The Libberock building on Argyle Street remained under a WorkSafeBC work stoppage notice earlier this week.
The former Canada Post building and soon-to-be home of the Salvation Army and all of its services, was issued the initial inspection notice on Aug. 16. An additional notice was issued on Aug. 29, with a deadline for compliance of Sept. 9.
According to a WorkSafeBC inspection report from Aug. 16, hazardous material such as asbestos and crystalline silica were identified in a hazardous materials survey of the Argyle Street building. A qualified person must ensure, and confirm in writing, that the hazardous materials identified are safely contained or removed before work can proceed, according to the report.
Michael Sutherland, Libberock project manager, said the notice was given because of new WorkSafeBC legislation surrounding the removal of asbestos that he wasn’t aware changed.
“A quality control company comes in and they take a look around the site to assess to make sure that the procedures and the process that gets done to remove asbestos or hazardous material is done correctly,” Sutherland said. “That legislation changed while we were in the midst of doing that work and that clearance letter wasn’t obtained from the consulting company.”
Sutherland said the letter from WorkSafeBC doesn’t say there’s any issues with the building but that a clearance letter is needed prior to proceeding in any additional construction to the building.
“When WorkSafeBC came and said we needed a clearance letter, all of us that had done the training for that asbestos removal were shocked,” Sutherland said. “I went back to the office and started reading up on this legislation and that’s when we realized this was something that wasn’t contained in the training that we had received because there was a change in the legislation.”
The consulting company, Pinchin West, was hired to assess the Libberock building.
A follow-up inspection report from WorkSafeBC from Aug. 29 states the employer must supply a silica exposure control plan no later than Sept. 9.
Sutherland expects to be back at work soon.
“As soon as they’re finished their assessment we’ll get right back to work,” Sutherland said.