Justice Department blasted

Jail guards at the Cape Breton correctional facility should have beentold about asbestos in the building at the same time other employeeswere informed, critics say.

Jail guards at the Cape Breton correctional facility should have been told about asbestos in the building at the same time other employees were informed, critics say.

“What happened in this situation is they didn’t follow the code of practice; they didn’t notify all the employees,” said New Democrat MLA Gordie Gosse yesterday.

Maintenance workers at the facility were informed May 8 after initial testing was done and the guards weren’t notified until a week later.

The air testing began March 26, the day after an inmate noticed asbestos on the pipes and made a complaint.

Justice Minister Cecil Clarke said yesterday the department followed protocol and informed employees of the possible health hazard as early as possible. But the guards are frustrated they didn’t learn of the testing process taking place until almost two months after it began.

New Democrat Leader Darrell Dexter said at the legislature yesterday, the Justice Department shows a disturbing disregard for the health and safety of corrections officers.

Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil backed up his concerns.

“Why wasn’t the proper protocol followed and corrections officers informed of this health hazard?” Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil asked during question period.

Clarke told the house of assembly the department did everything that was required of them.

He added that tests at the facility conducted over the long weekend, found the asbestos to be “in acceptable limits.”

The results of those tests will be revealed today, he said.

When corrections officers learned of the asbestos last Thursday, many of them stopped going to work.

 
 
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