North Okanagan-Shuswap School District appealing $200K WorkSafeB.C. fine | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan-Shuswap School District appealing $200K WorkSafeB.C. fine

School District 83 board office.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District is appealing a $200,000 fine it received after its contractor drilled into walls containing asbestos at one of its elementary schools.

School District No. 83 was conducting security upgrades at a school and drilled holes to install wiring which disturbed drywall and vermiculite. Both substances were identified as asbestos-containing materials, according to a WorkSafe B.C. decision.

The district was fined a total of $204,814 fine, March 22 and WorkSafe's report said it was a repeated violation.

READ MORE: North Okanagan–Shuswap school district fined $200K for asbestos incident

The incident took place at Bastion Elementary in Salmon Arm, according to a statement from superintendent Donna Kriger.

“SD83 management is asking for a review of this decision and wants to assure the public that the district is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning and working environment for its students and staff,” she said in the statement posted May 9.

There was no potential threat to students and school-based staff as the work was being done during winter break, she said.

Due to repeated vandalism at the Bastion Elementary School, the operations department determined that security shutters would be installed to mitigate further damage and a contractor was selected for the installation.

“Regrettably, the external contractor did not adhere to the agreed work plan and undertook unauthorized work, which involved drilling three small holes (three-eights of an inch in diameter) in areas that were not properly assessed.  As a result, a potentially serious incident occurred, and SD83 safe work procedures were not adhered to,” she said.

“A district trades person who had been assigned to the project immediately identified that the contractor had deviated from the agreed to work plan. Senior management was notified, immediate steps were taken to secure the area and WorkSafeB.C. was informed.”

After conducting an investigation, WorkSafeB.C. issued the fine. The district requested WorkSafe to review this decision “due to concerns regarding the accuracy of evidence relied upon to determine the penalty,” she said.


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