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Health & Safety Meeting Oct 2017

Notes from the meeting:

 

  • Shosh welcomed everyone and introduced the panel - Marit Stiles (trustee), Helia (Construction supervisor), Andrea (Health & safety TDSB), Jenny (Health & Safety), Cathy Chumfong.
  • Marit - welcomes us and recognies the challenge in attending at this time, thanks to the teachers for coming also, thanks to the school council co-chairs for trying to get the information out to the parents.
    • Notes that there have been things to learn from this process already - there is such a huge backlog of repairs and so there is not necessarily an ideal time to do these repairs - need to do them when the funds are there and when our school is selected.
    • She has written an open letter to the Director of the TDSB - will attach this.
  • Construction supervisor, Helia - overview of the projects - 2 major projects - one is steam to hot water conversion and the other is the fire alarm replacement project - old system before had some glitches, install a new system, then once verified will switch over from old to new. Steam to hot water conversion - change the boilers from steam to hot water, changing heating coils, pumps, radiators and pipes. Changing heating piping throughout the school. Project is 90% complete. Venting still outstanding, will be done in the next couple of days, system is now full with water and testing is complete. Final tests early next week, functioning system by end of next week. Some minor work will still happen for building automation from tdsb central but that is minimal.
    • Not achievable to complete this project during the summer alone
    • Contractors working until 3-4am.
    • Concerns with finishing aspects and air quality tests - Andrea will address.
  • Meeting in the summer with daycare parents/staff since then Andrea has been in the school frequently
    • Cleanliness concerns - was cleaned as per regular schedule prior to students arriving in september, and additional cleaning has been increased since
    • Once concerns were made clear to her there was a full air quality test on the 13th - CO, CO2, TOCs, formaldehyde, dust particulates - all within acceptable limits.
    • Throughout school with particular attention to a couple of areas where problems had been noted.
    • Formal report is now available with school
    • If a person with dust sensitivity or heat issues, then it could still cause issues  - if this is the case, please reach out to Shosh so that the rooms where these children/staff are can be addressed more directly.
    • Detailed cleaning did happen over the weekend - but the school is still very dirty.
    • Will invite the FTL person for this area to meet with us and take a tour of the school to see the results of this cleaning - sometime this week.
    • Providing teachers with cleaning products - up to them if they want to use them.
    • Sawdust on the floor and on shelving from over the weekend - how is this acceptable? And we don't think that the teachers should have to deal with this.
  • All schools have summer cleanup - detailed cleaning for all schools, waxing floors etc.
  • When there is construction - every contractor is responsible for cleaning. Caretakers and construction team leader will work with the school on this issue, but the construction supervisor and Andrea are responsible for a lot of schools so they need to be alerted on these issues and then ask the contractor to clean up
  • Caretaker is on duty till 3am and additional caretaker to 4:30am to ensure that the contractors haven't left hazards around
  • We don't feel that the cleanup was sufficient.

 

