Decision made in Concord Paving case
Company has one year to pay $55,250
St. John’s — In May of 2009, flagman Tom Connors was killed on the job after being crushed by heavy machinery.
His employer, Concord Paving of Carbonear, has been fined $35,000 for failing to provide traffic control procedures and equipment, and failing to provide proper training and supervision to ensure the safety of its workers.
The company was found guilty of both charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in June of this year. The only question had been how much Concord would be ordered to pay.
Judge Lois Skanes announced her decision on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
In addition to the fine, the company was also ordered to pay $15,000 toward a public workplace safety program and a $5,250 victim surcharge. It has one year to pay the $55,250.
Skanes did not waste words in her written decision. The conclusion was brief and to the point. It simply outlined this case, related cases and listed the prescribed monetary penalties.
The decision brings to a close a case that’s dragged on for three years.
The day Connors died, he was part of a four-person crew that was digging ditches and clearing land on the side of the Holyrood Access Road. He died after being run over by an excavator.
After several weeks of testimony during the trial from those at the site, the judge concluded that Concord did not provide the tools needed for safe communication between flagpersons and the company’s supervisor failed to watch his employees closely to ensure their safety.
Skanes wrote in her decision on the charges that due to the curvature of Route 62, a third flagperson would have been required.
Skanes also said that because the accident happened at the worksite while Connors was doing his job, it was up to the defence to prove the company did all it could to prevent it, but said the company didn’t convince the court it did.
She also said there was no evidence that in-house training was carried out and pointed out that coowner and job supervisor Scott Mullins did not keep close enough eye on his employees to make sure they were working in a safe manner.
“Although Scott Mullins appears to have been generally available and within a short distance, there is no evidence that he or anyone else on behalf of Concord, supervised the employees by periodically watching how the excavator drivers, heavy equipment operators and flagpersons were doing their job,” said Skanes at the time.
She also pointed out that other employees also noticed that Connors was too close to the heavy machinery, but that none of them pointed it out to the supervisor.
The lawyer for Concord, John Babb, later told CBC News he was satisfied with the penalty, noting it was “certainly within range.”
But Babb also suggested the company was considering an appeal, pointing out that two civilian witnesses observed the victim “stumble or for some reason had fallen under the track.
“Why he was so close, nobody really knows,” said Babb.
According to regulations, Connors should have been at least 50 metres from the excavator.
Babb said the company has a good safety record, and pointed out that four of the six charges were dismissed.