FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Worksafe B.C. has fined Peace River Hydro Partners over $310,000 after they discovered employees were being exposed to large amounts of silica dust.
According to Worksafe B.C., staff inspected a tunnelling operation at the Site C dam on May 8, 2018, and discovered Peace River Hydro Partners did not have an up to date exposure control plan in place for silica dust and did not include occupational exposure testing or effective dust-suppression systems.
The Worksafe penalty summary says “Tunnelling operations had begun before samples of the tunnelled materials had been taken and analyzed. Subsequent sampling identified high levels of crystalline silica in the tunnelled material.”
Worksafe also determined the respirators used by workers were providing insufficient protection for the level of occupational exposure.
Workers who are exposed to silica dust can have an increased risk of lung cancer, COPD and kidney disease.