on the job in the construction industry has decreased over the last ten years, but work safety officials are saying these numbers are expected to increase due to a rise in occupational diseases.
According to WorkSafeBC, there were a total of 29 reported deaths in 2015, and over half of the 337 fatalities reported since 2006 through 2015 have allegedly been related to workplace health hazards.
Brett Mineer, government and media relations with WorkSafeBC, said fatalities will rise because most exposure to asbestos occurred more than 15 years ago when its dangers weren’t known.
“Any home built before 1990 will have a high exposure of asbestos,” said Mineer.”WorkSafeBC is making sure all efforts are being put in to prevent future exposure to asbestos.”
Mineer added WorksSafeBC’s inspection officers have the proper tools for testing and ensure contractors are abiding by regulations when it’s being removed.
Last year, WorkSafeBC handed out thousands of dollars of fines to work sites, some of which were related to improper storage of drywall containing asbestos.
Sandro Stefanucci, president and founder of Abstract Homes and Renovations, said there has been no incidents or fatalities within his company, but added they do take mandatory precautions when it comes to asbestos exposure.
“We don’t start anything until we get an expert to take samples on a home,” he said.
Stefanucci said no one is to be in the residence when samples are being taken. When they come back positive, Stefanucci said they cut them up and ‘dispose of them properly.’
“It’s expensive to get rid of,” he said.
Asbestos, a mineral fibre resistant to fire used by construction workers was typically used as insulation against heat, noise and for fire protection in homes until the late 1980s. It was banned in December 2003.