Blog Post #519 – 12 Charges in Double Fatality

Blog Post #519 – 12 Charges in Double Fatality

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Two Alberta companies and an individual face 12 occupational health and safety charges following the double fatality on the job site.

Proflo Production Separators Ltd., in Red Deer, Alberta, TY2K Consulting Ltd. and Eric Spuehler were charged in connection with the deaths of two employees of Proflo Production. At noon on January 28, 2009, the workers were erecting a portable flare stack at Penn West Petroleum Ltd. work site near Edmonton. The stack was being pulled behind a pickup truck when it came into contact with a 14.4 kilovolt power line.

The workers, aged 27 and 32, were electrocuted. The companies face eight counts, notes information from Alberta Employment and Immigration (AEI) in Edmonton. Among other things, the charges cite the failure to do the following:

1) Ensure the health and safety of workers at the work site;
2) Prepare a hazard assessment report and repeat the report of “reasonably practicable intervals”; and
3) Contact the power line operator before and during any work being performed within seven metres of an energized overhead power line.

Another charge against both Spuehler and TY2K Consulting cites the need for a contractor who directs the activities of an employer to ensure, as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, “that the employer complies with this act, the regulations and the adopted code.”

Spuehler also faces two counts of failing to ensure worker health and safety.

My opinion

Every health and safety regulation across Canada deals with what is called “MSAD”. (Minimum Safe Approach Distance) All excavator and crane operators take the electrical safety training as part of the apprenticeship program. It is that important!

Here we have two companies not knowing their responsibilities under the law and probably have experience in the field but not in the administration of the work.

The safety of the employee MUST the overriding priority! If it is not, then all workers are subject to harm and possible dangerous circumstances and that is just not acceptable.

It would be interesting to find out how much of a fine they received.

I did some research and guess what? The fines were a joke. Please read below,

Calling the penalty “woefully inadequate,” a Calgary judge levied the maximum $15,000 fine against two companies who pleaded guilty to regulatory charges after the 2009 death of a young girl struck by construction metal. Flynn Canada and Germain Residences pleaded guilty in court Monday to an Alberta safety code charge of allowing an unsafe condition on the work site. A charge against a third company, Grenville Germain Calgary Ltd., was withdrawn. All three companies had previously pleaded not guilty. (Excerpt from the AMHSA, dated March 1, 2011)

Alberta, you really need to get your safety act together. $15,000 is not a deterrent; it is a joke to the rest of Canada and a miscarriage of justice.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Dan
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