Corix Water Systems is facing a fine from the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board for failing to properly clean up mould contamination at the Dawson City Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The mould contamination, first discovered late this summer, was “extensive,” according to WCB inspection reports.
In August the board ordered Corix to clean it up, but the company failed to do the clean-up properly, which led to the fine, said WCB spokesman Richard Mostyn.
“They were issued a penalty under section 3.1 under the health and safety act. In plain language, that means the remediation, the cleanup, was conducted without proper assessment of worker health, without appropriate equipment, without safe procedures and without the necessary training for mould remediation,” he said.
Mostyn couldn’t say how big the fine was because Corix is appealing the decision, he said.
One of the requirements that Corix failed to meet was following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protocols, which Mostyn said are the benchmark standard for mould cleanup across the continent.
“Because they didn’t follow our instructions, we fined them. When a company doesn’t follow instructions put in place by safety officers, it calls into question their commitment to the protection of workers and the public,” Mostyn said.
According to inspection reports, the mould appeared to be caused by standing water and condensation on the treatment plant’s pipes, and had spread to over 100 square feet. A report from October highlighted the rules that Corix broke during the cleanup.
“The on-site operator’s response to questions about the process for mould remediation raised a significant concern about the likelihood of unnecessary mould exposure throughout the facility,” the report said.
The workers didn’t have proper training, the contaminated area wasn’t sealed off from the rest of the facility, and workers used an inadequate vacuum to do the cleanup, the report said.
The cause of the mould and standing water was resolved by increasing the airflow through the affected area, the report said.
A spokesperson for Corix did not return a call for comment by Monday morning.
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