OUR VIEW: No room for doubt when it comes to asbestos

We’re concerned about a B.C. Supreme Court judge’s dismissal of a WorkSafe BC case against an asbestos removal company.

Asbestos is the No. 1 killer in B.C.’s workplaces.

We’re concerned about a B.C. Supreme Court judge’s dismissal of a WorkSafe BC case against an asbestos removal company.

We agree with Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Tim Takaro when he says in effect, the ruling ignores the significant risks asbestos poses to those who work with it.

In the dismissal, the judge noted the law protecting workers from the harm asbestos can cause is too vague to be enforced. As one commentator observed, tax law is vague but this doesn’t mean we don’t have to file our returns.

Professor Takaro says the ruling ignores scientific findings related to asbestos as well as interventions in place that are designed to reduce related risks. He notes that asbestos is the No. 1 killer in B.C.’s workplaces and argues that clear rules are in place to protect people who work in asbestos removal and have been followed by many contractors for years.

For many years, asbestos was considered to be a miracle building material because it resists heat, absorbs sound, is relatively cheap and resists electrical and chemical damage. When inhaled, fine particles of asbestos get stuck deep in the lungs and, over time, can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Businesses have an obligation to protect their workers. If the judgment was wrong in this case, WorkSafe should appeal it immediately. But if it was correct, the wording of the regulations must be tightened up immediately to leave no room for doubt.

The danger asbestos poses to workers is far too grave for this matter to be left up in the air.

The Now

Just Posted

Surrey’s Flamingo ‘closing forever’ following final concert in February

Whalley venue reopened under new management in January 2018

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

Surrey reviewing clothing bin safety in wake of deaths

School district confirms all donation bins were removed from its properties, citing safety concerns

Delta bans clothing donation bins citing safety concerns

Owners have until Jan. 29 to remove the bins, after which the city will charge them for the removal

The science of edible photographs on shortbread bisquits: A Surrey artist talks

Sylvia Grace Borda at Science World a week after her art show opens at KPU

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Lower Mainland teacher resigned after ‘inappropriate discussions’ with elementary students

Tracy Joseph Fairley resigned from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district April 23, 2018

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read