A national restoration company working to clean up post-forest fire Fort McMurray has come under investigation following workers’ complaints they were not trained on safety standards and associated risks.
According to the CBC
, at least three employees have come forward complaining they were made to sweep toxic ash with no safety gear or ventilation by restoration company ServiceMaster Restore and its subcontractor Fort Mac Restoration.
The Alberta Health and Safety Department has reported five complaints regarding the situation, and an investigation is under way by Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety department.
George Hodgson, CEO of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta, says the restoration company is one of hundreds that may be employed by insurers in relation to home and property claims, and that any safety oversight is not a reflection on insurers. “I can’t imagine any insurer being ok with this,” he says, adding that the IBAA is attempting to connect with ServiceMaster in their own investigation efforts.
The risk of contaminated surfaces, air and groundwater is high in the region, following a forest fire that burned roughly 10% of the city. Anyone on site is advised to wear proper safety and ventilation gear. According to Lorri Frederick, COO of ClaimsPro, on-site claims adjusters are required to wear respirators and Tychem suits as they assess the resulting fire damage.
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