Questions from the audience

  • For Andrea - Regional officer for regional learning centre wards 1& 4
    • Asbestos - was it exclusively piping
    • July - type 3 - on weekend following type 3 protocol
    • Pipe insulation and other
    • Envirosafe was the abatement contractor and they were supervised by Safetec 3rd party consultants. Onsite for the type 3 work and inspected every morning.
    • Type 3 in boiler room only and type 2 in classrooms
    • Glove-bag or tootsie-roll (glove bag on top and bottom and wrapped the rest) was used.
    • Air quality was randomly conducted over the summer
    • All abatement was after school hours and weekend
    • All reports and test results are in the principal office and another in caretaker office - anyone is more than welcome to review with the principal at anytime.
    • Abatement was completed on august 13th
  • From teacher
    • Cleaned at the end of august - teachers had trouble getting into the classrooms
    • Were supposed to be able to get into the room on the weekend - but they were not allowed to be there (even though they had been told it was going to be ok)
    • There are students who have gone to hospital and 
    • Canaries in a mineshaft - people with asthma are kind of like canaries
    • Old building - ok, but is this really what we expect and want to have.
    • Preconstruction dirt should not be exempt from this cleanup
    • Classrooms are dirty - just because it is public money and a public building should we not expect the same as we would at home
  • Teacher - holes in the ceiling - pipe fell through hole in the ceiling - near miss - when are the holes being covered - Andrea - there is a plan in place. The worker was reprimanded for that incident. There is still at least one hole that is still open even though they are supposed to all be covered (temporarily) by now. The temporary cover will be replaced.
    • It would have been better if the teachers could have been told about the clean up - lots of things were displaced. With warning they could have moved things to make cleaning easier. Symptomatic of this process as a whole.
  • Air sampling specific to asbestos was done in the summer, now it was unclear as to what the concerns were - when it became clearer that the issue was around general/construction dust. So that is the reason for that test.
  • Teachers should note that there is another cleaning coming this weekend
  • Teachers should be careful to keep the tops of shelving clear (where they are built in and the vents go through them)
  • Caretakers are here all day and, for now, until 4:30am - so if teachers or staff need help from caretaker they can contact the principal and the caretaker to get that help.
  • Task force is coming again this weekend - it will target any specific areas that we point out
  • Shosh should share this information officially - that teachers should make it convenient for cleanup
  • Special areas to clean - should teacher fill out a concern form (for Health & Safety) - no, this is used for when there is a concern that has been brought to admin but it has either not been addressed or the answer is not satisfactory.
  • These areas that need special cleaning - should just be brought to Shosh.
  • Concerns over exits being closed and the chaos - will address tomorrow night at the school council meeting
  • teacher - question about what products were used - papers on walls were all crunched up on Monday morning - do they spray something? Answer - not normally - all products are TDSB approved and there are MSDS sheets available online (by staff).
  • Where is the dust coming from - drilling holes to put pipes through? Yes, it seems that in most cases it has been related to running the new conduit for the fire alarm system, drilling into the floor and walls - the holes will be permanently. Are they using HEPA vacuum cleaners? Task force does - not clear that construction workers are doing this - it has been discussed for future. Does the task force bring their own HEPA vacuum cleaners - yes they should.
  • Shosh - BAS (building automation system) comes randomly - they come to check things and they have come through - they do this without notification.
  • The gym is very dirty - maybe some of this is old, but so what. And how can the teachers be expected to do this cleaning themselves - it isn't possible for anyone to do this cleaning except the teachers in a way, because each individual item needs to be cleaned. Also, concerned about the metal boxes that have been put in that have sharp edges - some have been pointed out.
  • Marit speaks to this - and agrees with teachers - the system is failing on may levels. Although at the board there is a lot of discussion about transparency but so many things give the impression of lack of transparency.
  • Parent - been here for 10 years - things have gone from bad to worse - window replacement was a big problem too. So much overcrowding in this school anyway - how can we have so many extra kids here and then also have all the dirt - kids are so crowded in the halls. It's related - when one door is closed it shouldn't be such a huge problem but since it is so full, it is a problem.
  • teacher - windows in classrooms barely open - when the heat wave came the windows barely open. Can't even get fresh air into the classroom. Even if they can open it is a bit dangerous. New windows are built to open only a small amount on purpose to keep everyone safe.
  • Heatwave issues - not regulated, there is no maximum - there are some guidelines but nothing about temperature. Temperature and humidity together. TDSB has worked with TPH and started the first phase - if someone doesn’t have AC at home then they are in the heat all day. Heat alert info is now being shared with the admin. 10 schools are getting cooling centres as a pilot. Usually the gyms. Working on putting more water refill stations in the schools also.
  • What is the status of the construction and what happens when the heat is turned on.
  • It will get turned on on a Friday afternoon so that it can be checked over the weekend. It will be turned on on the week of the 23rd of October. Turn on the boiler but no fans so there is no heat into the classrooms - then everything is tested first before heat goes to the classroom. As needed an extra crew of people will be there over that weekend - and also cleanup crew.
  • When will the installation portion will be done? All drilling is done except the basement for fire alarm. Some work will be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. After this weekend new system should be working. For the steam to hot water, all classroom and major work was completed in the summer. Remainder of work in the horded off section in basement - now complete. Only venting for boiler remains and this will happen by crane on Thursday. Safety inspector will be on site. Students will be rerouted. Crane activity will start at 5:30pm and will be completed that night.
  • Some wiring of computers also to do and finishing (i.e. fixing the holes). Finishing is ongoing, to be completed asap.
  • How to communicate when an exit is closed… PA can be used to inform teachers but what about the parents. Shosh will speak to the construction supervisor to confirm the timing etc. and get the details out.
  • Has been discussed to relocate the childcare but this is not possible.
  • When will the fire alarm be tested during the day? No.
  • Heating - what is the estimate for fully operational? Initial balancing is completed but more will be done after it is running. Working efficiently - aiming to be completed the week of the 23rd. It will run manually then, BAS portion will be done after that. There is no date for the system being finalized. When will we have that date? We will be told by the end of the week.
  • What is the contingency plan if the heating is not working properly and it is cold. It is done. Extra heaters that the contractor already has - if they are necessary they will be brought in. Also, there is a temporary boiler already arranged. What about power for those heaters - if it gets to that it will be coordinated between the classrooms.
  • The real problem is that we don't get any information - it seems that the TDSB is doing their job, but we were totally unaware of this. Who should have been communicating this information to us? How should that have happened? How can this be fixed? Why is it that parents have to ask? - it's an ongoing issue in the board. Marit (in her letter) has asked that maybe there should be a communications person available for these kind of projects.
  • Asbestos book in the office - tells us where all the asbestos is in the school.
  • Was there an air test done in the gym? One of the kids with breathing problems - seems to have problems after being in the gym.
  • TDSB health and safety on website (specific to the school) - who and when is this updated? Answer - each month an inspector comes, updates once per year. Each month is posted internally on the health & safety bulletin board for staff.
  • Lost/stolen equipment - the contractor will be held responsible. Need to do a security and loss report. Maybe just moved to another location - need to bring to the admin first. 
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