Blog Post #635 – Alberta Firms Get Record Penalty

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Two related companies in Alberta have been fined a combined record amount of nearly $2,500,000 more than four years after a worker was fatally crushed in a workplace incident.

Prime contractor Perera Development Corporation was fined $1,250,000 and a $187,000 victim fine surcharge on June 4th, 2012, after being found guilty of 10 occupational health and safety charges, says Alberta Human Services spokesperson Barrie Harrison in Edmonton. The counts relate to the failure to ensure the health and safety of a worker; stabilize the soil in an excavation; that a worker was protected from cave-ins or sliding/rolling materials and that occupational health and safety regulations were followed, among other charges.

Perera Shawnee Ltd. was fined $ 900,000 plus a 15 % victim fine surcharge of $120,000, after being found guilty of three charges.

Three charges against Don Perera were stayed, Harrison reports.

The incident that spurred the charges took place at 3:30 pm on February 14, 2008. Randy Williams, a 47-year-old employee of Steph Trucking, was in the cab of his dump truck at a Calgary construction site when a massive earth wall collapsed, burying the dump truck and killing Williams. An excavator was loading earth into the work truck at a time of the incident.

Though the firm and its subsidiary organizations are now defunct, Harrison says this case is a “precedent setter.”

The $2,457,000 total penalty eclipses the former highest-ever penalty of $500,000, doled out on one charge in 2006. A 14-year-old worker was fatally injured when a truck box fell on him while he was sandblasting it.

My opinion

I wonder if the province of Alberta ever did collect on this fine. I would wager that the fines were issued AFTER the government found out about the companies going under. It seems convenient that contractor Don Perera was not given the responsibility of paying the fines and now this is just a lot of window dressing! Yes the fine is huge but there is now no one there to pay it. Let’s make it $10,000,000 since there is zero chance to see any payment. The Alberta Federation of Labour would know better if the fines were paid. My guess, with the safety record of the province of Alberta that it was not! You see, the province of Ontario would ensure that this type of fine was paid and not left with a loop hole to get out of the responsibility. Alberta doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings!

Remember – Alberta Health and Safety – An Oxymoron!

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Excavation Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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