A West Kootenay recycler of car batteries and e-waste has been fined almost $23,000 by WorkSafeBC for recurrent high-risk workplace violations.
KC Recycling Ltd., located near the Trail airport on Highway 22A, was imposed the penalty on Aug. 27, according to a summary of administrative penalties released by the provincial agency.
“This firm’s worksite is a facility that recycles electronic waste, batteries, and cathode ray tubes,” the WorkSafeBC report began. “Workers at this site routinely handle recycled materials that contain a range of hazardous substances, including lead, silica, sulfuric acid, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and manganese.”
A WorkSafeBC inspection of the facility revealed “deficiencies” related to the company’s exposure control plan, ventilation system, and other practices for handling hazardous materials.
“The firm failed to implement an effective exposure control plan to maintain workers’ exposure as low as reasonably achievable,” WorkSafeBC stated.
“This was a repeated violation.”
KC Recycling also failed to ensure worker exposure to hazardous substances did not exceed allowable limits, and failed to use substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and/or personal protective equipment to effectively control worker exposure, according to the summary.
“In addition, the firm failed to ensure that work area surfaces were kept free of accumulations of lead dust,” WorkSafeBC reported.
“These were all high-risk violations.”
The Trail Times contacted KC Recycling for a response. Questions were asked about remedial actions specific to workers’ exposure to heavy metals and other hazardous materials.
Pete Stamper, chief executive officer for KC Recycling, declined to comment.
Administrative penalties are fines imposed on employers for health and safety violations of the Workers Compensation Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, and/or orders of WorkSafeBC, and for failure to take sufficient precautions to prevent workplace injuries or illnesses.
Penalties are published as a deterrent and to highlight the importance of making workplaces safe.
KC Recycling has been in business since 1977.
The company has grown to become the largest lead acid battery (car battery) recycler in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the United States, according to the KC Recycling website.
“In addition to lead acid batteries, we process electronic waste (e-waste) and cathode ray tube (CRT) glass, and sell all of the commodity by-products generated by our operations, which include aluminum, copper, plastic, and steel,” the company states.