Com­pany pleads guilty to sin­gle charge stem­ming from work­place death

Wester­gard Ford cre­ates Town of Toys

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Cau­tion: This story con­tains graphic de­tails and may be dis­turb­ing to some read­ers.

A com­pany that owned and op­er­ated a gravel crusher near East Coulee in 2014, where a young man was killed has pleaded guilty to a charge un­der the Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Code.

Dar­ryl Wiebe, gen­eral man­ager of Ar­gon Con­struc­tion ap­peared on be­half of the com­pany in provin­cial court in Drumheller on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 9. The com­pany faced three charges and pleaded guilty to, be­ing an em­ployer, did fail to pro­vide safe­guards if a worker may ac­ci­den­tally, or through the work progress, come into con­tact with mov­ing parts of ma­chin­ery, con­trary to sec­tion 310(2)(A) of the Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Code.

Christo­pher Lawrence, 15, was killed on July 19, 2014, af­ter his vest was en­tan­gled in an unguarded con­veyor belt on the ma­chin­ery, while work­ing at a gravel crusher near East Coulee.

Ac­cord­ing to an agreed state­ment of fact, Ar­gon Con­struc­tion has pur­chased the unit used at East Coulee in 2011. Ac­cord­ing to a let­ter from the seller, quot­ing a price for the unit, it con­tained a spe­cific warn­ing to the guard­ing the ex­act area that was in­volved in the in­ci­dent, not­ing

that “Guards may not meet all lo­cal codes. Cus­tomer is re­spon­si­ble to re­view spec­i­fi­ca­tions and de­ter­mine if guard­ing is ad­e­quate.”

It also notes that at no time did Ar­gon Con­struc­tion ob­tain the man­u­fac­turer’s guide­lines for the ma­chin­ery that warns of spe­cific risks while con­duct­ing main­te­nance while the ma­chine was run­ning.

Lawrence be­gan work­ing with the com­pany about a month be­fore the in­ci­dent. He be­gan work at a site near Bow­den. He was then as­signed to work at a site near Ir­ri­cana. There he re­ceived new em­ployee ori­en­ta­tion. One of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of his position was to re­move ac­cu­mu­lated gravel from un­der the ma­chine. He was shown how to kneel and use a long han­dled shovel to re­move gravel from un­der the con­veyor unit. He was warned not to get too close to any mov­ing parts and to wear a tear- away re­flec­tive safety vest in case it were to get caught in any mov­ing parts.

On July 8, the crush­ing unit was moved to a site near East Coulee. On July 19 at 6 a.m., Lawrence be­gan his shift. He was wear­ing a hard hat, safety glasses, hear­ing pro­tec­tion and a safety vest, how­ever it was not the tear away type.

He was us­ing a short wooden D-han­dled shovel to re­move the build up of gravel be­neath the cone crusher.

At some point in time, while clearing gravel, his safety vest be­came en­tan­gled in the unguarded ro­tat­ing con­veyor belt on the tail pul­ley shaft. He was pulled into the con­veyor and he was crushed to death.

Ac­cord­ing to the agreed state­ment of facts, the com­pany was co­op­er­a­tive through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Sen­tenc­ing is sched­uled for April 21, 2017.

file­photo

Fif­teen year old Christo­pher Lawrence was killed on July 19, 2014 when his vest was caught in a gravel crusher. Ar­gon Con­struc­tion has pleaded guilty to one charge un­der the Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Code.

mailpho­tos by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Wester­gard Ford’s sec­ond an­nual Toy Drive was a great success bring­ing needed gifts for The Sal­va­tion Army Ham­pers lead­ing up to Christ­mas. Two pick-up trucks were chock full of gifts, ex­ceed­ing last year’s dona­tions and on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 10 the deal­er­ship held a family fun day. Parker, 2, son of Steve and Adri­anna O’Dwyer couldn’t wait to get his hands on some great John Deere trucks be­fore Christ­mas morn­ing. (left) Santa had his hands full with Drag­ons (l-r) Jor­dan Tau­pert, Ste­fan Wood and Slater Dykema.

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