Company pleads guilty to single charge stemming from workplace death
Westergard Ford creates Town of Toys
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.
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.
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.