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WorkSafeBC fines local companies

Four Kelowna businesses were hit with a total of more than $150,000 in fines for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the Workers Compensation Act.

The fines were for infractions occurring during 2012.

WorkSafeBC made the fines public Monday.

Local companies cited for infractions included:

  • Peters Brothers Construction Ltd. $70,470 - This firm was both the prime contractor and one of the employers on a lane-widening project. The firm allowed workers to work on the side of the road in the dark, without the required lighting or effective traffic control measures. This put workers at risk of serious injury and was a failure to ensure the health and safety of its own workers, and that of other workers present at its workplace.
  • R 870 Holdings Ltd.  $54,149 - This firm failed to ensure the health and safety of its own and other workers involved in a lane-widening project. The firm did not ensure that effective traffic control measures were in place, nor did it provide the lighting that was required for workers to safely carry out their tasks when daylight was no longer available. The firm also failed to provide workers with effective supervision. 
  • Total Lease and Truck Sales Ltd.  $24,527 - This firm's young worker received serious burns on his legs, torso, and hands when he used a torch to cut the top off a metal drum that had previously contained flammable windshield washer fluid. The torch's electrical arc ignited the vapours inside the drum, resulting in an explosion and fire. The firm failed to ensure that the drum was thoroughly cleaned before the young worker began cutting it with a torch. 
  • Robert William Kasper  $2,500 - This firm's principal and worker were working about 3 to 4.5 m (10 to 15 ft.) above grade on the sloped roof of a house without using the required fall protection. This was a repeated violation.

In all, 260 penalties were imposed against BC employers totalling $2.9M in 2012.

The highest single penalty in 2012 was imposed against Francesco Aquilini & Roberto Aquilini & Elisa Aquilini et al., for failing to maintain in safe operating condition, the farm vehicle the employer used to transport farm workers. This was a repeated violation and the firm was fined $125,277.

In recent years WorkSafeBC has increased its enforcement capacity, directing a more intensive focus to the industries that present the highest risk to workers and to employers where compliance is known to be an issue — such as steep slope roofing and asbestos abatement.

"Penalties are imposed to motivate employers to comply with health and safety laws," says Al Johnson, Vice President Prevention Services.

"While WorkSafeBC works with employers to ensure they understand their legal responsibilities to provide safe and healthy workplaces — our officers will impose a penalty or pursue court processes against employers who repeatedly fail to comply with the law."

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