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BC imposes two penalties as a result of Canada Line crane operator fatality

By Workplace Staff
| www.cos-mag.com

WorkSafeBC has imposed administrative penalties totaling $315,343.71 against two firms involved in construction of the Canada Line rapid transit route. The penalties are associated with the death of a crane operator who was killed while working on the North Arm Bridge connecting the Vancouver and Richmond sections of the line.

The penalties are as follows:

  • $233,535.58 imposed on the employer of the deceased worker, SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc. & Rizzani de Eccher Inc., a joint venture doing business as RSL Joint Venture
  • $81,808.13 imposed on the prime contractor of the Canada Line project, SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc.

The penalties are two of the highest ever imposed by WorkSafeBC, reflecting the seriousness of the violations and the resulting fatality. The criteria for a discretionary penalty - a fatality arising from a high-risk violation committed willfully or with reckless disregard - were met in this case, allowing for the larger penalty amount.

Background

On January 21, 2008, a crane operator was using a small carry-deck crane as part of the ironworker crew installing bike path components onto the Vancouver side of the North Arm Bridge. When he attempted to move a load of hardware from the front deck of the crane to the bike path below by swinging it over the bridge guide-way, the crane tipped over on its driver side. The crane operator tried to exit the rear of the crane, but was pinched between the crane and the guide-way’s parapet wall and was killed instantly.

The WorkSafeBC investigation, released in 2008 concluded that the following were underlying factors in this incident:

  • Insufficient supervision of the work
  • Load weights were not clearly presented
  • No effective system to measure operating radius
  • Insufficient training and experience of the operator

WorkSafeBC penalizes where there has been a lack of due diligence by the employer that has resulted in a serious injury or fatality; where there has been a serious and/or repeated violation of occupational health and safety laws and regulations; where a sanction is required to motivate the specific employer to comply with the law; and where the sanction can act as a deterrent for others.

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