Vernon and North Okanagan
Safety violations too late to stop death
Sep 6, 2013 / 1:23 pm
Workplace fatalities are a preventable and unnecessary occurrence. Last week’s tragic accident at Dinoflex Manufacturing in Salmon Arm, which took the life of 19-year-old Shane Gorner, is no exception.
On Friday August 30, two days after Gorner was caught in a piece of machinery and died on the job, WorkSafe BC (WSBC) issued an inspection report stating that the operation’s power presses were not in compliance with safeguarding regulations.
WSBC inspection officer Jim Saunders states, “The seven power presses used for making rubber blocks are not in a safe condition to operate……The point of operation of the seven power presses used to make rubber blocks at this workplace are not safeguarded to prevent injury to the operator or any other worker.”
According to the report, Dinoflex has been ordered to cease operation of all seven presses until they notify WSBC in writing of the steps to be taken to correct the problem.
“Compliance must be undertaken without delay,” said Saunders.
The following statement is from Mark Bunz, CEO of Dinoflex
"As part of its investigation into the tragic accident at Dinoflex last month, WorkSafe BC requires us to improve safeguarding in our plant area. We are taking immediate action to do so as we are committed to the safety of all our employees. It’s important to point out that WorkSafe BC conducted a prior audit as normal course of business and safeguarding of the presses was not highlighted as a safety concern at that time. It should also be noted we have not had a recordable injury with the presses in the 25-years of their existence. Our favourable discounts on WorkSafe BC premiums indicate that we have a history of operating a safe work environment."
Castanet has a call into WorkSafeBC asking them why the presses were not targeted by inspectors prior to the accident. We will report their response when they contact us.
Young workers are highly vulnerable to workplace injury. Young males, in particular, face a 48 per cent higher risk of injury than the overall working population. Between 2008 and 2012, there were 19 young worker fatalities due to a workplace injury or disease.
The good news, says one parent, is that the number of injuries to young workers is on the decline.
Kate Rowbottom became a young worker advocate in 1999 when her son, Michael Lovett, lost his leg in a sawmill accident at the age of 18.
Lovett now works on the prevention side of work place safety by travelling around BC on behalf of WSBC talking to young people about his experience.
“Statistically, the number of injuries [to young workers] has gone down drastically, and they have determined that the prevention efforts are working,” says Rowbottom.
Although training and aggressive safety action planning is a key aspect, Rowbottom says one of the hardest things for young workers to understand is that it’s OK to ask questions on the job.
“If you know something is unsafe, you probably aren’t going to do it,” she said.
Shane Gorner is the second young worker to die on the job in the North Okanagan over the past few months. 18-year-old Bradley Haslam lost his life after becoming entangled in a conveyor belt while working at Tolko’s Lavington planer mill on June 15.
WSBC Communications Officer Megan Johnston says no other safety inspections were completed at Dinoflex over the past year.
Click here to view companies fined by WorksafeBC this year.
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