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Builder fined $200K for safety violations at Burnaby Metrotown highrise project

WorkSafeBC has slapped Axiom Builders Inc. with a $198,891.01 penalty for safety violations at a condo tower project on Telford Avenue in Metrotown.

WorkSafeBC has fined a major Lower Mainland builder nearly $200,000 for safety violations at a 43-storey condo tower project in Burnaby's Metrotown area.

The penalty was imposed after an inspection at the Telford Avenue site in February, when the highrise was in the finishing stages of construction, according to WorkSafe inspection reports obtained by the Burnaby NOW.

On Feb. 10, a WorkSafe inspector found evidence workers had run a gasoline-powered pressure-washing machine and a gasoline-powered blower in an underground parkade with no means to vent the exhaust because the parkade ventilation system was not in operation at the time, the report said.

The pressure washer had a label that read "Do not use in enclosed areas," according to the report.

"Carbon monoxide in the exhaust of internal combustion engines present(s) an acute risk of chemical asphyxiation and poisoning to exposed workers," the report states.

The inspector shut down pressure washing and blowing in the parkade, telling Axiom there were "reasonable grounds" to conclude workers had been exposed to a "high risk of serious injury, serious illness or death."

Axiom's assistant site superintendent confirmed the pressure washer had been operated inside the parkade.

"'They reported that there was no ventilation when they started, but that, as soon as the concern was raised with them, they set up air circulators (fans) and turned on the exhaust ventilation system," the report stated.

But that wasn't enough, according to the WorkSafe inspector, who told Axiom the machine shouldn't have been run inside the underground parkade at all, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

WorkSafe lifted the stop work order on pressure-washing and blowing inside the parkade after a follow-up inspection on Feb. 13, when the inspector determined the company had acquired an electric machine.

But the pressure washing and blowing in an unvented parkade wasn't the only problem WorkSafe found during the initial inspection.

The inspector also observed non-compliant stepladders and unsecured propane cylinders and concluded Axiom, as the prime contractor, had "not effectively coordinated health and safety nor implemented an effective system to ensure compliance with the OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) provisions and regulations," according to the WorkSafe reports.

A $198,891.01 penalty was imposed in April.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on X/Twitter @CorNaylor
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